The other day a good friend from my home church, Grace Crossings Community Church of Christ, introduced me to a man in San Antonio that was interested in my journey and personal ministry. Once the connection was made, the gentleman wanted to take me out to lunch…but not just a regular lunch…lunch at the Palms. How could I decline?!
However, this man was more than just a man who eats at the Palms…he is a dedicated disciple of Jesus Christ and loves to mentor young men with specific callings in ministry. Over this man’s career he has overseen his church’s diocese, managed a boys boarding school, led the board of directors of a top tier University, and led church camps. He accomplished all this while running his own very successful investment firm. (I’m sure he also has many other projects.) He’s an amazing man. He’s 3 times my age and still has more energy and dedication in his little finger than I have in my entire body!
It was good to meet him, hear his spiritual journey, and learn from his encouraging words. Even though he’s a Yale grad…he loves Duke and thought it was a hoot that a Duke grad would choose to be homeless! I wanted to tell him that Duke students become homeless while they camp out for weeks just to go to Duke basketball games. I guess it’s in our blood.
He encouraged me to set my goals for my ministry and never be afraid to dream BIG…even if it goes against the grain of the norm, my church, or culture. He said he was not into people with small goals…only big ones. I love people who live that way! Go big or go home. That was his creed.
The food was great and the company was even better.
Later that day I made it back to the shelter…and it was raining. Actually, it was raining a lot.
After entering the gates, I had the choice to sleep inside on the gym floor or stay outside and get wet. I chose the gym floor…but I would regret it this time around. Being wet would have been better…
When we were allowed to cram into the gym, I had to quickly find my spot. I found one by a corner near a group of men who seemed to be friends. After they fell asleep, I learned why they were friends….all of them snored…and snored LOUDLY! It was worse than the trains outside! I have never heard some of the sounds that resignated from their noses.
It was bad…my head was pounding…and I could not fall asleep. Hour one went by…then 2, 3, 4…until I remembered I had earplugs somewhere in my bag. I got them in Guatemala when I was staying with another infamous snorer…Paul Hoodless! (Thanks for the plugs Paul!) So I reached in my bag and soon realized they were covered in dirt. I debated what I would do in my mind…live with the snoring or cram dirty earplugs in my ears. I chose the plugs. It worked like a charm. I slept soundly for about an hour before the staff woke us up at 5am to clear us out for breakfast. I walked back into the rain. I should have just stayed outside…because I ended up sleeping under a tarp in the rain to make up for lost sleep. It was a learning experience. Rain is a difficult situation when your homeless.
The same day I ate at the Palms, I found myself sleeping in a muggy gym next to the Snoring Tabernacle Choir with dirty earplugs in my ears. It was definitely an interesting day!
However, I had been blessed by the company of a great follower of Christ, who was willing to help a brother out and encourage him on this crazy journey.