Friday nights are good nights. For one, I can spend the entire day on the streets meeting new people, meeting up with friends, and focus on my Lenten practice.
The last few weeks have been more intense on the streets, and it was good to have a fairly relaxing day.
Another reason I like Fridays is that I get to attend Taking it to the Streets under the 9th Street Bridge. This outreach has become my favorite homeless ministry since I have begun my journey over 6 weeks ago. Church Under the Bridge San Antonio makes you attend the sermon before you eat..but this ministry allows you to eat…then have the option to have personal bible studies with small groups or a volunteer.
Both ministries have good reasons for their church’s mission practice…but I, personally, like the latter. Making Jesus compulsory seems to be slightly missing the point…but both are good!
This Friday, a friend of mine, Valarie Moss, was there serving as a volunteer as she does most weeks. After dinner was served, she had the opportunity to meet one on one with a homeless man she met at the dinner. They read scripture out loud, talked openly, and then prayed together. It was a beautiful sight. It was not staged, not overdone, and not required for food. It was very authentic.
Valerie is my hero of the day.
Plus, the church that was serving the food and clothes brought a BBQ grill and cooked grilled chicken breasts. It was fantastic! I love when churches bring their best when serving the poor. Not only was the food good…I could also see that the church volunteers were having a blast cooking the food together. They were bonding as well.
Since working last Saturday, I have saved an extra ten dollars from my 8 hours of cutting red bell peppers. I wanted to use it for a good experience with others.
The other night I learned about a men’s dormitory called the “Bunk House,” where many men sleep and socialize. It’s not a shelter, it’s not a halfway house, and it’s not a church. It’s more like a hostel for men who are homeless.
The cost is $10 a day. Or $60 a week. You get a bunk, sheets, showers, laundry, locker room, tv room, and outdoor patio where you can drink, eat, and smoke.
The quality is not the best…but the freedom is amazing.
I had just over $10 so I could get one night at the bunk house.
After checking in, I was assigned bunk 27. Top bunk. The mattress was torn and plastic like…but once I put my sheets on…it was all good!
Before I went to bed, I made sure to go out to the patio and visit with some of the men. The patio was quite crowded because of the weekend, but a fun environment. Men were laughing, shooting the breeze, watching sports, and even giving haircuts for free. I was tempted to get one…but I passed 🙂
The men were all nice. All asked me
questions, gave me advice about where to find work (most of these men have more stable
jobs) and told me their own story. The spirit was much different than the shelter. A hard working man feel…like a fire station bunk house.
It’s surprising how much 10 bucks can get you!
In the dorm room, many of the men who sleep on the bottom bunks wrap the frame with flags, sheets, or blankets to create a fort like atmosphere inside. You can tell they want their privacy in the cabin like room. It was not too different from Summer Camp.
I slept really well at the Bunk House. Despite the smell, (it was like sniffing a giant dirty sock), the place was cool and comfortable. Well…the snoring could get bad with so many men in one room…but I had Paul Hoodless’ earplugs on standby.
Went to bed at 10pm…Woke up at 6am. Oh…by the way…check out is at 6. Kind of a bummer.
You will need to spend 10 dollars more to sleep in!
The price you pay for a bunk.
Now I need to find another job…