A 2010 report estimated there are nearly 2,000 homeless teenagers in Kansas City. Add to that number the 1,900 people who have reported themselves as homeless and you have close to 4,000 people in Kansas City who are homeless.
Westside Family Church has raised the awareness of this tragedy. Instead of seeing these numbers as mind-numbing statistics, we see them as soul-provoking names of people who Jesus loves. We’ve built a shack in the middle of our common area in the parking lot, a place where you would have to ignore it in order to not see it.
Why? Because we want to be aware of the needs around us. Leaders have been staying in the shack since the 2nd week of September. Last night was my night. So a close friend (Darren Newell) and I arrived with our families at 6p, attempted to build a fire – actually Darren did a pretty good job – and when the family and friends left, we shared a night with the 2,900 people in Kansas City.
How was my experience? It was fun talking with friends, making new friends, and sharing the vision behind what we are doing. The only downside was the smoke of the fire gave me a headache – but also kept me warm.
It wasn’t too much fun sleeping in the shack. Cold. Uncomfortable. Didn’t have my pillow, so I substituted a cushion and my jacket. Every time the wind blew, smoke from the fire would come in and would bring in a new chill with it.
I couldn’t sleep and neither could Darren, but, that was the point. We were sharing an experience to make us aware of the circumstances of those without a home and their needs.
What are their needs? I don’t know. I do know that I will listen more closely to Holy Spirit’s voice next time He prompts me in a situation similar to this.