Homeless On Purpose Day 1by Matt Armbruster on 02/27/12
Homeless on Purpose!!
Over the past few months I have been praying about how to better relate to those we reach and come in contact with everyday. I have really never been without and never been homeless. So I prayed about it along with Tara, my wife, and I got this strong feeling to go homeless for a little while. I will tell you I pushed it out of my mind really quick. But it kept coming back and would not go away. I have made friends with many people in need because of job loss or other things out of their control and those that are without a place to lay their heads at night and have learned a lot but I knew I had no idea what they went through. So I kept praying for it to go away but it wouldn’t. So Tara and I decided on a date and everything really worked out for me to do it. Well I started making plans to go homeless and see how long God would have me do it. The following is an account of the day by day journey and its struggles. The days leading up to this were very stressful. I could not concentrate on anything but the idea of having to do this. I guess in a small way it is what someone that is struggling with when they are first in danger of losing their homes. I had feelings of fear, uneasiness, and dread.
I started with a backpack, Tent, Sleeping bag, Books, one change of clothes, a protein bar, flashlight, $10.00 and the clothes on my back!! It was Saturday 2/19 and I was still hoping God would change His mind and tell me I really didn’t have to do this.
I parked my car at the Café at 7:30 am and began to walk and thank God there was a break in the rain. I had decided where I was going to put my tent so I started walking there. It rained off and on all the way and I had to duck in McDonalds one time when the rain got real heavy. After it let up, I walked a few more blocks and I got to the location I thought I would stay at around 9:30 am. It was raining a little harder now, so I darted in the woods to get to my spot. As I am walking in I noticed two people leaning against a tree covered by a blue tarp. I walk slowly making noise so I wouldn’t startle them. I talked with them a while and did not get a good feeling about them so I prayed with them and moved on. I walked up to a bus stop cover and sat under there for about an hour while it poured down rain. I didn’t know what I was going to do now but walk and try to find another place. Once the rain let up a little I began to walk really not knowing where I was going to tell the truth just wandering really without a real plan and for me that was difficult. I walked and walked and along the way checked wooded areas as I came to them to see if there was a good spot and each time there were either signs of someone staying in the woods or there actually was someone. You really don’t want to stay in a place with others because really to be honest you do the same thing in the woods that most people do in their homes. (Wash up, use the restroom etc.) And you don’t like people walking up on you in your home so it goes in the woods. I kept walking and looking feeling a little more desperate as I went. It really started to rain so I got under an overhang at a church to get out of it. By now everything is soaked, my clothes, backpack, what was inside the back pack so I just sat there frustrated, cold really wanting to stop this. I sat there and someone drove up they saw me and backed up and left. I continued to walk again after the rain let up a little. It is now around 12:00 so it’s only been a few hours and I can tell you it seemed like much longer. I check a couple more wooded areas but again each time there were people in them one trying to stay dry. About 2:30 I found a place to set up my tent that looked good and could not be seen from anyone on the road or walking around. I set the tent up in the rain and had a hard time keeping the inside dry as I did it. I was done setting up around 3:30 and I got inside and sat there wondering if it would ever stop raining. I then realized I had no water or food to eat so I began to hope the rain would stop so I could get out and get some water at the very least. Finally it let up so I unloaded my back pack of all the wet stuff so I would have something to carry the water. I went to the gas station and had to buy a gallon jug of water and then I went to the Laundry mat to see if they would let me charge my phone and they did!! Well, I sat there and then the bottom fell out it began to rain so hard I could not see the light pole in the parking lot. I began to wonder what was happening to my tent and how I was going to get back before dark because I had forgot my flashlight. I sit there until about 5:30 and realize it isn’t going to stop so I begin to walk. I go into the woods and the path that I had taken was 6” under water so I wade back thinking my tent is probably soaked through. I get there and it is fine I get inside and try to figure out if I have anything that is dry and I don’t except my sleeping bag, a t-shirt and a pair of underwear that I had in a water proof bag thank God. Well I get into my sleeping bag at 6:15 and realize it is 12 hours until daylight and I am in a tent with lightning storms and Tornado watches going on. As hard as it is for me to admit I was scared now and wanted to go home, but then I thought of those that don’t have a place to go home to and I prayed for them and it took my focus off of me . Well I pulled out my bible (I did put that in a zip lock bag) and began to read and it helped with my fear also Gods word is cool like that. I tossed and turned and thought every noise was someone coming up on me, a tree coming down or a host of other things. It rained all night and I do mean all night hard and the wind blew as well. I probably slept 30min maybe an hour and then praise God it was daylight. Now What??
Some of my thoughts on Day 1:
Well day one was eye opening to say the least. I felt frustration, anger, fear, resentment, embarrassment, joy, and conviction all in the first day. I will tell you this, I noticed people don’t really notice what is going on around them most of the time we are all in such a hurry with our lives when there are people in need all around us. I wanted to feel what they feel but had no idea how overwhelming it would be. The end of the day brought knowledge to me that no book had ever done. I also thought sometimes it’s just easier to not know what is going on in the world around us it takes away the obligation to do something. But that is not what I read in God’s word those that are in need are His heart and who He talks about the most. We all need to just open our eyes there are needs all around us that God wants to meet through us but if we ignore the call they and we miss so many blessings.
Day 2 coming soon!!!!!