29 Acts of Mercy
29 Acts of Mercy
by Pastor Scott Thomas
Picto:Blog April 6, 2009
Marco is living on the streets in Seattle and needs a sleeping bag.
At church yesterday, Mark Driscoll mentioned that Mayor Greg Nickels has asked Mars Hill to participate in addressing the homeless situation in Seattle. He needs 500 team member volunteers and 200 team leaders to help with the City of Seattle’s upcoming survey on homelessness in Seattle.
I walked out of the downtown campus after the announcement and across the street to speak to a homeless man, Marco (pictured above). Marco was sitting in an area where men are normally picked up to do day labor. I asked Marco how things were going and he said that he was waiting for someone who needed work done but that it had been slower lately. Marco is willing to work. He said that he was getting by and had a sweet attitude. I told him I was one of the pastors at the church across the street and asked him how we could help him. He said, "Everything I have is in this paper bag and everything else is wet. The rains lately have made getting work harder and have soaked my bed. I need a sleeping bag." A sleeping bag?! That's all?
I sipped on my Storyville Coffee served at the downtown campus, some of the best coffee you will taste. We take it for granted that we have everything we need when there are people right across the street from where we worship that have nothing. My heart was broken because Marco had scrounged somebody's discarded leftovers for his lunch. I wanted to be able to address Marco's request.
Here's my proposal. I would like to participate in 29 Acts of mercy for the homeless on Good Friday by purchasing 29 sleeping bags and handing them out to those in need. And I am asking you to participate by showing an act of mercy by participating in the purchase of these. Go to our secure online form and donate to purchase sleeping bags. (Acts 29 is a 501c3 non-profit organization and will provide a donation letter upon request).
Homeless Men in the park near Pike Street on April 5
This will not solve the homeless situation in Seattle, but it will demonstrate the gospel by showing acts of mercy. It is a great time of the year, just before this Easter Sunday, to not only plan for our big Easter worship service, but to plan to serve others. Let's plan to love, plan to care, plan to give and plan to show the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus didn't just feel the plight of those around Him, He did something about it.
Several men were seen sitting on benches, no where else to go
I talked to a security officer working near Pike Street and asked her about the homeless. She said that some of the men had chosen that lifestyle. They have no bills, little stress and no responsibilities. Some of them, according to her, were addicted to alcohol and drugs but there are a number of men that lost their jobs and are desparate. These are the men, she said that we could help.
I talked with a female who approached me and asked me for $1.50 for some lunch. I asked her how long she had been on the street. "Oh, I'm not on the street", she retorted quickly. It was obvious to me that she was and I asked where her home was. She said it was in Kenmore and that she had just been up all night drinking. She didn't want to admit that she was homeless. She needed someone to care, somebody to love her and a reason to try.
Marco said that he remembered when the downtown campus gave him some food at Christmas time. He said they showed the love of "Jesuchristo." One day, I believe, Marco will be off the street. Until then, the men like Marco may not deserve our help, but neither did we deserve the love of Jesus who saved us from our sins and continues to show mercy to us when we disobey Him. Let's show mercy on Good Friday. If you would like to financially participate in 29 Acts of Mercy, go to our secure online form and donate to purchase sleeping bags to help us help those in need. We will share pictures and stories on this blog.
If you are unable to give and live in the Seattle area, you can participate in the Homeless Needs Assessment. Basically, teams of volunteers will be sent out to various parts of the city, and will speak with every person they meet to determine if they are homeless. If they are, the volunteers will ask them to participate in a survey to help the city understand their needs. Volunteers will need to commit four hours on the evening of Monday, April 13, 2009 and one hour of training prior to the evening of the assessment.
Here are the details:
Who: 700 volunteers (in partnership with the City of Seattle, United Way, and the Committee to End Homelessness)
Where: Volunteers will be grouped in teams of three and will be assigned a specific part of the city to cover
When: Monday April 13th, 8:00pm-12:00am
Why: The survey will be used to help allocate the annual $40 million our city uses to fight homelessness