Received from Armond on 5/6/11 through a series of @replies on Twitter:
He begins by responding to my general post asking people to define Hell…
Define Hell: Detroit without positive people like you all.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the Least of these my brothers, you did it also to me.’” Matthew 25:35-40
Even though I am a twenty four year old black man, I cried like a baby on Saturday April 23, 2011. Everything I ever believed changed that day because of some friendly people at a BBQ. I was homeless at that time, but it changed my perception of the possibilities in life. For the longest time I was raised up thinking that ALL Caucasian man hated me, or something, because of my skin color. Yet the day before Easter, the things I thought I knew suddenly changed due to some friendly folks who were kind to me and my baby son Chad and gave him some toys and food.
But even more importantly they were helping other folks in a currently disadvantaged position. For the first time ever, AND I DO MEAN EVER, I saw and felt a presence and love energy unlike anything I have ever felt before. And in less than one hour it shook me to the very roots of my belief system.
Less than two Saturdays later, I now have a temporary place to stay and wash my clothes and keep my body clean, a Gym membership to increase my fitness and a whole box of books to further my studies to become a better vessel for God. I even have a temp job distributing materials door to door for hospitals and other companies.
Even though none of these gifts came directly from these people at the BBQ, that day sparked a new era in my life because it boosted my faith and love ten-fold as even as the bright sun illuminates the land after a bad storm. I GIVE MY MOST SUPREME THANKS TO THE GOOD LORD FOR GOOD FOLKS LIKE THIS! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
All i know is that I gave my letter to some woman named Amanda and good things started happening. I know she had to be praying for me and I appreciate every bit of it because I needed it so much.
To follow Armond on Twitter: http://twitter.com/scienceandart23
What a great BBQ today everyone!! This has been a crazy month for some of us here with Elevate. April is the first time we’ve done a BBQ on the first Saturday of the month.
It’s been a bit crazy because the same group of leaders are now leading two of the BBQs each month instead of one. So these leaders have basically doubled their efforts to help. Then we got a call from a leader of one of the other weeks. They told us they’d done everything they could, but they just weren’t going to be able to lead this months BBQ nor could they find someone to do it in their place. They were going to have to cancel the BBQ for that date.
I really didn’t want to do that because we’ve just begun telling people in the neighborhood that we’re there every week now. And now just a few weeks in we have to cancel one? No, no… we can’t let that happen.
To make things even worse, this is Easter weekend’s BBQ. This is the weekend we celebrate the Last Supper, the crucifixion and the resurrection. Last Supper… the time when Jesus instituted eating a meal together and we were going to have to cancel the BBQ. Not cool.
Not knowing how it would happen at all, I made a decision the way I often make them… I said don’t cancel it, we’ll make it happen… all the while having no idea how it actually would happen… just going for it in the spite of common sense. Even yesterday morning, truth be told I still didn’t know what would happen.
And shame on me… after we’ve been doing these Homeless BBQs for almost two years and have watched miracle after miracle happen through so many different parts of the body of Christ working together as a body unified around a common vision of living out the person of Jesus in a humble park in the middle of Detroit, I still doubt.
And just to show me… God showed up. Just like he always does… The weather was perfect, the stomachs were full and there were people from Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran and Charismatic churches working together side by side throwing in a bit of extra effort than normal to make an Easter BBQ happen on a beautiful sunny day. We even had a visit from John of Honest John’s to tell us that if we ever need anything just let him know. He offered the services of his bathroom, water spicket and ice machine as well as anything else we need. I asked him about the building next door. For those who don’t know, there is a group of us who feel called to plant a church there. We’ve been having a hard time finding out who owns the place and how to go forward from there. I asked John if he knew what the address was. He said “No, but I can tell you who owns it.” I can’t even tell you how exciting that was. The body of Christ being the body of Christ, working out in the beautiful sunshine, watching God open doors right in front of our eyes… What a glorious day God put together!
–For those wondering… We’re still trying to raise money to buy a trailer to house all the BBQ stuff. We need about $2500.
–For those interested in hearing more about the church plant happening at 2nd & Selden, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or check out it’s own blog which is still currently being put together at http://dandelionschurch.wordpress.com/