This weekend my sister-in-law, Emily, is participating in “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” to raise money for the Muncie Mission homeless shelter. Go Emily!
Emily and her family have been very supportive of my shenanigans over the years, and I’m thrilled to give $10 in support of this important cause.
Unfortunately, it’s getting more important by the day.
In Delaware County, Indiana, where I live the number of homeless people has increased by 100% in the last year (from 223 to 447). Ivy Farguheson, one of the Star Press’s finest reporters, has written about the increase and about the circumstances that have left folks homeless.
This week if you donate to your local homeless shelter and report back on this post or via Twitter or Facebook, you could win a framed photograph from New Orleans courtesy of my friend Meredyth Friend.
When I announced on Twitter that I would be donating to the Muncie Mission, I was contacted by one of my Twitter friends @ragamuffinPC. He grew up in Muncie and was involved with the Muncie Mission as a kid. He was kind enough to agree to write a guest post about his experience.
PC is a speaker.writer.pastor from Sacramento, CA with his wife Tonya. He loves his wife, coffee, and beer (KT: in that order I hope). Check out his website at www.ragamuffinpc.com or follow him on twitter @ragamuffinpc.
A LIFETIME OF RECOVERY THANKS TO MUNCIE MISSION
Homeless I am not and never have been, but I grew up at the Muncie Mission.
Grandpa worked on staff at the Mission, and my high school was only a few blocks away from the building on High St. I would walk to the Mission nearly every day after school to hang out with the residents. I learned much more than ping-pong and pool from those moments.
1. Each of us is only one dramatic step away from homelessness
The Mission’s website indicates their purpose to “provide basic needs and teach life skills while guiding residents through various problems that have brought them to [their] doorsteps.”
The face of homelessness is drastically different than the image most of us attribute. As I began to meet the residents and hear the stories, I discovered just how many of their stories were prominently familiar to mine until one unforeseen inciting incident, which flung them into a homeless situation.
2. There is a difference between ‘homeless’ and ‘panhandler’.
Many misunderstanding people have a particular face of homelessness in their mind, and that image is typically one of the panhandler on street corners and in alleyways. The men at Muncie Mission rarely had to live within that image before they were thrust into the situation that brought them there.
Most of the men had been bested by some particular situation, and they would never want to be the one most of us imagine on the street corner. Various attitudes and addictions entrap people in a place where they are begging and manipulating every source they can draw from. Those are the panhandlers who have hit bottom without the wherewithal to begin the recovery typically provoked by ‘hitting bottom’.
I did not grow up with bad people. They were only people in trouble reaching to get out.
3. Recovery is for the broken; not the homeless.
One of many goals sought by the Mission is to care for the broken and ruined. That goal extended far beyond the Men’s Residential Program. The Mission is not a shelter intended to be a warm place to sleep for a night. It is a transition. It is a program designed to care for all of the broken and bedraggled.
On many occasions I not only observed but also participated as the Mission assisted men, women, children, and families in the process of recovery. Before the days of Celebrity Rehab and Intervention, the common TV junkie knew nothing of common recovery terminology. The only way to know the terminology was to be saturated with the process.
At a young age, I learned, painfully at times, about the wounds below the addictions we all battle. My recovery began in high school with a bunch of homeless people though I was never homeless, and my recovery continues today thanks to my experience with Muncie Mission.
Where are they now: the PC Walker story
Nearly 15 years after graduating from high school and moving away from Muncie, I pursued a ministry degree and have applied it specifically to either homeless or young adult ministries. (Turns out I am attracted to the populations of highly misunderstood and unheard people.) I cannot stay away from either.
My heart beats wildly for the bedraggled and beat down. I crave the God who pursues those who are smart enough to admit how dumb they are; rich enough to admit how poor they are; and strong enough to realize just how weak we all are. I can thank the Muncie Mission for a significant portion of that formulation within me.
LINKS I RECOMMEND:
Muncie Mission – Just go look around for crying out loud.
The Exodus House – Recovery community in Anderson, IN who believe that community means staff residing with residents and sharing in this holistic healing process.