It is starting to feel like winter out here in West Texas. As much as I personally enjoy the colder weather because I can wear my Xtratuf boots and hide my dad bod underneath my heavy coat, mornings like today really bother me. I was driving to the soup kitchen at about 6 this morning and it was 42 degrees and raining. To me, there is no worse weather. I would rather it be cold enough to freeze if there is going to be precipitation because at least it is possible to stay dry. Knowing that many of our friends are unsheltered, I was sure that at that moment, they were getting soaked and would soon be chilled to the bone.
It is times like that when I go to the Lord and beg Him to help us bring them home quickly; praying for each one individually. Like I have mentioned, there are a few people in particular that I am worried about surviving the winter. It is nearly every day that we are finding people that are under-clothed and freezing. One of the most frustrating things is making sure that everyone has sleeping bags to bear the cold nights. We start handing them out before the first cold snap, but inevitably it warms back up again into the 80s and the sleeping bags get lost or stolen. Ideally we could give a person one per season, but things happen, and we always err on the side of giving, because it is our worst nightmare that someone might freeze to death.
We had a great group of volunteers on the truck this morning, some of my regulars, and the day was fairly normal. We saw most of our normal patrons, but also met a few new faces. You can always tell when someone has never been homeless before. There is a look of fear and sadness in their eye that is unmistakable. It is hard to imagine being in the position that your whole world has come down around you and you are faced with a winter on the streets. Lord have mercy.
After cruising the downtown area we headed over to the tent city. There’s a guy that’s been here about a month that goes by “Trailer” at the very back. I knew he didn’t have a tent and figured he would be soaked and cold. He was in the army and has told us of sufferings from things sustained during his service and a life of broken relationships. We had some dry clothes and a tent to offer him, and he was thankful. He has a very crude and sarcastic sense of humor, but in his comedy act today two things stood out to me. He is hurting; and he is not a Christian (by his own admission). We attempted to interject some Gospel hope as he spewed dirty jokes and tried to make us laugh, but we didn’t really get anywhere. It was sad to leave him both cold and hopeless, but over the years I have learned that my charge from the Lord is to share the hope of the Gospel, and trust Him to reach hearts and convict. It is both freeing and frustrating that I cannot personally cause anyone to believe.
Leaving there we saw a guy walking down the interstate with a big old-school external frame backpack and sleeping bag—clearly travelling. We got out ahead of him and offered some breakfast and coffee for his journey. He had an air about him that was joyful and a look in his eye that told of hope. His name was Michael and he was walking from Colorado to Dallas in anticipation of the birth of his first grandchild. We talked for a while and something he said tipped me off that he was a follower of Christ. I asked if we could pray with him and he circled us all up and held our hands. After a rather disheartening encounter with Trailer, this brought us all great joy to be standing on the side of the highway with a man we didn’t know thanking God for sending His son for us and praying for Michael’s journey ahead. As we drove away I immediately thought that this might be what Hebrews 13:2 was talking about.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.-Hebrews 13:2
I struggle with sharing some of the details of what our lives look like on a daily basis because I never want to give the appearance of tooting my own horn or #humblebrag. Humility is something I believe is essential in life because every good thing in me is from God, therefore I have no room to boast except in Him. Ultimately, The Field’s Edge’s mission is to glorify the Lord. We are honored to be the hands and feet that He is using to carry out His will, but let’s be real—He has done ALL the work.
That said, I was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Honor this week by my alma mater, Trinity School. The award was based primarily on servant leadership, and I was recognized alongside two stalwarts of our community, Stewart Beal and Dr. Premila Singh Johnson. It is hard to receive compliments for things I truly feel like I haven’t accomplished myself. Y’all I look back at the last 8 months since we’ve been back in Midland and God has done SO much. All I have really done is show up. The substantial progress that has been made through an interweaving of connections and resources can only be explained by the work of the Lord. Glory to Him alone.
We are waiting to hear about a meeting with the folks who preside over the spaceport. We should be surveying our property in the next couple of weeks and hopefully getting everything worked out with the County for our road before the end of the year. Now that we (essentially) have our land, one thing we are looking for right now is a CPA to help us craft our budget and financial plan. This will be crucial in obtaining the necessary funding to build and operate our community. Next week we have 6 people from Midland headed to Community First! Village in Austin for the Symposium for Goodness Sake and we are absolutely thrilled about it. The more people that experience what they have done in Austin, the better.
· Continued prayer for our niece Hannah. Wisdom for her team of doctors to give her the best care possible.
· Pray for the Lord to speak through Briana at her MOPS talk this week.
· Simultaneous sleep for our kiddos ;)
· Provision of the right people to come alongside us and share the load of work to be done.
· Praise for our friends, family, and ministry partners in loving and supporting us so well.