Category Archives: WWJD Blog Entries

“You’ve Got A Friend”

I heard this song the other day. It reminded me of things years ago when I heard it for the first time. Of course I was younger and did not pay attention to the real meaning of the song. It was just a cute melody.

I know that I try not to bring much religion into my articles. They are much more related to our customers, the poor and homeless. However, when I heard the song the other day, I could not help but think of the meaning of the words. I invite you to read the lyrics slowly and carefully. Take your time and think about what the song is saying. It is a great inspirational piece and worthy of buying the James Taylor rendition from your favorite song provider.

I hope that even the homeless can think of the song. They all need a friend, very many friends. The song sings of God’s love for everyone, no matter who they are, how much money they have, or where they live.


“You’ve Got A Friend”
by Carole King

When you’re down and troubled and you need a helping hand
and nothing, whoa, nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest nights.

You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I’ll be there, yeah, yeah,
you’ve got a friend.

If the sky above you should turn dark and full of clouds
and that old north wind should begin to blow,
keep your head together and call my name out loud.
Soon I will be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I’ll be there.

Hey, ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend? People can be so cold.
They’ll hurt you and desert you. Well, they’ll take your soul if you let them,
oh yeah, but don’t you let them.

You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call, Lord, I’ll be there, yeah, yeah,
you’ve got a friend. You’ve got a friend.
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend. Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend.
Oh, yeah, yeah, you’ve got a friend.

‘Git A Job!

Recently I heard someone yell “‘Git a job![sic] to a homeless person who was standing on the corner, panhandling for money. The man just rolled down his automobile’s side window and yelled to the person to go find work.

I am sure that the person who exclaimed the phrase has a job. It is probably a menial job, but a job none the less. Perhaps that is all that the person could find a job himself. It would have been better if the person just did not say anything and drove by the homeless man on the corner without giving him a second glance.

But, to tell the homeless person to find a job is pretty useless. I hope that the driver felt better saying that. He needs help and pity. He certainly needs a dose of compassion and understanding. It did nothing to the person looking for help, except perhaps devalue him.

This piece is about such an attitude. It is about work. I do believe that the only real way to get out of being homeless is to find a job. You need to find a job that pays you a wage, even if that wage is the federal minimum wage. And once you are hired for a job, you need to keep the job.

To find a job you need to do a few things.

  • You must want to have a job. If you don’t want a job, you won’t find one.
  • There must be work available for you to find a job. If everyone is unemployed then you will probably be unemployed as well.
  • If the job requires some skills, then you need to have the skills. You can’t apply for the job as an airplane pilot if you can’t fly an airplane.
  • You need to clean up your “act”, and be presentable, courteous, polite, well-spoken.
  • It will take a bit of time to research the organizations for which you are applying; their needs, markets, products, services, etc.
  • You need to show up on time for the interview.
  • You can’t give up at the first failure. You need to keep looking. Remember that the race was won by the tortoise, not the hare.

Now, all of that is common sense in finding a job. All of those items are just making a good first impression on people. They are not hard for someone who really wants a job.

With a job, you get some self-esteem. You get some level of pride. You get an income that will pay for rent, food, and other necessities. Besides, it occupies your day. It takes you off the street. With a job, you are no longer homeless.

We will help with some of the items that I listed. We will give you nice, presentable, clothing if we have it. We will help you with some of the research. We will even, at times, drive you to the interview. But, we can’t help you if you don’t want a job or are going to be rude about asking for the job.

It seems that many of the homeless people just don’t want a job in the first place. Some of the homeless people have had jobs. They were terminated due to anger issues or the simple fact that they just didn’t want to work. Those people we can’t help with employment. They will forever be homeless.

The other issue is that once you find a job, you need to keep the job. You can’t be terminated from the job. To keep a job the person must be conscientious and have a desire to work. You need to show up, on time and be ready to do a day’s work for a day’s pay. To many of the homeless, that is almost too much to ask.

In many cases, the homeless person is mentally ill. I do not mean that he is the next “Jack the Ripper”, but that if you talked to him or her you would wonder if the person was living on the same planet as you. For those people, there is no hope. No one will offer them employment. They couldn’t keep it even if was given to them.

Like life in a ghetto, the homeless live from one government hand-out to the next. They rely upon Social Security to give them a welfare income.

But, telling someone to get a job, or as it was phrased to “git” a job, is useless. Of course, it says something about the person making that comment as well. It defined him. It put him in a class of people who are barely literate themselves. It will keep him a paycheck or two or three from being homeless himself.

So, in the end, I guess that this leads us to the one inescapable truth. Our organization, or one like it, will be needed for the foreseeable future. I truly wish that we would be phased out due to lack of need.

There Be Weeds!

OK, so I can’t sound like James Doohan (“Scotty” on Star Trek IV “The Voyage Home”). But, just pretend it is with his voice. I am writing this piece on Tuesday, the 2nd of June. What I want to write about is the board meeting that the organization held last night.

We (I filled in for my wife who was out ill) spent most of the meeting talking about the new place in Roseville for Sunday service. It seems that most of the issues about the place have been addressed, with hopefully a trivial change. We all agreed, in principle, to accept the city’s offer of a different site for Sunday. It still needs to have the contract signed.

The city is offering us a four-year lease on a piece of property to be used one day a week. The property is located at Berry Street and Reserve Drive. It is across the street from the Cemetery and down the street from two high schools.

At the present time, it is nothing but a big patch of “unwanted plants”, or what we would call weeds. They have agreed to clear most of the weeds from the property; offer a pad or some such surface so that we are not trying to plow through a mud pasture when it rains, and that is basically the limit.

It seems that the city bureaucracy does not believe in toilets. Now, I do not know what the people in the city manager’s office use for this item that is still so well known to this author. Perhaps they just hold it until they explode! I do not know. But, the city doesn’t put in toilets in their parks any longer. There are toilets in the older parks, but nothing in anything new. So, I guess that it means that the people who come there will need to relieve themselves on the street curbs; possibly in front of the occupied houses. Such action may be illegal. I can’t say since I am not an attorney.

Until the city can do the work, they have agreed to “look the other way” when it comes to the park. We will continue to serve in the park until the city has prepared the lot for use. That should take a few weeks. Once that is completed then we will have a new home for Sundays. We will no longer serve in the park.

While we are not welcome there, as an organization, the homeless people that we serve are. Perhaps there is some irony in that.

Man’s Best Friend

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The dog belongs to the same family as wolves, coyotes, jackals, dingos, and foxes. The family name is called canids or canines. All canines share the same characteristics; They bear young by live birth; Have hair or fur, four legs, with a protruding tail; Have similar dental structure with 42 teeth; Walk on their toes instead of the soles of their feet; And keep their body temperature at a constant level (called “warm-blooded”). Their body temperature is normally the same as humans, about 98.6 degrees, Fahrenheit. They also have a longer digestive system than cats and are able to digest vegetables and grains. As such they can eat most food meant for people.

The tamed, or domesticated dog, Canis lupus familiaris, has been around for almost all recorded history. In fact, the dog and its ancestor, predates humans on this planet. It was the first animal to be a companion to humans and was called “man’s best friend” for that reason. Dog bones, discovered in the United States, have been dated back to some 8300 BC. That is almost 10,000 years ago.

Scientists say that the dog’s natural hunting instincts have been used by humans in varying environments and that this led to the development of different dog breeds. There is evidence that the first breeds of dogs were “sight hounds” or “gaze hounds” that had a deep chest, long legs, and a keen sense of sight. These dogs could spot their prey at a far distance and then sprint quickly and silently to run it down in the open, treeless country.

The oldest breeds of dogs are African and Asian and include the Basenji, Lhasa Apso, and the Siberian Husky. “Scent dogs” have a large nose with well-opened nostrils. In Europe, they were bred for stamina and used to track prey over a long time. The British hunting foxhound is a prime example. Breeders in Britain developed dachshund dogs to hunt burrowing animals such as badgers, foxes, and rabbits and to control many types of vermin. These dogs, known as terriers, needed to be feisty and energetic.

Later guns were invented. Dogs with sensitive noses were bred to find, indicate, and flush out the prey. They also had soft mouths to retrieve the prey once it was shot. They are the “pointers” and “retrievers”.

According to the American Kennel Association (AKA), the Labrador retriever is “top dog” in numbers of registrations and the German shepherd is number two. The third place goes to the golden retriever, one of the most loyal dogs.

When I was a child, we grew up with two black Labrador retrievers. The retriever has large webbed feet to aid it its swimming and uses its tail as a rudder, tossing it from side to side seemingly to control its direction. It lives for the water, any kind of water, be it a garden hose or a mountain lake. The temperature did not matter as long as it was water. They were very good-natured dogs.

I would say that the most lovable dog is the basset hound. The only problem is that the dog barks at anything and everything from the wind to its own shadow. But, to a dog owner, each dog is very lovable.

The reason for this piece is because, like people from nearly 10,000 years ago, the dog has been a constant companion. The homeless tend to pick up stray dogs. These dogs are themselves homeless. Together the two form a bond-ship and a friendship that is life long.

The problem is, however, one of care for the animal. We offer what we have for dog food on our van. We do not normally buy dog food. We buy “people” food as that is our mission. However, many times, our volunteers buy, out of their own money, dog or cat food which we re-package and distribute as we can. But, it is a very hit-or-miss situation.

The other issue is that because the dogs are strays, they are not properly licensed. It is rare that they would have the required rabies vaccinations, distemper, bordetella, and other vaccinations that are either required by county law or “extremely advised” by the medical community. Also missing are the common preventive medicines that we, the more affluent, can offer our own pets. Medications to prevent heartworm and control fleas and ticks are missing. Leashes that are required by the city are at times not available.

Then, there is the general lack of identification. If the dog becomes separated from the owner and is picked up by animal control, the animal control would have no way to find the owner of the dog. There is not even a rabies tag to track the dog back to the owner. These pets are usually, unfortunately, euthanized after a few days.

The loss of a pet is akin to the loss of a loved one. There is a real emotional, as well as a true chemical bond between the homeless owner and the pet. Each lives for the other and existence is extremely hard without your pet, your “best friend”.

There are organizations that aid the pets for the homeless. One is called “Pets of the Homeless”.

In closing, let me say a small prayer; “May God grant me the ability to be the great person that my dog thinks I am.”

Habeas Corpus

The habeas corpus concept was first expressed in the Magna Charta, a constitutional document forced on King John by English landowners at Runnymede on June 15, 1215. The Magna Charta, which King John signed (or he would had never seen the June 16th sunrise), formed the background for all legal precedents in England since that time. It put specific limits on the King’s authority, and thereby the state’s authority. Before then, it was “King’s Law”, or what the King wanted was law and everything else was not.

“Habeas Corpus” comes from Latin. It literally means “you have the body”, or as some people refer to it, “produce the body”. It is a writ or court order that commands a person or a government official who has restrained another to produce the prisoner at a designated time and place so that the court can decide if there is even enough evidence to start the case. The government must release the person if there is not enough reason for detention.

It was a common practice in some cities to shuffle the prisoner from jail to jail to exclude him from contacting his attorney. The attorney would then go to the judge and demand to see his client and the judge would instruct the city to “produce the body”.

The writ of habeas corpus was first used by the common-law courts in thirteenth and fourteenth century England. These courts, composed of legal professionals, were competing with feudal courts, controlled by local landowners, or “lords.” The feudal courts lacked procedural consistency, and on that basis, the common-law courts began to issue writs demanding the release of persons imprisoned by them. From the late fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries, the common-law courts used the writ to order the release of persons held by royal courts.

The only reference to the writ of habeas corpus in the U.S. Constitution is in Article I, Section 9, Clause 2. This clause states that “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” [sic]

In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln authorized his Civil War generals to arrest anyone they thought dangerous, suspending the writ. In addition, in 1863, Congress suspended it to allow the Union army to hold accused persons temporarily until trial in the civilian courts. The Union army ignored the statute and tried people under Martial Law in “drum head” trials, illegally.

Now that you know something about legal habeas corpus, we have a similar regulation, law, procedure, guideline, or method of operation. To us, habeas corpus is best described in the saying “No body, no bag.” I mentioned this because many times people ask us for food for “my friend who just can’t come today, but I signed him into the roster.” Or, “my five other friends who need to stay behind so that they can watch their stuff, I want food for them so please just give me six sets of food.”

We are charitable people. If we weren’t charitable we would not be doing this. But, there are common sense limits that we follow. One is “no body, no bag”. You have to show up to get food from us. We don’t care if the wife is “over there”, watching the children or the dogs and you come and want food for two. You will get only one bag of food. After we give you your bag, you can go over and watch the dogs and allow her to come and get a bag. We won’t give you two bags.

No body, no bag.

You would not believe some of the stories that we hear about the urgent need for one person in one day to have six pairs of reading glasses or a dozen razors or eight containers of shampoo. What can they do with eight containers of shampoo? Drink them? I doubt it. But, we don’t carry that much supplies to give a single person eight containers of shampoo. That would prevent us from giving a single container to seven other people.

That is our simple definition of habeas corpus, or as some people would say “produce the body”.

California Proposition 63

California Proposition 63 Mental Health

In 2004, the people of California voted on a “proposition”. A proposition bypasses the legislature and put is on the ballot directly by the voters when it is clear that the legislature wouldn’t pass it as a traditional bill.

This is Proposition 63. The ballot called it the “Mental Health Services Act” and it passed by 53.8% of the voters.

Proposition 63 deals with reforming the state’s public mental health system by raising the tax rate on income over $1 million by an extra 1%. It affects about 30,000 taxpayers. (If you are not handy with mathematics, that is an extra $10,000 on every million dollars per year.)

The extra money would be about a 31 percent increase in the previous budget of about $2.5 billion dollars. Its purpose was to revolutionize and expand the mental health system and focus on the recovery-oriented programs to try to get people off the state’s dole as soon as possible.

The Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) was projected to generate about $254 million in the 2004-2005 fiscal year, $683 million in 2005-06 fiscal year, and then increasing amounts later.

OK. So what does this mean?

The Steinberg group, well, Darrell Steinberg and his staff, made the papers the other day announcing that they are working with the Sacramento County Behavioral Health Directors Association to check the results of the programs that use the funds collected by the proposition. The results seem to the success in helping the homeless and other severely mentally ill people with a variety of services such as substance abuse treatment, housing, and job training.

“What made me happy was to see that over 35,000 people a year are benefiting from the full-service partnerships. And yet … we know there are more people who need the help,” Steinberg said.

What does this mean to the homeless? Well, there are many homeless people out on the streets today, this morning, and every morning who are mentally ill. There are some who are obviously in need of severe help. They barely can form a clear thought; let alone hold a salient conversation with anyone.

I know of at least one person whom I will call George. That is not his real name, but for the story I will call him that. George would come to our van and wait in line. He would properly sign our sheet and when we would ask him what food the wanted it was basically the one word.

“Tuna, tuna, tuna, tuna” would be all that he would say.

“Ok, George, here is a can of tuna. Now, do you want some peaches or oranges?” I would question.

“Tuna, tuna” was the reply.

“But George, I gave you a can of tuna. Do you want some peaches? How about oranges?”

“Tuna, tuna”.

The garrulous conversation would go on like that. I would then try to guess what he wanted; besides tuna. It was clear that giving him choices was not the proper thing to do.

It was not always “tuna”. Some days it was “chocolate”. Other days it was “noodles”. It was as if he had a craving for a single item.

But, more probably, it was all that he was thinking about then.

After he got his bag of food, he would stand nearby and relate how the earth’s magnetic field was destroying all life on the planet. The words that he spoke did not make sense. They were a rambling string of words. Journalists call it a “stream of consciousness”. Everyone else has a simpler term for it — crazy. And, like an ignored child, if you didn’t listen to him, he would only repeat it louder until finally someone asked him to speak softer.

You take pity on him. You wonder what happened. I can tell you what happened. The mental health facilities were closed and they tossed everyone there out on the streets to fend for themselves. That’s what happened!

The story of George is not unique. In some form or another, we serve many disabled people. Our sign in sheet has a column for “disabled”. If you looked at the sheet, I am guessing thirty to forty percent of the people have indicated a disabled status. In most cases, the disability is not physical but mental.

That is a sad statistic. It’s a sad condition of the state of our society that these people are in so much need of mental health care and wonder the streets like George saying “tuna, tuna, tuna” to everyone that they see.

I can understand why mothers sometimes keep their children away. To them, George must seem dangerous. It is that they don’t know George as I do. Please don’t misunderstand me. George is physically harmless. He would not physically hurt anyone. His is neither violent nor a threat to society. He is just not mentally fit to lead a normal life.

Without help, and like Ahasuerus before, he is cursed to wander the streets among us all who just don’t seem to care.

It just sometimes that things seem overwhelming to me that I wonder if there really is a solution to the problem. There are so many people out there who are in need, like George, of basic mental health support.

Maybe proposition 63 will supply the funds that people like George need help. Or, perhaps it is just another boondoggle on the taxpayers. Only time will tell. In the meantime, George will have to wait.

The Yellow Ribbon

Green is the color of the wist-band or ribbon associated with Mental Health. The reason that I mention this now is that this month, May, is also “Mental Health” month.

I will talk about mental health later, so don’t worry. You will get my thoughts about our combined mental health or the lack of it.

But, when I told my wife that the color for mental health was green, she asked me “Why is it green? Have you considered why we have those ribbons? Are you sure that it is ‘green’ for mental health? You know that it started with ‘pink’ don’t you?”

Being diplomatic, I did not tell her “Well, um, no, that’s not quite correct. Yes, I am sure that it is green and no, it did not start with pink.” It actually started with yellow and had nothing to do with health.

The origin of the idea of a yellow ribbon came from the 1800s. Ladies wore yellow ribbons as an indication that she had a love in the U.S. Cavalry. It was then made into a song called “Round Her Neck She Wore A Yellow Ribbon”, a common marching song at the same time.

About 150 years later, John Wayne and Joanne Dru starred in a movie by the same name, “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon”, directed by the legendary John Ford (1949).

We skip forward about 25 more years.

In the 1970s, there was a singing group was called “Tony Orlando and Dawn“. Tony sang lead and the two ladies who made up Dawn did the backup. One song that made number one on the “charts” was called “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Around the Old Oak Tree” (1973). It was about someone returning from prison and wondering if his love still held feelings for him. He asked her to “tie a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree” and if he did not see it, he would keep on the bus and forget about us.

Then, in 1979, the relations with the state of Iran exploded and the Iranian government seized the American diplomatic mission in Tehran. They held them captive for 444 days.

Some of the families of the diplomats felt frustrated, angry, hurt, and wanted to “do something”. Like Tony Orlando and Dawn’s song before about returning home, Mrs. Langen tied a large yellow ribbon around her large old oak tree and vowed that it would stay there until her son, held captive in Tehran, removed it. The story of the yellow ribbon and the old oak tree made the news and soon, yellow ribbons were tied around many oak trees; all in support of the hostages in Tehran.

The yellow ribbon as we know it was born.

Soon, they were everywhere. It was not just that you knew someone who was kidnaped in Tehran; it was that you supported them and wanted them to return home to their family. Everywhere there were yellow ribbons. And, on the bumper-stickers, the folded yellow ribbon came into being. It had the familiar shape that the ribbons do today, a simple twist fold.

Then, later, the ribbons started to show not only yellow but pink. Pink was a female color and it signified breast cancer. Originally, it was a breast cancer survivor. Later, it was in support of breast cancer research.

Then there was red for AIDS; clear for lung cancer; blue for colon cancer; orange for kidney cancer; then multi-colored, then every color under the rainbow. The list is quite extensive and can be found here.

But, yellow is the traditional support for military soldiers and displayed by their families at home. It was the first color.

The modern ribbon craze and shape all started with a simple catchy song called “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Around the Old Oak Tree”. Oh, the song ended with saying that there 100 yellow ribbons around the old oak tree. His love must have worried that he might have missed just one. She obviously welcomed him home as did the families of the hostages when they eventually returned home.

Mrs. Langen donated the ribbon that her son removed to the Library of Congress in 1991.

A Day In The Life Of A Volunteer

This is the story of a single volunteer. The person serves the homeless in Roseville CA. She does not live in Roseville but lives in a community near the city.

6:15 A.M. Wake up. This is hard because she was soundly asleep and her husband had to give her a gentle shake.
6:18 A.M. In the shower. The water is warm, but this is just the start of the day.
6:30 A.M. All dressed. Kiss the husband, who is still in bed, good-bye and leave for the convent in Roseville.
7:00 A.M. Arrive at the convent. Get the key to the van and unlock all the doors. Take the convent keys out and open the convent and the storage shed where the food items are kept.
7:02 A.M. Start the water heater to make the coffee and hot water. Attach the hose and drain the standing water from the coffee maker.
7:05 A.M. Go out to the van and remove the coffee and water containers and bring into the convent.
7:08 A.M. Get the hand cart from the van to carry the full coffee containers. They are heavy and go on the cart between the coffee maker and the van.
7:10 A.M. Remove the covers from the coffee maker and the wire baskets. Add a filter to the basket and fill it with four cups of ground coffee. Replace the basket into the coffee maker and notice the hot water is starting to rise in temperature, but it is not quite hot enough.
7:12 A.M. Go outside and check the van contents. Make sure that there is enough food, creamers, sugar packets, and other items to feed about 70 people.
7:15 A.M. Back inside, the water is hot enough to start making the coffee. So, turn on the water and let it flow through the coffee grounds into the tank.
7:30 A.M. There is enough coffee to start to drain some off. So, attach the hose again and let the coffee flow into the container.
7:40 A.M. The coffee container is full. So, turn off the valve, remove the hose, attach the lid, put it on the cart. Drain the excess coffee and start the hot water going into the container. Take the coffee out to the van and lift it into the van.
7:45 A.M. The hot water is full. Turn off the valve, attach the lid to the container and put it on the cart. Stat the water back into the coffee maker so that it is not left dry.
7:50 A.M. All complete. Wipe down the kitchen, check the lights are off and everything locked securely. Leave for the distribution site.
8:00 A.M. Arrive at the site. Remove the tables, sometimes with some help, put the coffee on the tables, remove the cups, creamers, sugars, tea, and other items. Prepare the side of the van for distribution.
8:04 A.M. Open the back of the van and start the process of asking people what they would like to have. Ensure that everyone signs the register so that we have a tracking of the people.
 
8:50 A.M. Announce that this is the last call for coffee. Some people fill their thermos container with what is left of the coffee. But, usually there is some small amount left to dump. Use some of the remaining hot water to wipe down the tables and put the contents back into the van. Dump the rest of the hot water.
9:00 A.M. Do a quick check to make sure that the area is clean and there is no trash left around and all is secure. Depart for the convent to return the van.
9:10 A.M. At the convent, lock everything and return the keys to their proper place.
9:15 A.M. Depart to continue with the rest of your day.

While the same person does not work every day, the organization does. This is but a brief glimpse of the process that goes on six days a week, fifty-two weeks a year. We have many people who help. They all follow a schedule similar to but not exactly the same as what I described. They are all dedicated, hard-working, and caring individuals.

The post office must have taken our motto about rain, snow, sleet and shine because we are there during all weather conditions; doing our job that we have come to love each day. Each day is a fresh start.

Tale of a man and a flood

This is a corollary to the ending of Robert’s story. When I read his story, I remembered this tale. It is so poignant in that while offered a solution the man refused to accept it, as it is humorous.

Too many people are waiting around for “the complete solution” when the solution is simply “to start”. How did Eleanor Roosevelt put it? … “The best way to begin is to begin.”

Anyway, here is the tale of a man, a flood, two boats, and a helicopter….


A terrible storm came into a town and local officials sent out an emergency warning that the riverbanks would soon overflow and flood the nearby homes. They ordered everyone in the town to evacuate immediately.

A faithful Christian man heard the warning and decided to stay, saying to himself, “I will trust God and if I am in danger, then God will send a divine miracle to save me.”

The neighbors came by his house and said to him, “We’re leaving and there is room for you in our car, please come with us!” But the man declined. “I have faith that God will save me.”

As the man stood on his porch watching the water rise up the steps, a man in a canoe paddled by and called to him, “Hurry and come into my canoe, the waters are rising quickly!” But the man again said, “No thanks, God will save me.”

The floodwaters rose higher pouring water into his living room and the man had to retreat to the second floor. A police motorboat came by and saw him at the window. “We will come up and rescue you!” they shouted. But the man refused, waving them off saying, “Use your time to save someone else! I have faith that God will save me!”

The flood waters rose higher and higher and the man had to climb up to his rooftop.

A helicopter spotted him and dropped a rope ladder. A rescue officer came down the ladder and pleaded with the man, “Grab my hand and I will pull you up!” But the man STILL refused, folding his arms tightly to his body. “No thank you! God will save me!”

Shortly after, the house broke up and the floodwaters swept the man away and he drowned.

When in Heaven, the man stood before God and asked, “I put all of my faith in You. Why didn’t You come and save me?”

And God said, “Son, I sent you a warning. I sent you a car. I sent you a canoe. I sent you a motorboat. I sent you a helicopter. What more were you looking for?”

A Volunteer Tells His Story

This story is from our newsletter. Robert who served in the Auburn area wrote it. I have never met the gentleman, but the story is interesting in and of itself.

This is his story.


“Hi, my name is Robert, what’s yours?” That is the question that I ask every Thursday morning. Strangers come out of the bushes, from behind buildings or exit off the local transit bus to gather around us there at the Dewitt Center from 8:00 until 9:30 am.

On January 14th, 2013 a head-on collision took the life of my granddaughter Emily (age 3). My son was critically injured and is still recovering to this very day. I have been a believer in Christ since I was 9 years old, but it has taken me until the age of 50 to realize the limitless power He has given me.

I was the ability to speak in front of large crowds and I used that gift to speak at my granddaughter’s eulogy. I asked the Lord our God for wisdom and strength and that He would be glorified. He graciously granted my request, but He didn’t stop there.

I shared this experience with my pastor and my heart-felt a desire for the lost. He invited me to lunch one afternoon and began to tell me about a place of need. He told me about a program called What Would Jesus Do? He said the need was from among the homeless.

At first I thought, “why me”? I have so many other things going on in my life, why do you want me Involved with this program? My life is full already. I don’t have time for this! I am uncomfortable with the idea of meeting the homeless. I had every excuse to say no, I had every legitimate reason to say no. I am not an enabler! These are the same people I have to escort out of my store. These are the people at the street corner with their dogs begging for money. There will be “crazy” people there!

I agreed to test the waters. I would show up hoping I would find an excuse not to include this program in my busy life. I showed up…. And…. So did God! I had this silly notion that if you’re homeless you are not a believer. I am so weak-minded. What I realized is that some of the sweetest Christians are among our homeless brothers and sisters; Christians who just need some encouragement and a little love.

I have met some of the most grateful human beings ever. One was happy and thankful that we showed up on the 4th of July. What amazed him was that our group choose to serve him rather that out celebrating with our families. In the short time that I have served I have seen God working in so many ways.

We try to have socks on hand, but we often run out. On one occasion, a man came to the van and asked for socks but, unfortunately, this was one of those times. Without hesitation, one of our volunteers said, “wait a minute, you can have mine.” He had me help him pull his shoes and socks off and handed him the socks right off of his feet.

Do we enable? Yes, we do enable. Are we reaching others for Christ? Are we showing our homeless brothers and sisters the unconditional love of Jesus? Yes, we are.

I have met many Christians who have said, I am waiting on God to tell me His will. I am here to say…. Don’t wait! His will is going on RIGHT HERE…. RIGHT NOW!

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