You might have heard of a little place called New York City. To me, this place is magical. It is so magical that I constantly think about it even though I live hundreds of miles away. What do I love about it? The hustle and bustle of the city, the countless different kinds of people you encounter on a daily basis, the subway, the different areas of the city that are so close to each other, yet so different, and the escape of Central Park are a few things I love, but most of all, it is the people. I fell in love with the people of this city on my first visit there five years ago. I returned a couple years later with a group of teenagers (the ones I mentioned in my first post) to serve at a place called The Bowery.
The Bowery is the largest homeless mission in New York City. It has been serving the homeless since 1879! We not only served at the Bowery, we stayed there as well. It became like home. And it has remained our home every time we have visited the city since then. The men there are so passionate about helping those in need, and most of them are in need themselves! They do everything they can to help those who are in the same position they were in a short time ago. Their love astounded me, and reminded me of a book I had read previously.
Crazy Love by Francis Chan is an incredible read about just that- crazy love! Francis says that love changes everything- and it does! Whether you are in love with your soulmate, or you show love to a stranger in need, love changes the way you think and act. Serving the homeless at the Bowery is not limited to serving them food. We were encouraged by the men who work at the mission to sit down and get to the know the men who are going through the residential recovery program, and we did. These men have taken a step towards recovery by enrolling themselves in the program at the Bowery. Not only listening to their stories, but listening to them rave about how much it means to them to see young people helping at the mission was life changing. It was not about the food we served them. It was about our willingness to sit and talk with them. They were amazed by our love, but I was even more amazed at their love for us and the homeless who still live on the streets of the city. That is something I brought back home with me, that someone who has nothing can love people who do not love them back. I have a lot, and after my time at the Bowery, I will always be more willing to give it away for the sake of someone else.