I am always amazed when I get a shout out from my past telling me that I have touched their life in some small way by my mission work and what I am doing in the world. I received such a call from a fellow teacher and her husband the other night that was not only special for what she said about what I am doing but the sharing of information of our lives that we never knew existed. Maureen and Otis have always been very involved with veterans and one in specific they have taken under their roof many times to celebrate holidays, birthdays, dinners, good times and bad times both of their lives have been blessed and enriched for doing so. Maureen, while we were talking, found out that we went to the same grammar and junior high school within one grade of each other yet we never knew it then, the conversation never came up when we taught together yet retirement and homelessness has connected us to our past, life is funny I am hoping to explore this connection further with Maureen to see how many people we grew up with and how connected we really are. Maureen and her husband Otis have been supporters of mine long before my mission work but I never knew it, they have been instrumental in following me, supporting me with prayers and have financially given to The Sok-Man with wonderful financial gifts every year of its existence. For me, Maureen’s biggest compliment from this conversation was that I have the personality to go out and meet people in any situation and make them comfortable to listen to what I have to offer, thank you, Maureen, for making me feel that I have something I wasn’t sure I had, and thank you again for such a tremendous financial gift.
My second call was from a long lost friend who has been out of my life for more than 20 years yet he has been following me and my mission work. Will call him Jeb at this point but he called to share with me his experience of this past weekend. Before he began his story he shared with me that he understands homelessness, experiencing jail time and being hassled by the police for he has walked a mile in those shoes. So this weekend he saw a gentleman sitting on a corner huddled up knocking the chill of his body, with a sign that read Homeless Veteran willing to Work for Food. Having been homeless himself he felt a need to stop, Jeb also felt that do to The Sok-Man’s mission he had to find out this man’s story. Jeb pulled over got out of the car and told the gentleman he could offer him a job at 10.00 an hour, a small room to stay, with food. The gentleman’s response was more than offensive it bordered on insanity, he looks at my friend and laughed then proceeded to say I can make more than 10.00 an hour out here flying this kite so yes I don’t need your charity. Appalled, Jeb got back in his car and started to drive down the road, pissed he turned around and went back to the gentleman to find out what his story was. He got out of his car approached him and started to ask him what branch of service he served in, the homeless man did not respond so Jeb push harder and asked if he knew his dog tag numbers, his response was please leave my corner you’re killing my time and living the inquisition continued until the homeless man got up into Jeb’s face. Jeb left frustrated and mad that this guy was hurting people who are on the street really looking for help. His curiosity got the better of him so he stopped by the local police station, filed a complaint and was informed this gentleman has been arrested for panhandling numerous times and that in fact he was not homeless, nor was he a veteran. Jeb contacted me after 20 years because of this situation, his frustration and the good I have been doing for the homeless but he had to know how to handles situations like this. My response was one that I always share, thank them for their service, don’t judge them they are doing the best that they can whether their lying or not, don’t judge them, tell them to have a great day, and walk away knowing you tried your best. If they are scamming God will be the judge it’s not my place I’m just trying to offer them a little comfort, love, and help. But I bless anyone who takes the time to offer our homeless population a helping hand up.
God Bless You The Sok-Man