The other day, Sandy Downs told me of two of her experiences with homeless men, and yesterday I asked her to write it down and send it to me, and not to spare the rod.
Here is what she sent:
I copied this from a website I found:
(based on Matt. 25:31-46)
When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another.” When the nations are gathered before Him, there will be but two classes, and their eternal destiny will be determined by what they have done or have neglected to do for Him in the person of the poor and the suffering.
In that day Christ does not present before men the great work He has done for them. He presents the faithful work they have done for Him. To those whom He sets upon His right hand He will say, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.” But those whom Christ commends knew not that they had been ministering unto Him. To their perplexed inquiries He answers, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”
Jesus had told His disciples that they were to be hated of all men, to be persecuted and afflicted. Many would be driven from their homes, and brought to poverty. Many would be in distress through disease and privation. Many would be cast into prison. To all who forsook friends or home for His sake He had promised in this life a hundredfold. Now He assured a special blessing to all who should minister to their brethren. In all who suffer for My name, said Jesus, you are to recognize Me. As you would minister to Me, so you are to minister to them. This is the evidence that you are My disciples.
This followed on the website:
We don’t know what is going on in this world because we have no clue as to who the Illuminati are and what they have in mind for you and me.
A tidbit of my dealings with the “least of these” :
The homeless man I met at Walgreens in Key West reminded of this verse, when I stopped by to give him $5.00 a few days ago. I know that is not much, but it was what I had. I have been financially destroyed by my outspoken words against the City of Key West. And I just kept believing if I was doing the right thing, then God would take care of the rest. I knew a few days from now, if the tide didn’t turn, I might just be sitting right by this “brother” of mine as destitute as he. So I went ahead and sat down beside him then. I squatted down on the concrete with him, his 2 liter bottle of soda and his brand new 8 pack of tube socks he was proud of. We talked a while. People stared at us. He told me of serving in the military and his son dying shortly after returning. His son was 4. He said he never got over it, and his life just went on without him. He landed in Key West with a job working on a boat engine. The owner got in to test the boat and never returned to pay him for his work. Now he is amongst the homeless in Key West. I gave him my number. And after he asked if “he could pray for me.” As we held hands and sat on the pavement in Key West outside Walgreens, he prayed to Jesus whom I know; and asked that I be protected, comforted, and receive instruction and wisdom…and on and on he prayed for me. I got up and left wanting to take him to lunch but knowing there was a chance my bank card had no money on it, and we might both land in jail for eating and having no money to pay for our food.
I am always drawn to the barefoot little boys running in the islands of the Caribbean. They grow up to be strong sympathetic men, empathetic and humble men. The ones that get to go to college in some other country always keep their humility placed higher than their degrees they earn from these foreign universities. It has not been a “coincidence” that no matter where I choose to live, I run into these “barefoot” men, cloaked in other uniforms now, but their degrees are not hanging on their office walls. I served a church in Miami, ran a youth choir and a donation center for the homeless and displaced. The Pastor had doctorates from UK universities, but was more humble than those we served. Pastor Franklin Knowles…a barefoot kid from the Bahamas with doctorates from English universities. No one knew, not even I. We revived the church with the kids and the missions. The Board didn’t like it. They didn’t like the “Christ” work we were doing. They wanted a country club for themselves. And they didn’t want any “non paying” members or parishioners, like kids and homeless.
On Mother’s Day, the kids choir put on a luncheon for mothers, and women, even women with NO children were invited, and we made sure they knew we appreciated them too. We served food and gave a little book we made, and the kids served food and sang for them. Afterwards I went into the kitchen where there was so much food left over. The Board members from the church were putting it into to-go containers and asking if I wanted any. I said “Yes, for my homeless friend Omar.” The ladies turned to stone and told me it was not for homeless people, only for the church members and their families. I died inside. I said then I would give my portion to Omar, and they needed to pack up not only my portion, but the portion for my family as well. It was a standoff.
I stood firm. The Pastor stood by me. They packed up the food and I gave it to Omar. It was one of the most intense moments in my life. We stood for Christ, they stood against us…in a church with a 15 foot cross which hung from the center of the A frame structure. At the time it was called Trinity Presbyterian Church and was on 107th Avenue and Bird Road (which is 40th Street) in Miami.
I had met Omar at a shopping center 1/2 mile from my home. He was one of the children escorted to the US because his father had died helping the US in the Bay of Pigs Invasion. That was one of the guarantees the US offered the Cuban traitors, that their families and children would be taken to the US for safety. Omar lived in an orphanage in the US. He never had family. They all died for us….in the US. Omar was abused, mistreated and abandoned here in the US. He had diabetes and needed glasses. A once master painter who could no longer see. His diabetes left unchecked without medication made him go into fits. He lived in a cardboard box. I loved Omar. Not in any way you might understand….I loved him like Jesus loved him. I loved Omar.
I couldn’t sleep at nights knowing he was in a cardboard box. I brought him to my home to do laundry for him, but he refused to interfere with my life. I asked the Pastor if we could apply for zoning to create a homeless shelter at the church. The Pastor and I were on the “same page”. We started a donation center. Everything was free for those who needed anything. It was broadcast on the News in Miami. The News crews came out and interviewed me. I said all of this is for the poor and displaced. The donations poured in so much that it overflowed our center. Huge trucks brought whole estates to us to give away for charity.
Some evil person called in to the county and said we were violating code, having the donation center so close to the preschool there. The Fire Marshall shut us down. Pastor Knowles and I winced not. We were being attacked and we knew it…by Satan. Then on a Sunday after church the ladies on the Board or the wives of such, accosted me outside the Pastor’s office and told me in hushed tones, that they did not want the children or the homeless at the church and they didn’t want me there either. Pastor Knowles, unbeknownst to them was right inside his office and heard it ALL.
Pastor Knowles and I met after that. He said he was resigning. He said that “where the least of these” is not welcome, it is NO church at all. It is against the Presbyterian rules for a Pastor to resign. The Board and members have to vote on it. They protested his resignation and voted that he could not resign. He and I talked again. I learned of all of his degrees and cloaks of color he could have worn to show off his honors and degrees. Yet he had never worn any of them. He went to the pulpit every Sunday as the most humble man on earth with humble attire.
I told him if he was going to resign in defiance of their vote, he should do so with all the authority and honors bestowed on him, and to wear every sash and cloak he had.
Pastor Knowles showed up with sash after sash draped around his neck the next Sunday. He told the church that where kids and homeless weren’t welcomed, then neither was Christ and he could no longer lead them as they were astray. He pointed me out and said if any had been more faithful than me, he didn’t know of them in the church. Yet the church curtailed my efforts, thwarted me at every turn, and disabled me every way they could. He and I left the church that day. A few weeks later, maybe days,….. my dear friend Paul was out fishing in the waters off Miami when a great thunderstorm grew and a tornado came out of it. He hid in the mangroves and watched as it went ashore. The tornado touched down one place in Miami and then lifted and disappeared. It touched down at the church. It ripped the whole roof off, the whole A frame was gone except the 2 beams that held the giant 15 foot wooden cross. The church was destroyed except the cross. I smiled as I watched the photos and the video on the News that night. Thank you Jesus.
Pastor Knowles went back to the Bahamas, built 15 or more churches and that is where he is still. Pastor Ernie DeLoach retired from Glad Tidings church in Key West, the church that had homeless ministries for some time in the past. Pastor Johnny took over. He is Pastor Knowles buddy. I gave the photos to Pastor Johnny of me and Pastor Knowles and Trinity Presbyterian Church when it still stood in Miami and when I worked for the church there. It is not a coincidence we are all working together. Not a coincidence that God just moves us around. As the Bible tells us, we have to kick the dirt off our shoes as we leave the villages who hate us, and move on to our next place God puts us…and then try again.
Make NO mistake of what I am saying…….we WILL ALL be judged as to what we have done to the “least of them”.
Sandy told me later that God had told her not to describe how she had helped Omar get off the street, because the focus of her writing assignment was not to get homeless people off the street, but to love them as Jesus loved them.
I said I’d had some dreams and was having some difficulty making sense of them. Then Sandy told me of a dream she’d had and I finally understood my dreams. Then, I got all choked up, could not say anything for a while. Then, I asked if she could come by my place, alone, for a little while? She said yes.
When Sandy arrived, I said I am supposed to help you out. She said I am helping her out plenty, with what she is writing and I am publishing. I said not that. Help her out with money, to get the pressure off her and her son who will enter high school next year. I gave her enough cash to tide her over until the check I wrote cleared the banks. In the “For” blank at the bottom, I wrote “for heroism.” I said I don’t have much money right now, but I am okay doing this.
I knew from the dreams the amount to give her. I knew she no more wanted to take money than the homeless man had wanted to take the $5. I told her it is not open to debate. She is taking the help. It is for her and her youngest son, and not for the rest of her children and their girlfriends and other people she looks after.
Sandy is hardly the first person I was called to help in that way. I once gave the same amount to a homeless man in Birmingham, Alabama. I once gave the same amount to in inmate in a maximum security prison, who only recently was released after serving 26 years for a crime he did not commit, and perhaps his story should be told soon.
I helped lots of people in that way, and two people I helped with far greater sums, for which I received rough criticism from people who thought they knew me, but did not. I was told to make those gifts – I never loan money. I understood perfectly, it is more blessed to give than to receive; do unto others as you would have done unto you. The first and larger of those gifts ended up putting me on the street. The second might put me on the street again.
After getting through the gift discussion, Sandy and I talked about a lot of things, mostly personal. Serious things, deep things, including Sandy’s impression that going back on a decision she had made is what led directly to her son Preston’s death. I told her it was very heroic for her to face that about herself, and then to share it with me. I described similar flubs I had made, for which I paid dearly. I said what I learned from it is never to yield to anything I feel is wrong, unless God tells me to yield to it.
I said the holiest woman I ever knew was the black woman, daughter of a slave, who had raised me. Devout Christian, she. I said the holiest man I ever knew was the federal judge for whom I had clerked straight out of law school. He cussed, used to drink moonshine and did not attend church. Both were living saints.
I said what I do here in the Keys is not what I was trained by the angels to do; it is a default program, low level. She asked if I do not see what I do having an impact for the good? I said I do not see it, but perhaps my vision is impaired.
I said the first assignment given to me when I arrived in Key West, homeless, was Unity Church. I said that church was shown in many ways what it needed to do differently, and it ignored it all. Eventually, the church building was flattened by Hurricane Wilma, I think it was, and the congregation had to find another building at which to gather.
I attended a few services at the original location, after they told God to take a hike, and one service at the new location. I felt plenty in the spirit during those visits, and it was not what anyone in right mind would want to have anything to do with. But they were oblivious. More than oblivious, they actually believed they were doing quite well after the fashion of Jesus Christ. Perhaps it did not help my chances of getting through to them, that they knew I was homeless.
It was Jesus I was trained to attempt to represent on this world. He was, is, one of my teachers in the spirit. I do not know the Jesus taught in today’s churches. When I used to attend church services, usually I was sent. I waited until something happened, to which I was to speak. Never was it to say something pleasant, what anyone there wanted to hear. Never did it go over well. Always, I felt the strong presence of Lucifer in the spirit.
I asked the minister of one of those churches (in north Georgia), who had become a friend, where did he think the devil would hide, if the devil did not want anyone to know he was there? The answer was so drop-dead obvious than the question was rhetorical. Yet my minister friend could not answer the question. Perhaps because he was completely convinced going to church regularly was required for salvation.
When a mutual acquaintance of ours had asked me two years before, if I attended church?, I had said, when am I ever not in church?
Even in my sleep, I am in church.
I wager if Christendom knew the Jesus I know, most of them would quit being Christians. Most of them would be on psych wards, or kill themselves. Christendom would be minuscule.
As is plainly said in the Gospels.
Steep is the way, narrow the gate, and few enter therein.
Many are called, but few are chosen.
The work is great and the laborers are few.
Those who hear my sayings and do not do them are like the foolish man who built his house on sand and when the flood came, how great was that fall!
Many will call me Lord, and I will say I never knew them.
I’m all choked up. Tears are rolling down my cheeks. My heart is heaving.
I came know a few heroic people in the Keys after I was sent here in late 2000, flat broke. The first was Dorothy Sherman, who had started the soup kitchen at St. Mary Star of the Sea. It was Dorothy’s operation, the church let her use its facility. On Valentine’s Day 2004, Dorothy was eulogized as a living saint by Peter Batty at that church. Peter asked the congregation, who would step up and take St. Dorothy’s place? I bawled my eyes out during that wake.
Looks to me Father Stephen Braddock and his right-hand man Charles Davis are the only people in Key West who can take Dorothy’s place, although it is for a fact that people serving in Dorthy’s soup kitchen are holding true to her mission and philosophy:
“It is our job to feed homeless people; it is God’s job to change them.”
Key West officials (and other Key West people) think it is their job to change homeless people, and if they do not change, then it is their job to put homeless people in jail. Too bad they do not see the jail they put themselves in when they put the least of these in jail simply because they have no place to lay down their heads at night.