“The pipes hung high above the grassy watershed underneath the Houston street. Normally I wouldn’t cross from one side to the other by walking on pipes, but this wasn’t a normal day. It was a day that would alter the way I looked at life.
We were on a mission trip to work with the Impact Church of Christ in inner-city Houston. Each day our group of forty something college kids split up into groups and went out into the city – talking to college students at the University of Houston, helping in the Impact warehouse, door-knocking to invite people to a gospel meeting, and making sandwiches to deliver to the homeless. The groups that made the sandwich runs got to walk the pipes as we learned about the homeless who lived under the bridges in downtown Houston.
I was one of the first ones to walk the pipes. As soon as I got off the pipes I turned around a took a picture of the guys walking the pipes behind me. Then I turned back to scene underneath the bridge. In front of us was an area where homeless people spent the night. They were usually all gone by the morning. But on this day there was still a homeless man lying there underneath a sleeping bag. I took a picture. Not wanting to startle this man with a bunch of strangers standing around, some in the group walked over and attempted to wake him up. It was too late.
I was one of the ones who ran across the bridge to find a business where we could use a phone to call 911. We huddled in the grass beside the bridge as firemen and police and newspaper reporters scampered onto the scene. We stayed an extra day to attend a funeral for a man that we had never known, I believe his name was Dennis and Houston was just the latest city where he lived under a bridge. We had learned a song on that trip entitled “One More Day.” Some of the lyrics are, “If my time on earth is long and I am young, and I see God’s people dying I want to help them… For if Jesus comes tomorrow, we’ll have just one more day.” Singing the song beside the bridge that day brought new meaning as we felt the impact of those words.
The picture of the green sleeping bag with the worn shoes sticking out from under it still causes my stomach to turn. My stomach doesn’t turn because of the death that we witnessed that day, but because of the many more who are like Dennis that we don’t see for whatever reason. May our eyes be opened.”
I have been and will continue to pray for Charlie, his family, and the work of Impact. May God bless you richly today and may He be glorified in all things. -sg