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The Journey Home


Sitting and talking with Jane in her colorful crocheted hat and red jacket felt like any everyday conversation. You wouldn’t know that behind her glasses and New York accent that she was a tornado victim with a mental disability.

More unexpectedly, you wouldn’t imagine that she was teacher with her masters in education and once an elementary school teacher. However, here she and I sat at the Journey Home this evening after my BCM family served her and several others a meal. Jane was unemployed and a little down on her luck, something she wasn’t afraid to share with total strangers.

The Journey Home, the facility where Jane and I sat and bantered, is a safe haven where the homeless or people just down on their luck come to find  food and love. They serve meals regularly throughout the week, and this Monday the BCM decided to offer dinner for anyone who needed it.

When I walked into the building tonight with the rest of my group, I didn’t know what to expect. Sometimes, I don’t feel like being a people person, and today was one of those days. I wanted to serve, but I was tired and it had been a long Monday. So, I offered to serve the food instead of talk to people.

God surprised me, though. I thought I had gotten out of talking with people until we ran out of people to serve. I took off my clear serving gloves and threw them in the trash. That’s where I saw Jane talking to one of my friends. Her mouth was going a mile a minute, and she intrigued me.

Michael, the man in charge, urged us to go and sit with the people who were eating while they finished their meal. I was hesitant. I was not in the right mindset to deal with people today especially people who I thought were sad and depressed.

So, I sat down in a green plastic chair and introduced myself to the woman across from me. She was friendly and had a smile on her face. Her smile surprised me most of all. I was not anticipating it at all.

I caught her in the middle of her story, but I remained quiet and listened attentively. She had just reached the part about her backpacking all over the country. I thought to myself, “Wow, she’s backpacked all over the country?” My curious nature always wants to know how people are in down-trodden situations. So I sat, waiting, hoping to find my answer.

She concluded by telling my friend and I that her house was torn to splinters a few years ago in the Good Friday tornadoes. Her house may have been almost rebuilt, but her spirit and mind weren’t. Despite her smile, her tragedy left with her with a disability and hard times.

I left the Journey Home with a great realization. Not everyone who are in terrible situations are sad. Lord knows I would be sad, depressed and irritable if I had to deal with the life hurdles Jane did. However, she kept her chin high and was open to telling her story and testimony.

Everyone has a story and sometimes it’s only a matter of sharing. More importantly, it’s only a matter of someone to listen to you. I am thankful and humbled by her story. She gave me a gift. I may have given her something to eat, but she gave me the gift hope and renewed light in this world. A light that isn’t so easily blown out.


Mya and Memphis


Isaiah 58:12

When seven-year old Mya told me she didn’t care anything about her eighth birthday, I knew I had to change that. Any soon to be eight year old shouldn’t be that sad on her birthday.

For the past six days, I’ve found myself walking the steaming hot streets of Memphis, Tenn., knocking on doors and picking up kids for Bible club each day with Street Reach Ministries. To say this was an experience is an understatement.

Technically, I was in the “ghetto” of Memphis. I saw everything from shattered glass to shattered hearted kids on Mayflower Avenue. That’s the street I was assigned to pick up kids every day.

That’s exactly where I found Mya in a small, white vinyl house. The other girls I was walking up with knocked on the door. A dog I soon later found out was named Molly attacked the door with a thud scratching her way to get out. She didn’t know what to think of strangers.

Only a short few minutes later, I saw my blond haired, blue eyed Mya creep out the door. Her hair was tangled and she looked up at me with sad eyes.

Her other two friends bounded out with her, yet they didn’t look as sad as her. They walked along talking to us about ten year old things.  We soon got introductions out of the way, and we eventually knocked on all the doors of the other kids we were supposed to pick up.

As we arrived at our site, I was holding Mya’s hand, and I had her God sister, McKynsie on my back. We went throughout our daily activities of Bible club, and it was time to walk the kids home.

Mya’s house was our last stop since my group picked them up first. I held Mya’s hand on the way back too. She wasn’t feeling too good in the Memphis heat. And I am not going to lie, it was scorching weather.

She got tired of walking, so I lifted her on my already sweat drenched back. She didn’t care though. She was just glad someone was carrying her. As we walked, we talked. She told me her birthday was Thursday.

“Are you excited?” I asked. I was trying to sound enthusiastic. She had to be happy, or so I thought.

“Why would I care about my birthday,” she said. “I’ve already had seven of them. What’s one more mean?”

I couldn’t see her eyes or her facial expression. She was on my back doing the whole piggy-back ride deal. But, I felt my heart drop. What soon to be eight year old doesn’t get joy out of a day that’s supposed to be all about her?

I dropped her off at her house along with McKynsie and her other friend Danyel.  End of conversation. I walked back on looking down at the cracked pavement wishing there was something I could do. Then the duh moment struck. Of course, I could do something for her. Or at least something little.

I told my friend Lauren my idea, and on Wednesday night, we got Mya something little along with McKynsie since her birthday is actually tomorrow.

On that Thursday, I made sure to go to her house first on our pick-up route. When I knocked on the door this time, Molly bounded out and licked us. Turns out she was a friendly dog after all.

Everyone else came out of the house except for Mya. Her brother Joe, her god brother TJ, Danyel, McKynsie. Everyone else except for her. But finally after what seemed like a small eternity, she slipped on her small pink flip-flops and pushed open the door.

Happy Birthday Mya

As it screeched behind her, I pulled out my little contribution to her eight year old birthday. It was a small, plush penguin with huge blue eyes. When I told her happy birthday and that I loved her, her face lit up. She showed her mom, and she finally smiled a genuine smile with all her teeth showing. It was the first time I had seen her glowing with joy the entire week.

That same day while we were at Bible club, she thanked me for making her birthday so special. She hadn’t gotten any other gifts yet that day, and I hope she did eventually get more gifts that afternoon.

I didn’t see Mya today. Thursday was the last day I got to see her. I had the pleasure of coming in contact with so many kids this past week. Kids who have a rough life and just need someone to show them what loving others looks like.

I hope I was able to show Mya love even through a small plush penguin and all the piggy-back rides the girl could ever want. The way I see it, God had me there for a reason. I am pretty sure it was for Mya and her eighth birthday.  I am just glad I didn’t miss my purpose, and that God penciled me in for one of His divine appointments.