My daughter was asked to write a speech for school about something they believe.  This is what she wrote:

        I believe in dignity for the homeless, which is something that I have been passionate about for a very long time.  When I was seven years old, we were in the middle of supper, and I had decided I did not like the meal.  My parents told me I needed to eat because there were children starving in Africa.  Of course my logical response was that if there were children starving in Africa that they could send my food to them.  Needless to say, this didn’t go over well, and my dad decided I needed to learn a lesson.  So the next week, he took me down to the Salvation Army to volunteer, and help serve the people who would appreciate any meal they could receive.  It was an eye-opener to say the least, and I loved volunteering there.  From then on, my family became very involved in street ministry, and running the street church.  I have grown up ministering to and hanging out with those struggling with addictions and people who are homeless.  I have seen the deep prejudice and disgust that many people hold or feel for the people on the streets.  I have heard a lot of people say “Why can’t they just get over it?” or “Why don’t they just get a job?” It’s not that simple.  People don’t normally choose to be homeless. They don’t choose to lose their job.  Obviously, their choices can lead to this happening, but sometimes life just throws a punch.  And once they get into that poverty cycle, it is very, very difficult to get out.

        I believe in dignity for the homeless because those living on the streets still deserve respect. The thing that bugs me when I hear people talking about the “homelessness problem” is that they don’t seem to see them as humans.  They are grossed out, or afraid, or annoyed, passing by them on the streets in a hurry.  Some people see the homeless as charity cases, and donate to big organizations, never actually going out and talking to those in need.  Now, I understand that sometimes it can be a little scary to be around the street people.  They can be smelly, unkempt, and violent.  I have been cursed at, seen fights break out, and shook hands with people who carry numerous diseases.  I have also seen them smile as they tell us their favorite food or their favorite memory as a child.  I have been given gifts from people who have nothing to give.  I have been encouraged and blessed by the same people who are cursed and avoided on a daily basis.  A few weeks ago, I shared a sermon with my dad at our church.  I was feeling extremely nervous, and wasn’t sure if I could do it.  A homeless lady that I had never met came in and handed me a flower, telling me I was beautiful.  Just that little gesture of kindness gave me the courage to carry on.

            I believe in dignity for the homeless because I am constantly seeing things like this.  There is one man in our church who has been attending for years, but generally was very angry and rude.  My younger brother began going over to him, sharing his snacks and trying to chat.  Eventually they formed a friendship, and now he has become very friendly and respectful.  All because someone took the time to reach out to him.

            I believe in dignity for the homeless because they all have a story.  Some of them are sad and tragic.  But if we take the time to listen, amazing things can happen.  Dignity is a powerful, and can transform people from feeling worthless, to treasured.  When we take time to pause a minute and say hello, we are acknowledging that they deserve respect.  Jesus never hesitated to spread himself among the people.  He reached out to the unloved.  We are called to do the same.  In the same way that he treated the poor with honor and respect, we should treat them with honor and respect.

She was also aslked to put together a multimedia presentation and this is what she came up with:


Confessions of a Concussed Christian

As I wrestled with my son on the floor, he came close to my head with his hands and I immediately froze, a nervous sweat breaking out across my forehead. 

Another time, I bumped my head and immediately became anxious, concerned that this blow may result in yet another concussion.

The fact of the matter is that bumping our heads is just a part of life.  It happens...to everyone.  We bump into things as we walk through life...and it's not the end of the world.

I know that.

Yet it hasn't stopped the panicked feelings and anxiety that seem to pop up unexpectedly.  You can't predict a panic attack.  Anxiety can pop up unawares.  When it happens, it can momentarily cripple you. Reason and logic seem to vanish.

The reality is that I don't need another head trauma.  Living with an acquired brain injury is a challenge.  Yet, I have seen significant improvement over the last 2+ years as well.  There was a point where I could only read about 5 minutes before the headaches started and I would lose focus.  Now I can read a whole lot longer and the headaches are gone.  My concentration and focus has improved.  Yes I have to put things into manageable chunks and I need deadlines but I can get things done easier than I could even a year ago.  At one point, immediately after my 6th concussion, I could not even recognize the letters on a keyboard.  Trying to write a blog post...or anything...was a challenge.  Now I can write sermons and blog posts again...though I do write a lot less than I used to. 

I no longer stumble over my words as much as I used to...unless I get really tired.  I do have to nap more than I used to.  There was a point where I struggled to do any public speaking and my sermons had shrunk to around 5 minutes. Things began to improve but I could not speak without notes and would lose my place frequently.  Now I can talk for an hour with few notes. 

I have found comfort recently in Philippians 4:6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

I have been praying for a healing and I have found improvement, though not as quickly as I would like.  I have petitioned God.  Not just praying, but praying with the passion and desperation of a broken man.  I have also began to thank God for the vast and significant improvements I am seeing. 

All is not lost, I have a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)  I know that I truly can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13) It has been a long journey, one I never envisioned...yet I also see how God has moved in the situation and changed me for His glory through the process.

For that I thank God.