FACES - YWAM Singapore Issue.2018 - Page 15

The Kingdom of God needs to be at work among us first , before the lost will see the difference . We learned to communicate well , respect and empower each other . The safe space that we shared amongst ourselves created a healing environment for those to whom we are reaching out to .
How did this change impact our work with the homeless ?
Previously , we placed a lot of emphasis on alleviating their economic and physical problems , and even considered creating a shelter and advocating for better policies for them . But we realised that it was not the key breakthrough they needed . Homelessness is often rooted in multiple family issues and is the end-product of failed relationships , poor self-identity and unresolved parental wounds .
Our first priority then , was to re-establish the entire ministry by introducing a God-oriented family culture into their lives . Many of the homeless say they have no family , and no home . But in God ’ s kingdom , everyone is valuable , and everyone has a place . God gave us a new slogan for our ministry , “ Know Home , Know Family ”, to reflect His desire to redeem the isolation that the homeless feel and give them a sense of belonging .
We saw this happen in powerful ways this year . Once , our team prayed about what we should do during our weekly night visit to the streets . We received an impression of us sitting on cardboard , having dinner in the dark corridor where three uncles slept , along with the words , “ Eat together as a family .” So we called , and told them that we were preparing a feast , to dine with them . To our surprise , they divulged that two of them were born on that very day . In the middle of our joyful feast that night , R , one of the birthday boys , suddenly stopped to make a speech . “ Never in my life has anyone done this for me . No one has ever bought so much food , and spread it out like a feast to celebrate my birthday before . You truly are MY FAMILY and I thank you .”
Since R comes from a different culture , it meant a lot for us to hear that he embraced us as his kin . The acts of making him feel important , as well as spending relaxed family time together , were more than enough to transcend religious and cultural barriers and make him feel at home .
Besides fostering their sense of belonging in God ’ s family , we also teach our homeless friends that God is a loving , responsible and protective Father who can heal the deepest wounds of their hearts . We help them walk through the pain of wounds inflicted by their parents , siblings , spouses , children and enemies who had wronged them . Those wounds are often the root cause of many unwise decisions and unfortunate consequences suffered by the homeless .
We worked with another homeless man , A , for seven years . At first , he appeared to be mentally unsound as we spent long hours listening to his incoherent stories and problems . It was excruciating but we chose to be a safe place for him to share . The more A verbalised his thoughts , the more we realised that he was not demented . In fact , it was his extreme anxiety and hopelessness that caused this seemingly irrational behaviour .
Instead of listening intently to him as a valued individual , many of us had written him off as being mentally unstable . What he really needed was a family with whom he could process his emotions and who would confront him with hard truths whenever he made mistakes . He was surprisingly receptive to us , even when we challenged him to busk for a living ! The world is craving for loving fatherhood that cares enough to bring gracious correction .
Today , God has empowered him to thrive in this new job . A ’ s newfound stability is amazing and he now entertains us with well-articulated stories from his life ! We find ourselves enjoying his company instead of dreading the hours .
The story continues to unfold . One day , A ’ s sister showed up at our door . We thought we were in trouble . Imagine our surprise when she said , “ I don ’ t know what you do here . We practise different religions , but my brother really respects and listens to you . I need your help to continue guiding him .” She invited us to her home and our friendship has grown since then . She has also opened her home to A for temporary refuge until he gets his HDB flat . This is our vision fulfilled : familial relationships of the homeless , restored .
We have also learnt the importance of relating to our homeless friends by being spiritual parents to them .
The homeless men we have met are either divorced , estranged from their children , or unable to commit to relationships . As we listened to their stories , we realised that many of them did not know how to be fathers , husbands , or sons . Hence , we intentionally modelled God ’ s fatherhood to them and challenged them to rise to their role as the protectors and leaders in their family .
On the other hand , many of the homeless women have been deprived of father figures and maternal comfort in their lives , leading them on a fruitless search for comfort and protection through toxic relationships .
One of our homeless ladies was celebrating her birthday , and our team felt that it was important for the men to demonstrate the way Christ laid down His life down for His bride ( Ephesians 5 ). This lady had been abused and rejected by numerous men in her family for over 50 years . That night , our Trolley brothers treated her like a queen – pulled out her chair , took her orders and served her food . This lady whispered to me , “ I noticed that on ( another brother ’ s ) birthday , the men sat with him . But today , on my birthday , the men are running around , serving me .” She was visibly touched . We saw so clearly that when a broken woman receives the love that Christ has for His bride , she is restored in hope , and in her feminine identity .
Despite all these moving encounters , one of our greatest turning points came from a negative experience . There was a terminally-ill uncle whom we housed for a year . During his stay with us , he needed to change many lifestyle habits in order to manage his health but he neglected to do so . Even though there were so many of us who cared for him , he chose to leave one day , without a word . No one was able to trace his whereabouts . We found out later that he had passed away shortly after .
God convicted us then , of the times we had focused on making these men and women happy and comfortable , simply because they were in pain . We had failed to ‘ parent ’ them as God our Father would , by setting them loving and life-giving boundaries to keep them safe . Through this valuable lesson , we are convinced of our role as spiritual parents , committed to love in a godly way and impart truth to those who need transformation .
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The Kingdom of God needs to be at work among us first, before the lost will see the difference. We learned to communicate well, respect and empower each other. The safe space that we shared amongst ourselves created a healing environment for those to whom we are reaching out to. How did this change impact our work with the homeless? Previously, we placed a lot of emphasis on alleviating their economic and physical problems, and even considered creating a shelter and advocating for better policies for them. But we realised that it was not the key breakthrough they needed. Homelessness is often rooted in multiple family issues and is the end-product of failed relationships, poor self-identity and unresolved parental wounds. Our first priority then, was to re-establish the entire ministry by introducing a God-oriented family culture into their lives. Many of the homeless say they have no family, and no home. But in God’s kingdom, everyone is valuable, and everyone has a place. God gave us a new slogan for our ministry, “Know Home, Know Family”, to reflect His desire to redeem the isolation that the homeless feel and give them a sense of belonging. We saw this happen in powerful ways this year. Once, our team prayed about what we should do during our weekly night visit to the streets. We received an impression of us sitting on cardboard, having dinner in the dark corridor where three uncles slept, along with the words, “Eat together as a family.” So we called, and told them that we were preparing a feast, to dine with them. To our surprise, they divulged that two of them were born on that very day. In the middle of our joyful feast that night, R, one of the birthday boys, suddenly stopped to make a speech. “Never in my life has anyone done this for me. No one has ever bought so much food, and spread it out like a feast to celebrate my birthday before. You truly are MY FAMILY and I thank you.” Since R comes from a different culture, it meant a lot for us to hear that he embraced us as his kin. The acts of making him feel important, as well as spending relaxed family time together, were more than enough to transcend religious and cultural barriers and make him feel at home. Besides fostering their sense of belonging in God’s family, we also teach our homeless friends that God is a loving, responsible and protective Father who can heal the deepest wounds of their hearts. We help them walk through the pain of wounds inflicted by their parents, siblings, spouses, children and enemies who had wronged them. Those wounds are often the root cause of many unwise decisions and unfortunate consequences suffered by the homeless. We worked with another homeless man, A, for seven years. At first, he appeared to be mentally unsound as we spent long hours listening to his incoherent stories and problems. It was excruciating but we chose to be a safe place for him to share. The more A verbalised his thoughts, the more we realised that he was not demented. In fact, it was his extreme anxiety and hopelessness that caused this seemingly irrational behaviour. Instead of listening intently to him as a valued individual, many of us had written him off as being mentally unstable. What he really needed was a family with whom he could process his emotions and who would confront him with hard truths whenever he made mistakes. He was surprisingly receptive to us, even when we challenged him to busk for a living! The world is craving for loving fatherhood that cares enough to bring gracious correction. Today, God has empowered him to thrive in this new job. A’s newfound stability is amazing and he now enter F2W2vFvV'F7VFVB7F&W2g&2ƖfRvRfBW'6VfW2Vr26琦7FVBbG&VFrFRW'2FR7F'6FVW2FVfBRF( 267FW"6vVBWBW"F"vPFVvBvRvW&RG&V&RvRW 7W'&6RvV6R6B( ĒF( BpvBRFW&RvR&7F6RFffW&V@&VƖv2'WBג'&FW"&Vǒ&W7V7G0BƗ7FV2FRVVBW"VF6FVRwVFr( 6RfFVBW2FW"RBW"g&VG62w&v66RFV6R26VVBW RFf"FV&'&VgVvRVFRvWG22D"fBF22W"f6gVfVCf֖Ɩ&VF62bFPVW72&W7F&VBvRfR6V&BFR'F6R`&VFrFW"VW72g&VG2'&Vr7&GV&VG2FFVFRVW72VvRfRWB&RVFW Ff&6VBW7G&vVBg&FV"6G&V"V&RF6֗BF&VF620vRƗ7FVVBFFV"7F&W2vR&VƗ6V@FBbFVFBBrrF&RfFW'2W6&G2"62V6RvPFVFǒFVVBvN( 2fFW&@FFVB6VvVBFVF&6RFFV"&R2FR&FV7F'2BVFW'0FV"f֖ǒFRFW"BbFRVW70vVfR&VVFW&fVBbfFW fwW&W2BFW&6f'BFV ƗfW2VFrFVg'VFW726V&6f"6f'BB&FV7FF&VvF0&VF62RbW"VW72FW2v06VV'&FrW"&'FFBW"FVЦfVBFBBv2'FBf"FRVFFV7G&FRFRv6&7BBFvआ2ƖfRFvf"2'&FRWW62RF2GB&VV'W6VBB&VV7FV@'VW&W2VW"f֖ǒf"fW SV'2FBvBW"G&W'&FW'0G&VFVBW"ƖRVVV( 2VVBWBW 6"FW"&FW'2B6W'fVBW"fBF2Gv7W&VBFR( ĒF6V@FBFW"'&FW.( 2&'FFFRV6BvF'WBFFא&'FFFRV&R'Vr&VB6W'frR( 6Rv2f6&ǒFV6VBvP6r66V&ǒFBvV'&Vv&V6VfW2FRfRFB6&7B2f"0'&FR6R2&W7F&VBRBW fV֖RFVFGFW7FRFW6RfrV6VFW'2RbW"w&VFW7BGW&rG26Pg&VvFfRWW&V6RFW&Rv2FW&֖ǒ֖V6RvvRW6VBf V"GW&r27FvFW2RVVFV@F6vRƖfW7GR&G2&FW FvR2VF'WBRVvV7FVBFF6WfVFVvFW&RvW&R6`W2v6&VBf"R66RFVfPRFvFWBv&BRv2&PFG&6R2vW&V&WG2vRfVBW@FW"FBRB76VBv6'FǐgFW"vB6f7FVBW2FVbFRFW2vPBf7W6VBrFW6RV@vVB6f'F&R6ǐ&V6W6RFWvW&RvRBfV@F( &VN( FV2vBW"fFW"vVB'6WGFrFVfrBƖfRvfp&VF&W2FVWFV6fRF&VvF2fV&RW76vR&R6f6VB`W"&R27&GV&VG26֗GFV@FfRvFǒvB'BG'WFFF6RvVVBG&6f&F0