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Feed My Sheep

“Feed My Sheep” started my first few weeks at The Way. I was assigned to clean out the fridge on Saturday, so I did. As I began to put some food in the trash, I was deeply convicted and knew that there were many people on the streets of Huntsville hungry…not just for food, but for the Gospel.

I knew a warm plate of food would allow me to witness for Christ. I knew this because it was just a few years ago when I was homeless and desperate for change. The next Saturday, I packed up a few plates of food (5). Carson and I stopped on Evangel Drive, and handed people the plates. We prayed for a few minutes and went about our day. I thought nothing of it until the next Saturday when one of the men we served asked us to bring more, and he would invite others to come. So I did.

It grew every week. From just a few plates on Saturday, it grew to 40 to 60 people every Saturday. We try to help as many people as possible. Without the help of other residents, as well as volunteers from local churches, this could not be accomplished every Saturday.

Also, we have recently been able to give out tons of winter coats, socks, sleeping bags, and warm blankets thanks to The Saving Way. We have been able to baptize two people into Christ, and help one get into Teen Challenge (another recovery program). It’s not always easy and exciting early in the mornings, but we go to show what Christ can do while giving all the glory to God.

Here’s how it works on a Saturday at The Way:

5:00  Wake Up! All the food is warmed up at The Way, and placed in boxes donated by The Manna House. We set up an assembly line to wash dishes, pack food, and sort clothes.

6:30  The entire team of Way residents and local volunteers meets at Starbucks for coffee and prayer.

7:00  I share a quick devotion. Then, we put together our plan for the morning. We distribute food to people coming out of the Rescue Mission, as well as those in “tent city”.

John 21:17-18 (Feed My Sheep)

Emanuel Estrada

The Courage To Be A Coward

I had the blessing of having parents of a 14 year old young man bring their son to me because of their concern of the wrong choices he appears to be making.  I praised these parents for their alarmed response to early signs of bad decisions.  Most of the men at The Way began their bad decision making around the ages of 13 and 14 which led them down the path of addiction.  Oh, if only more parents would respond with such alarm.

We have actually begun an outreach led by one of our graduate residents to young teen groups.  He schedules speaking opportunities with various youth programs at churches and in the community.  Many of the men of The Way share a passion to reach the 13 and 14 year olds who are beginning to make the decisions that could lead to a life of bondage to drugs and alcohol.  By sharing their personal stories and urging different decisions, they are hoping to intervene before the damage is done.

The 14 year old that was in my office had been disciplined at school for truancy as he made plans to run away from home.  He claimed that some friends had hatched a plan to go to an undisclosed trailer, and that one of his friends said that he had money saved for them to live on.  There was no evidence of any of these facts, but in order to fit in and be cool, he had joined the effort.  Besides things at home weren’t that great and he wanted to try it on his own.

But after working on the plan with his friends for most of the day, he eventually got scared and tried to slip back into school towards the end of the day.  It was then that he was caught by the school officials and his parents were notified.

After having praised his parents for taking such decisive and firm action, I praised him for the courage it took to face his fears and break with his friends.  For a young man of 14 years old, nothing is more important than being respected and admired by one’s peers.  The fact that he chose to be viewed a coward by his primary audience in order to do what seemed a better plan is most commendable.

After they left my office, I reflected on all the bad decisions I had made in my life because I was trying to impress people who for the most part I can’t even remember any more.  If only I had courageously chosen to do what is right in the face of rejection.  It occurred to me that it takes a lot of courage to be willing to be viewed a coward.

But I dare say most great leaders had to face the choice of not being popular in order to do what is right.  I’m glad to know at least one young man and his parents who are choosing the same.

Tom Reynolds