Charles Gilbert, currently homeless, serves faithfully as a “shopper”

One of the ways that OurCalling creates an environment for personal relationships is through our weekly volunteer program. Charles Gilbert, currently homeless, serves faithfully as a “shopper” in the OurCalling warehouse, where he takes clothing & hygiene request forms (filled out by our homeless guests) and shops our donation-filled aisles to find articles of clothing or miscellaneous items to meet the personal needs of men and women who visit us. In his own words . . . .

“Once I introduce myself to someone who has filled out a warehouse request form, I go over the list with them, then ask them if they have any prayer needs. Often I get to pray with people, which creates a terrific opportunity to share the gospel. I tell people ‘I know Someone who loves you so much that He gave His life for you – and I want you to know Him like I do. His name is Jesus.’”

“Because of my proximity to OC, I have many opportunities to share the gospel with people – even when I’m away from the warehouse and café. Because I spend a lot of time with OurCalling, I can share authentically with others (since I am currently in need of the support and encouragement they provide). That’s one good thing that has come from being homeless! I have a real context for the gospel in my life, and many opportunities to share the hope of Jesus with others. I love to tell others of all the practical help that I receive from OurCalling – help with food and clothing, rides to appointments around Dallas, etc.. But really, I love to tell others about the rich teaching and discipleship that I receive at OurCalling. Much of that comes from serving. That’s the real food – and it really fills me.”

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No good medical advice

A man visits the doctor and complains about his stomach. “every time I eat spicy food, I have incredible pain”. The doctor says “Don’t eat spicy food”.

Another man visits the doctor and complains about a fungus on his skin. The doctor says “you must take a shower every day and then put on this cream.”

Another man visits the doctor and complains about a persistent cough. The doctor tells him “take cough medicine”. The man replies, “I can’t afford it”. The doctor then says “take a teaspoon of honey with a few drops of lemon”. The man replies, “I can’t afford honey”.

Poverty limits your menu, your hygiene, and even the availability of simple home remedies.
Today we have been working in Tel Aviv, Israel with Sudanese refugees. These people have fled from their war-torn country to seek refuge in the land of milk and honey. However, Israel is not very welcoming. There is no welfare system, social services or support for illegal aliens. The socialized healthcare system turns a blind eye to foreigners without a visa.

  • How is a man supposed to eat better food when he has no options but what he finds on the streets?
  • How is he supposed to remain healthy if he cannot take a shower or has no access to basic hygiene?
  • How is he supposed to take care of himself and keep from being a burden to society when no one cares about his well-being?

What advice is a doctor to give? If the doctor tells the man to eat better, how is this possible? If the doctor recommends a shower or keeping your wound clean, how can this be accomplished?
The body of Christ needs to acknowledge that the gospel to the poor must include humanitarian aid. We cannot pass out tracks and Bibles to the poor without a meal to ease their hunger pains. On the same topic, humanitarian aid without the gospel is no aid at all. As one of my seminary professors said, “it’s something, but it’s not Christian”.
Service to the poor needs to be contextual. Caregivers need to recognize who they are attempting to care for and respect them enough to do their homework.
This problem isn’t limited to foreign missions. In Dallas we have hospitals who write prescriptions for the homeless who don’t have the means to pay for the medicine. The ER will give a referral to a man to visit a doctor who he will never be able to see because of the lack of transportation. Or my personal favorite, the psych hospital that will kick an addict to the street after one night with a list of rehabilitation centers that they can walk to(which are probably full or won’t take them without insurance).

This isn’t rocket science, it’s poverty. The first world country should make some efforts for its third world citizens.

On a side note (and I’m not trying to get political -but) the US healthcare system has many critics. However any man, woman or child from any country in the world can walk into any hospital in the US and get treated. I work with the homeless and they too complain about our healthcare system. But none of them are denied entrance to an ER. All can get free prescriptions in Dallas if they go to Parkland. All can get free psych meds at Metrocare or Lifenet. All can get good healthcare.

Now I can’t afford my own medications or dental care. Something is wrong, but many things are right. I’m just sayin’…



Back To Jerusalem 2012, Monday Evening Conference Session

It’s 11:15pm as I type this in our room at Ramada Jerusalem. We finished up the evening session a little over an hour ago and I’m finding it difficult to put into words the charge given to us participants of BTJ2012 by Pastor Dikran Salbashian (a pastor of a church in Jordan). So I will just retype my notes. I sincerely hope you can read into my words the passion and fire with which Pastor Dikran spoke:

Matthew 9:35-10:1
Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And He healed every kind of disease and illness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into his fields.” Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. (Matthew 9:35-10:1 NLT)

Why did Jesus have such an active ministry?
1. He had compassion for people.
- when we see people with the eyes of Christ, we can do more and more things for the Lord (vs 35-36).
2. He always saw harvest everywhere He went (vs 37).
- what do I see when I look at people? Do I see a person who needs the Lord?
3. Jesus prayed for more workers (vs 38).
- for what do I pray? For God to bless me and my family? Or do I also pray for people’s salvation? Am I praying for specific people groups around the globe?
4. Jesus sent people into the harvest (verse 1)
- Jesus talked about the harvest, told them to pray for the harvest, then sent the disciples into the harvest
- if you want the harvest, you have to sow!
5. We need the power of the Holy Spirit. (vs 1)
- Jesus gave His disciples the power to do all manner of things
- the Holy Spirit must guide and direct. He will give us the strength and power to do God’s work.

This topic made me think of people I know all over the world. Friends and strangers alike in difficult countries; friends and strangers alike who do not know the Lord (one in particular who lives in Saudi Arabia whom I’ve know since college!). How often do I pray for them? How often to I beg the Lord to draw people to Himself? Just exactly how low are my expectations of God? Do I not ask because I think He will not answer? Am I just lazy? Just a few of my thoughts from the evening session…

Sitting in Aroma

We are sitting in the equivalent of Starbucks in Israel. It’s called “Aroma” and they give you a small bar of chocolate with your coffee.
We are all really tired. We stayed in someone’s guest room last night. There is no air conditioning and no airflow in our room. All six of us are piled in there and we are having a blast. We are still acclimating to the time change.
This morning Noah and I went to fetch breakfast. We walked about a mile to a small bakery. We didn’t know what we were ordering, or even how much it would cost. It was a fun adventure and everyone liked the food. (there not much room or use in complaining)


Richard’s Story


This picture was taken about a week after we found Richard living in the woods.

Sometimes our Search and Rescue teams find the most amazing people with stories that would break your heart, but we didn’t actually find Richard. He called out for us.
One of our teams was serving in the woods behind a car dealership near Shiloh and I635. They had distributed some food items, hygiene, provided first-aid and had finished praying with people they had just found. From deep in the woods they heard a faint cry, asking “Would someone please pray for me?”
Richard started drinking when he was nineteen years old. He, like many addicts, drank to dull the pain in his life. He was self medicating with alcohol – and a lot of it. At the age of 55, he was finally ready to quit.
With a determination to “leave no man behind” our Search and Rescue teams go to any length to find people and offer them a chance for life change. We recognize that we can’t change someone’s life. We do not possess a secret formula or special recipe for change. Even though we carry the name “Search and Rescue” the reality is that we can’t rescue anyone. However, we know who can. God has provided a rescue to man through the life of His Son. Jesus Christ is called the “Savior” because He alone has the power to save us from our sin. Only Jesus can save us from an addiction, from the depravity of sin and only He can rescue us. At OurCalling, our job is to make the introduction between the one who needs to be rescued and the One who saves.
Richard stopped drinking alcohol two years ago. He will quickly tell you that it wasn’t “will-power”, “won’t-power” or his own power that broke the chains of alcoholism. Richard proudly admits “Jesus took away my addiction. He took it away.”

Now an employee at OurCalling, Richard is not homeless anymore!

Now an employee at OurCalling, Richard is not homeless anymore!

Addiction and dysfunction don’t happen overnight and the process to recovery is a long road. Richard, like many others at OurCalling, are learning day after day how to rely on the power of God to learn a new way to live. Richard is becoming the man God wants him to be.


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