Outreach Job Description

job-descriptionLooking back at my time spent at Emmaus Ministries this summer, my experiences on Outreach stand out the most. I loved working in the Ministry Center, but I found that I was most comfortable walking the streets with an Outreach partner.

People generally responded really well to me. Caleb says it’s because I’m 100% myself 100% of the time. I say it’s because I naturally attract crazy. (Naturally, I like his explanation better.)

Here are just a handful of the crazy, significant, and life-changing moments I packed into 10 weeks at Emmaus.

  • I helped a drunk man who’d literally shot himself in the foot the day before walk to a bench so he could sit down.
  • I got to know several members of the G’s—a local gang—who gave me a detailed tutorial on the dozens of gangs in Chicago.
  • I struck up a friendship with a notorious Boystown drug dealer (who was a surprisingly nice guy).
  • I embraced men who were soaked in urine and caked with dirt.
  • I cried with men as they told me their unimaginably painful life stories.
  • I cried when one of our men refused to go home after living on the streets for over a week, and I celebrated when a man handed me his bottles of booze and got on the CTA to head in for the night.
  • The strangest thing, though, was how rarely I actually felt unsafe or threatened. God gave me the courage to sow love on the streets of Chicago rather than fear, and I reaped a harvest of gratitude and affection.

    I also learned some important lessons.

  • The more you genuinely try to love people, the more they want to love you back.
  • I cannot change anyone, but I can have an impact on their lives.
  • There is real power in waiting and listening, especially in the midst of a life of movement and unnecessary chatter.
  • Just as I wait lovingly for the men of Emmaus to desire help and change, so the Lord lovingly waits for me, and does not push his grace or freedom on me.
  • I learned volumes about myself and the tender way the Lord loves me.
  • Finally, I discovered a job description for what we do on Outreach. Caleb and I spent several nights trying to figure out what an appropriate Outreach job description would be. I think the one we came up with sums it up quite nicely.

    Outreach is where we lurk around at night, avoiding policemen and offering men snacks as we ask them questions about God and talk about their sex lives. I mean, when you put it like that, what else could I possibly want to be doing?

    The past 10 weeks have been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I am speechless at God’s grace in allowing me to work here this summer.

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