The Little Things of Fall Outreach

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We bundle up and watch as the crowded streets become sparser, with the temperature dropping fast. Outreach is getting colder, and contacts’ requests for snacks change from sodas and slushies to coffee and hot chocolate. It’s quieter now, and I like it that way. With fewer distractions, our conversations seem to grow longer. The men that are out now are out because they have to be.

Our outreach team spent over an hour listening to Adam rant (gleefully) about the Bears’ mishaps, and praise the success of his favorite sports teams. By the time we had exhausted our sports small talk, the mood was light and positive, and Adam was very open to answering questions. For some of our team it was the first time meeting him. We learned a lot about what he has been going through lately, and the strength he has shown to get through hardships and stay motivated. He misses his twin daughters, who he hasn’t seen in years because their mother didn’t want him around; and his dad died just a few weeks ago. His bipolar disorder is what usually gets him in trouble—when his “evil twin” comes out, the world becomes his enemy. He recently started seeing a psychiatrist and taking meds, both of which have been hard, but helpful.

We listened to Adam float between serious and light-hearted conversation, trying to encourage him as he travels over a particularly bumpy stretch in his life. In return, he blessed us with a night of laughter and wisdom gleaned from his experiences. We asked him how he keeps going; he just shrugged and said that he has God on his side. When we put him on the train he asked us to pray for him. We all huddled up and prayed for as much of his situation as we could remember. He smiled, and we all said our see-you-laters.

I know Chicago winter is crazy, but I love the cold. It brings out the worst… and the best in people. Such a simple night, but so many little blessings. I love the little things, and winter outreach is full of them. Looks like a long winter ahead, full of opportunities—sounds perfect!

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Emmaus Ministries
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Chicago IL 60618

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