by Doug Van Ramshorst, Former Outreach Director
This piece was originally written for a March 2014 Emmaus publication.
There are so many things that you can only experience on Outreach. One night I saw a guy juggling fire to the left of me while another guy came up on my right and tried to sell me meat out of a TJ Maxx shopping cart. I have had snowball fights with drug dealers. My beard has frozen solid more than once. On two separate occasions, I have seen someone who was thought for years to be dead, walking around all casual-like. I have seen some crazy stuff, and I count it all as blessings.
The craziest thing I experience happens every night. I see white, middle-class, suburban, nineteen-year-old Moody Bible Institute students talking to drug-addicted, prostituting, homeless ex-cons like they grew up together. Discussing video games, food, books, and TV shows. Laughing so hard that they spit out their coffee. Encouraging each other. Praying for each other.
These moments are the biggest reason that I keep going out, night after night.
Over the years, I have found that when I tell people about volunteering with Emmaus, they think it sounds like either a great adventure or a terrifying experience. If you fall into the “great adventure” category and you have one night a week to spare, let us know. We may have a spot for you out on the streets, where you, too, can buy unrefrigerated meat out of a shopping cart.