A Different Lens


“Do you care if I hang out with you tonight?” asked Steven.

A Chicago native in his early twenties, Steven has become a tourist of sorts. He’s started visiting different bars in unfamiliar neighborhoods to experience new cultures. Heather and I, sipping our fresh cups of tea outside the Circle K gas station, were the first people he met in Boystown.

After we exchanged names, Heather and I explained that we were working, and that our job is to talk to people in need in parking lots and street corners. Steven was intrigued, and asked if he could stick with us for the night.

We soon ran into Patricia; we chatted with her a bit and offered to buy her food. About an hour later, we got an update from John on the book he is writing about his life. Later, Chris spoke with us about Easter. Then Jevon asked both Heather and me to be his girlfriend. We said yes! (Just kidding, Mom.)

We also met a young man named Art who, on this chilly evening, only had a t-shirt on. Art’s partner had recently broken up with him. He told us that he had recently had a mild stroke, but did not go to the hospital. When we asked why, he explained that he did not want to live. All he was living for was to find another cigarette.

Heather and I did what we could. We listened to Art and prayed for him. We gave him a map to the Center and encouraged him to come.

Near the end of the night, as we often do, Heather and I sat down at a stoop and processed the night’s events. Steven came with us.

“I never stop to talk to these people,” he said. “I tend to ignore them. But being out here with you was cool. I saw everyone through a different lens. I heard their stories and saw that you care for them.”

Steven saw Heather a few days later and told her that that evening had been life-changing.

Emmaus can do that to you. I’ve been here less than a year and can already see that I have been changed by this experience. This has been a year of healing, mercy, community, and God’s provision.

While I am thankful for the ways God has shaped my life this year, it was a blessing to be reminded of the impact of our work on people like Steven. He may not know it, but he saw Boystown through the eyes of Jesus and was changed because of that experience.

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To provide Christ-centered support to men seeking to escape survival prostitution and embrace a life of health and wholeness.


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