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Breaking Free (Part 3)

September 5, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s been a month now since I posted Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog. In case you didn’t read those entries or can’t remember, here is a recap: Approximately two months ago, I made a decision to get rid of 70% to 90% of my possessions. In part two, I posted photos of the “To Give Away”, “To Keep”, and “To Sort” piles. I also mentioned that I had my cell phone temporarily turned off so that I could fast from my “Everything” plan.

Now that you are caught up, here is the latest.

As indicated previously, I kept my phone off for only one week, but I downgraded my plan to just allow for a limited number of calling minutes and text messages. I no longer have a data plan which means no more Facebook, GPS, email, Dodger games, etc. on my phone. I am still having withdrawals but it is definitely for the better. My kids certainly have benefited from it. During a trip to a theme park when I still had the “Everything” plan, I was checking the status of the Dodger game every 10 minutes! It was difficult for me to make the right decision but it proved even more difficult to act it out. My cell phone service provider does not allow people with fancy phones like mine to downgrade their plans online. They expect us to use the data plans. So, I had to call them. That didn’t work out so well either because they kept having “computer problems”. My call even got mysteriously disconnected once before they were able to downgrade me! In any case, it’s all done now.

Regarding the three piles, the “To Sort” pile is long gone. I now have a “To Keep” pile that is two to three boxes bigger than before, and there are only a handful of items in the “To Give Away” pile that I still need to give away. Most of the boxes went to the Salvation Army, but several bigger items went to even better use. A friend of mine needed a computer so she got my old Mac. Even better than that, though, is that the same week that I sorted most of this stuff out, a homeless couple I know acquired a new home and needed to fill it. Having been homeless for several years, they had almost nothing. Now they have my old TV stand, one of my desks, some of my old DVDs and books, a lot of my kitchenware, and lots of other things! A friend of mine helped me deliver my stuff plus some of her own things that she no longer needed. I must say that there aren’t many joys greater than the one you experience when you show up with a truck full of goodies in the middle of the projects in Watts. We felt a bit like Saint Nicholas or something!

Before writing this blog entry, I dropped all of the remaining “Give Away” boxes at the Goodwill. Before I loaded them into my car, I double checked them. Although I don’t think it to be completely horrible, I am at little dismayed that I pulled some things back out of these boxes so that I can keep them. I have been wrestling with this question: “Me and my possessions, who owns who?”

Be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 of this Blog too.

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Can’t Let Go [**]

July 20, 2009 Leave a comment
Cant Let GoFor those that don’t already know, I spend most Thursdays on the streets of Hollywood from 11pm until roughly 2am. I am a member of a group of young people from all over L.A. and Orange counties who have a passion for helping mend the hurting and broken lives all around us. The particular area that we focus on probably has several nicknames but the one I heard when I was first introduced to the ministry was “Boy Town”. It’s called this because this is one of many areas in L.A. where runaway boys (as young as 12, perhaps younger) seem to make their way to. Here they find other young (and old) men who have nowhere else to call home. They sleep on the sidewalks, in 24-hour donut shops, behind and in trash cans, in other people’s homes, and in hotels. 

These last two places (homes and hotels) are interesting because these boys, most of them anyway, have never learned a trade. Very few have finished high school. Some haven’t even finished elementary school. They are victims of physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. They have been through foster homes, group homes, prisons, and more. They have not only seen the dark side of America, they have lived and are still living in it. …So what do most of them do in order to afford food and lodging? They prostitute themselves. Furthermore, over time, these “boys” become more and more like “girls”. They cover all areas of the spectrum, from wearing a little mascara or walking a certain way all the way to having body parts added and removed. The bulk of our team’s ministry is simply being (hanging out) with these people and letting them know that they are loved, by the creator of the Universe and our small group of, relatively speaking, wealthy young people. We do pray with them, feed and clothe them, discuss the Bible, and even have church services in a parking lot near a 7-11. But if all we do on a given night is listen to and sympathize with someone as they share a heartbreaking story about how their parents kicked them out of the family because they were gay, then we have had a fruitful night. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is just be with them. Read more…