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Lessons from 11 days of homelessness
Three years ago, on a date like yesterday, one day after President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that Covid-19 had put its germy tentacles in Kenya, I became homeless. My former landlady, Mama Ken, put an extra padlock on my door due to rent arrears.
I was homeless for 11 days. For 11 days, I was at my wits’ end. At one point, I thought I was losing my mind. Fortunately, kind-hearted folks helped me regain my footing. Y’all know yourselves. Thanks a million.
During my time of homelessness, I used to attend morning glory services in a church near where I spent the night. None of the worshippers cared to ask me what I was going through. Or, perhaps, the Holy Spirit spoke to them about my situation, but they ignored. God speaks. I do not think I could go to the house of God, with an honest need, and He would not speak to a saint to offer me even breakfast.
When God spoke to saints and they did not obey, He spoke to me. Loud and clear. God put in my spirit what I called, Hyssop House. This is a space in a church where homeless people can take a bath, wash their clothes, polish their shoes and, generally, freshen up for the day. During my homelessness, I realised there are folks I called, “transitional homeless”.
“Transitional homeless” are people who are temporarily homeless because their house has a “double padlock”. They have been evicted and are getting their money and their act together to rent a new house. These are people who are employed or run a business, and will get back on their feet pretty soon. Or they have been chased away from where they used to live.
“Transitional homeless” need support of a Hyssop House; a place where they can clean their clothes and bodies, and their spirits can be cleaned by shepherds. If they can get a hot breakfast to start the day, the better.
The challenges of those who permanently or perennially homeless can also be addressed by a Hyssop House. If all souls are valuable to God, and He desires that none should be lost, then we should give them a chance at this redemptive and restorative power we are so passionate about. And, while we are at it; what would Jesus do?
Most church buildings are operational once or twice a week. Why not come up with a way to turn them into shelters, instead of letting such prime space to go to waste? Why not turn your empty halls into Hyssop Houses? Why not use Hyssop House as a form of ministry to underprivileged souls who are perennially homeless?
After my homelessness, I spoke with several homeless persons in an informal settlement.
They told me they slept on wooden benches in a shebeen. The irony was that the shebeen was next to several churches, which kept their doors shut to homeless people who wanted a drink of water. Yet, each Sunday, they would urge sinners to come and drink living waters.
Hyssop House is a simple and free idea that can be implemented by any church that’s willing to take this cause. Churches can form a team to assess the needs in their community – church and at large - then come up with ways to implement Hyssop House to address their specific needs.
Y’all take Hyssop House and run the good race of faith with it. To whomever much is given – privilege or pain - much is required. I was given much pain for 11 days. It was required of me to share that which I was given for redemptive and restorative purposes.