Seattle: Conversation in the Giving Room

Through working in the food bank at Epic Life Church in Seattle, Student Missionary Calvin McDaniel is able to show the love of Christ to homeless men like Mike.

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This is Mike. I met him through the food bank at Epic Life Church in Seattle, where I am serving. It completely took me by surprise how much he could talk.

We call the food bank “The Giving Room,” and that’s where I learned more about the community around the church. There are a huge number of homeless people living in Seattle. You see it as soon as you enter Seattle arriving in on Interstate-5. People from other cities even pay bus fare for the homeless to come here. For me, that was an unexpected fact. 

I honestly wasn’t too keen on the idea of talking to Mike at first, but I felt the Holy Spirit push that direction because of the flow of people in the room and who was talking to whom. I sat down with him, and the introductions began.

We talked a little about his family life, and he told me about losing his mother a few years back and how he often visits her tombstone in the cemetery downtown. That’s where he has many conversations with God and his mother. Through the conversation, I learned Mike is a believer, but I also see Seattle has had some effects on him spiritually and physically. He became homeless because of the hardships on his life from not having his dad around and being able to bond more with the people on the streets. He abused a lot of things in his life. So, his choices had an impact on his current position in life. Before continuing on, his name was called to go claim his food for the week. I asked him if he cared if I took his picture outside after he received his food. He joyfully obliged. I took his picture and was able to communicate more with him about what he thought about the homeless problem here in Seattle.

As it turns out, he was quite the spokesperson for the problem. He said one the reasons is the city’s lack of honest care for the homeless. Living in Seattle, you can see the huge economic divide between the rich and the poor. You’ll see homeless on one side of the street and then on the other side, you’ll see people working at Microsoft or Amazon. Seattle is on the upper hand of living. That’s why caring for the homeless must become a ministry, not only provisionally, but lovingly as well. 

One thing that caught me off guard before Mike and I split ways was that he asked me to pray for the homeless in Seattle. He asked if would pray he would be able to find housing soon for him and his partner. Yes, his partner.

There are a couple of things to take away from this story. You never know who God will lead you to, and you never know what you will learn from them. God calls us in the moment, the Spirit beckons us towards people and we should listen. God has a plan, a purpose for those who are listening.

I was able to meet Mike and encourage him. God has a plan for Mike, and I was just a small piece in that plan. But that is only because of the Spirit’s beckoning and my willingness to listen. Wherever you are, I encourage you to be present in the moment, because God is present, and God is calling. 

Calvin McDaniel, a student at Wayland Baptist University, is serving in Seattle, Wash., with Go Now Missions.

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