With two dollars in pocket and five of my group members beside me, we set out at 8:30 am toward San Francisco. For six hours we were to simulate what it would be like to be an immigrant family wandering the streets, finding a place to sleep, and somehow put a meal together for only two dollars.
It was a day full of walking and getting rejected as we constantly asked for help and guidance from people with which we shared the sidewalk. After walking about twenty blocks to find a restroom that was free to use (a surprisingly difficult task), we found an area that was occupied with homeless men and women. My group dispersed to go find someone that would direct us to a cheap place to eat and where they slept at night.
Instantly I spotted a young guy. I went over to him and introduced myself to him. At first he introduced himself as Mike. We engaged in small talk then told him what I and my group was doing for a day. I told him about the two dollars I had and the need for a place to stay at night. After telling him the situation he reached into his bag and gave me a bag with his last little bit of cereal.
Trusting me now, he then stretched out his hand and said his name was Aaron* and that he was 23. He continued to tell me that he had been homeless for two years. I immediately got a sick feeling in my stomach. Aaron and I had the same interest in sports and movies. We liked similar music and loved watching the playoffs. We were so similar, yet we lived very different lives. He dressed like a homeless person, and I clothed myself with a v-neck from express. We faced very different circumstances which resulted in very different lifestyle choices.
Nonetheless, I realize that, though we are different, I can say I saw God in the action of the cereal bearing man that looked slightly like a small grizzly bear. In his generosity, I saw that God truly does work through the least of these. May we pray that God blesses and reveals to Aaron His true identity - a frame to the face of Jesus.
- Blake, CSM Summer 2012 San Francisco Bay Area City Host
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*Name has been changed for privacy