Williamsburg's Homeless & Indigent

P.O. Box 366, Lightfoot, VA 23090
Office: 757-561-3255
"Assisting people in re-gaining hope and a better way of life."

Sunday, April 25, 2004


Once again a little birdie wanted me to put a bug in your ear about next year! Accept to be the head of SHARPE! You would be great, I have total confindence in you. You have learned so much about homelessness, especially here in Williamsburg. And, better yet, the guys trust you. You always come as a friend and interact with them, just as they are. That is a big plus in gaining their trust. That, my little sister, is the key in life and relationships. Besides, you have gained so much knowledge about people in general, that I think you would be the best yet SHARPE leader!

I miss my little sis and can't wait for her to come back into the States! Unfortunately, I don't think we will be coming to Brazil in the summer. Too much to do around here! PS Remember, I like silver (hint hint)

Herbert and Galatians 5:12-24

I would they were even cut off which trouble you. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Awhile back I briefly mentioned a man who was staying with us named Herbert. Herbert was brought to us by his cousin, who is also a police officer here. Herbert needed a chance: away from his 'friends', away from his past, away from his habits, but most a new way to God. Herbert is a very sickly 63 yr. old man who has a hard time walking, seizures, the onset of Parkinson and came with many bottles of meds. A few years back he had a tracheotomy, so he can hardly talk. While his cousin was trying to get him into an assisted living home, they needed a place where somebody would be around the majority of time, unlike a police officer's schedule.

The first few nights were fine. Herbert wanted to come for our Bible Studies, go to church and have daily devotions. He had such a thirst, but for what, we thought it was for God. He would say "Don't let my friends know where I am!" A couple of days he wanted to walk, so we would drop him off downtown for an hour. Usually on Sundays, the church van would pick him up and drop him off later that afternoon. Last Sunday, the church van picked him up, so I assumed he was going to church. Unfortunately, late that afternoon, Herbert wasn't back. I called his cousin to see if he was out with people at church. His cousin called around and found out Herbert wanted to go downtown instead of church. Nobody knew where he was and he had already missed 2 doses of his meds. Monday morning we called around to see if he was in the hospital or even arrested...no. So his cousin said he would go look for him (I have had pneumonia for the past 12 days and shouldn't be out of bed.) I told him to go to the Southern Inn, where the majority of the drinkers hang out. Yup, there he was! His cousin, so frustrated, ended up leaving; but shortly after, he heard dispatch call for an ambulance. Herbert, without his meds for 2 days know, 'fell out.' His cousin went to the hospital for the rest of the afternoon but couldn't stay any longer. Herbert was told to take the bus back to our house if he was released. The hospital called me to let me know he was released and gonna ride the bus. By night time, no Herbert so my husband went out looking for him.

The next day, I woke up so sick, a temp of 101.8 and my chest felt as if my pregnant puppy was laying on it. But, my time and God's time are different. He said "Go to Herbert and offer My Word. If he accepts it, bring him back." Ugh, I felt miserable, but who am I to deny God's commands? It took several hours before I had the strength to go. I didn't see Herbert at the Southern Inn. I did run into a couple of the guys hanging out at Food Lion so I asked them where he was. "We take care of our own. He is fine. He is in my room with some of the other guys" claimed one of fixtures on the bench. "Oh, so he is ok? That is why he had to go to the hospital. That is why he has several bottles of meds I have to give daily doses to him. Did you know to give him alcohol while he is taking Dilantin can kill him?" I questioned. So I started down the path to the motel. There, Herbert came out of one of the rooms. Several guys around him, as if to keep him under guard. As soon as he saw me, he smiled and started crying "I want to come home, please take me." I went to get my car to pull it down closer for him. As he was getting in, the guys said "Make sure she gets you some batteries for your radio." Oh as if that was a huge need at the moment. I told them, after a lecture of 'taking care of your own, "I think his meds and some food are a little more important than batteries right now!" The guys are use to my 'lectures' and not to say they blow them off, but mostly they know I won't take their crap.

After giving a ride to a man and his son, who live on the outskirts of town, and had several bags of groceries, I started talking with Herbert. No I wasn't mad, but concerned. His cousin and I decided he could no longer go downtown unsupervised. The next it happened, he would stay. I explained how God knows, even as Christians, we stumble as in Galatians 5, but He wants us and gives us the strength to fight against the desires of the flesh. Those downtown he use to hang out with have not yet accepted God and Satan tries through them to pull people away. He agreed, for the moment.

Yesterday he was getting antsy. I called his cousin and he talked with him and told him "If you choose to go downtown to be with them then you have decided to stay. You are a grown man and can make your decisions, but quit doing this to Patti and Geoff. They are sick and don't need to be hunting you down." Herbert said no he just wanted to go for a walk, not to drink. I told him if he wasn't back by dark, then we would not be coming for him; he would have made his decision. Several hours later, a friend from the past called to tell me "Herbert was down there and was drinking. He wanted me to pick him up." I explained "I would not enable him by coming down for him so he could go out again another day to drink. His decision was made and until he gets right with God and the drunkenness, he had to accept the consequences of his actions."

This morning, as usual, the church van pulled up for Herbert. Geoff explained he was no longer here and made his decision. They could find him at Southern Inn, if they wanted to pick him up.

Saturday, April 17, 2004


Dear Praying Church Friends, and Family:

I want to thank you for praying for Ray and Elizabeth. Several things have happened to let these people know that God cares, and that people are praying for them, and are truly concerned.
Among other things, Ray was given thirty-some hours of day labor (work) this passed week and paid. Friday, he and she were graciously given an opportunity to have meaningful work beginning Monday. Pray they will seize the opportunity, and make the most of it. Good jobs with oportunity to advance are scarce as hens teeth.
God has been faithful and has involved himself in their lives. He has provided people who are compassionate toward the poor and to be obedient to what they felt the Holy Spirit was telling them to do. He has raised up many people, in and out of our church to pray for them.
Most of the immediate needs of Ray and Elizabeth have been met. The lights and the water will be turned on at least by Monday, if not before. A stove and refrigerator have been donated. These things will greatly help them. In the meanwhile, People have brought them plates of warm food, and drinking water, and kerosene, etc.
God has raised up a street wise woman, who has been in their situation, to help them and counsel them. I am exceedingly thankful for her. She knows the Lord. And she knows poverty. And she knows why people get into the messes they get themselves into, because she has lived it. She is managing the various monetary gifts which God's people from various churches have given, and is making sure funds are used right. She is controlling the distribution of them. No money is being directly given to the Harris's by her. She says this is not wise. However, she is making sure they have what they need, as they need it. Today she is taking them to a laundry where they can wash their clothes, and also taking them to a store where they can buy groceries.
A few years ago,God saved this special lady out of drug addiction, and lifted her out of poverty and sinful living, and now she helps those who are still in it. It is her ministry to minister to people like Ray and Elizabeth. She says that much of their situation is self induced. She is making them realize it, and deal honestly with it.
This woman, besides helping them practically, has been joined by another women every morning of this past week at 6 AM at their church, to pray for over Ray and Elizabeth. I am told she has spent hours in prayer for them. (I hear some of you have also.)
Ray and Elizabeth have a huge need to have the proper relationship with God, with each other, and with practical living priorities.
Each professes to be saved, but that does not mean they are. There is something missing in this picture. I sense it, and so, especially, does Alma.
I am not encouraging Ray and Elizabeth to come to our church. We are too far away from where they live to be of much help. Besides, Alma's church is better set up to help them and to deal with their particular needs. Theirs is a deliberately mixed congregation with a black associate minister. They are deliberately trying to help the poor and broken, and their children. They want to help Ray and Elizabeth. I am glad to release them to their care.
In the mean time, I am urging you, as I did before, to pray earnestly for Ray and Elizabeth: (1) That God will help them with the development of their inner man; salvation, sanctification, deliverance from debilitating habits and addictions, and restoration to meaningful living and purpose. (2) That they will not "blow" this financial opportunity to get on their feet...I know someone who is betting they will, he's seen their kind before. (3) That God will provide dependable transportation so they can get back and forth to work, and do their daily living independent of the help of others.
It is almost impossible to do anything without a car. I am thinking seriously about loaning them (Elizabeth has a drivers license, Ray doesn't) my dependable white "missionary car" until I get back from Germany.
I am very aware I could wind up with mud on my face. But if I do, I do. At least I will have tried to be a doer of the word and not a hearer only in a practical attempt to be a keeper of the perfect law of liberty. What little I have done, for these folk, I have done unto the Lord. The same can be said several of you.
May the Lord richly repay you for your interest in these people. May he cause his face to shine up on you, and heap blessings upon you for being mindful of people with broken lives. Thanks for praying. Keep it up.

Thursday, April 15, 2004


Email I received from Dad to a person who also pledged to help. The name the email was to has been omited:

Dear ___________

I counted your gift. I added it to another gift. They totalled $130. After church tonight, I talked with the woman from another church who helped "E" keep from committing suicide because she and her female friend (both Christians who love people as they are) came on Monday evening with warm food and drinking water and a caring concern; who later went to a station and bought kerosene for their little heater so they could be warm during Monday's cold night. I imagine the heater is being used tonight, too.

Vera had also been given money tonight, and so had her friend. Together with what they have gathered and your gift and the other gift, there is enough to turn on the water and the lights. Praise the Lord. Soon they will be able to have a bath once again, and cook and have warm meals. Vera's friend has donated an electric stove and a refrigerator to replace the ones they got rid of, fearing what would happen when the Sheriff came.

A knowledgeable real estate woman has involved herself with stopping the eviction process and the repossession of the house. She has worked with the Texas company that holds the mortgage on the house. God has raised her up to protect them and to give them peace of mind, because she knows the company well and how they operate.

A man offered each of them a job in the Greenville Sheet Metal company near Piedmont. I learned tonight they are going to take the jobs, and work together on the same shift. This will give them a long term decent income. It will save them from having to do a lot or extra driving to jobs. "R" will finish his 40 hour week Thursday. He will be paid Thursday evening. This will give them some operating money. I will take them Friday for interviews. They will start Monday morning. The great immediate need is dependable transportation, and insurance to cover the car. "E" has a driver's license. "R" lost his for some reason and will get his back later this year.

God is working in their behalf. Thanks for listening to his Spirit. A real miracle of healing is taking place. These people are being lifted up and believing in a God who hears and answers prayer. They are finding out he has some children who really care about others.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004


Another email from Dad today to give us an update. This was actually sent to family members all over.

May the outcome be the lifting of this family's spirit toward Christ and their
encouragement, and the family of God toward ministering outside of their "box".

Dear Family:

The above, your words, is exactly what is happening to "R" and his wife. They are being lifted. They are experiencing the Love of Jesus from people God has all over this town. An interesting story is unfolding. The God of the Universe is, indeed, in this picture. There are some very caring people in the community who are now involved, and others are getting involved. Some are comrades from our congregation. Some are people I have never seen, but still are 'brothers of the blood'. Patti McKenzie, my daughter in law, in Williamsburg, VA read the same letter you have read. She called Vera, a special friend in Greenville. Then she called me and gave me her number. I called Vera. I told her the story. She called a black woman who ministers daily to street people. At 6 PM she and Vera took warm food and water, and (later) got kerosene for a little heater. (It got cold Monday night in Greenville.)

Vera went back last evening (Tuesday) . "R"s wife, she found out in that visit, was on the verge of suicide the very evening (Monday) they brought the water and food. She had come to the end of her hope. She told Vera, "You will never know what your visit meant to me. You will never, never know...."

Today at 11 AM Vera is bringing "E" to Pat, my wife. Pat is going to do her taxes. If she can legally find a way, she will get "E" tax credit. That can mean a special gift from the Government which can cover a lot of bills. In the meanwhile Vera is going to see what can be done to stop the eviction by the Loan company. One month's payment has been offered to
prime the pump, so to speak. Vera was told by another Christian friend that she and her husband want to get involved some way. Maybe they will pick up another month's payment. We have heard that the equivalent of two months payment ($385 per month) will stop it. She is checking it out. Once stopped, the lights and the water can be turned back on.

The men where "R" is temporarily working have also taken an interest in this man and his family. Yesterday they gave him a case of bottled water, and some money so they can take their clothes to a Laundromat and wash them. Others have given special money gifts for lunch and other things. There is a man that works there who is picking "R" up for work and taking him home.

There is a man from our church who is over a factory in Piedmont. He thinks he can employ both "R" and his wife, but he has to have a decision today. They pay fairly well. Two incomes could give them the money they need to live decently and pay bills. The big issue for that is the lack of dependable transportation. Piedmont is quite a drive. But the God who can give two jobs in one factory can also create a car, and provide the money to cover the insurance.

I am amazed at what is happening. And so are they.

During the Easter weekend, we received an email from Dad about a man in SC who was in need of help for his family. After reading his email below, Holy Spirit told me to contact Dad and Vera, our kind-hearted Christian neighbor in SC. I didn't know what Vera could do, but as always, God knew. I asked Dad if it was ok to give his number to Vera and I also gave him her number. I then contacted Vera, in hopes she knew of a job for this man or his wife. Maybe some food assistance; when we lived in SC and were low on food during the months my husband was out of work, Vera would drop off a few bags of groceries. I told her I didn't know what she might be able to do, but Holy Spirit said to seek her assistance. (It is so hard to talk to her cuz I then get so homesick and long to move back.) Here is the email we received from Dad.

Dear Praying Church Friends and Family:

I thought his clothes would be dirty and he would look unkempt and smell of sweat because he needed a bath. I wondered if he actually showed up in church with me Sunday, how welcome this desperate African-American stranger would be among the people of our church.

I met him in a strange way. I was mowing a lawn, Wednesday about noon, at one of our duplexes. He hailed me from the fence, and let himself through the gate. I shut the mower off to see what he wanted. He begged me to let him finish up the lawn I was mowing, so he could make a little money so he could buy some hamburgers to take to his wife and two kids, who were home...hungry! I looked into his pleading eyes. I sensed he was not lying. It seemed like the Lord said to my heart, "Help him."

I said, "Okay, you finish it, and I'll give you ten Bucks. In the mean time I'll trim around the house and along the fence." He jumped at the chance. He could not thank me enough. On hurting feet, wearing worn out tennis shoes, and slightly limping he finished the work, and I paid him.

And I felt impressed to help him further...something inside me was saying, "Help him."

Let me tell you what I have learned about him:

He is educated (college degree), and he is also trained in a trade, but he hasn't worked for four months...even though he is willing to do anything that is honest. Like many others in this town, this 50 year old man can't find work, though he has sincerely tried.

I decided to see if I could help him find a job. I took his story with me to prayer meeting Wednesday and I and another brother (who has been in this kind of situation) prayed over the man, asking God to help him and show us what to do...where to look for work for him.

Thursday evening, after a great jail meeting, I went to his house. It was dark. I assumed he was not there. No lights. So I did not stop.

Fairly early Friday, I found him, and took him to see a man who I thought might be able to hire him. After the interview he sensed he was not going to get a job there.

I took him home. I gave him my business card. I told him, " I really want to help you if I can."

I took care of some "Jail" business Saturday morning. When I got home, he had left a message on my answering machine, asking me to come see him. He wanted to talk to me. When I saw him Saturday afternoon, he was very, very tired and worried; he was fighting depression...almost ready to cry. He had done everything he knew to do to find work, to get a little money, to try to help his family. I understand that. I have been there.

In my trying to help, I learned his car had been confiscated by a loan company...no money... couldn't pay for it. Before that the transmission broke making it impossible for his wife or him to work...couldn't afford to have it fixed, and he had no way to pay the mechanic who worked on it. No job. No money. No car. No transportation. To go anywhere he and she
had to walk.

From him I learned he has been walking all over Greenville for days asking people to let him rake their leaves, and do things for them, anything to get a little money. Anything...so he and his wife and children can eat. That is why he hailed me from the street. A guy like that, was looking pretty scruffy, and pretty broken when I saw him.

Somewhere, in all of this, I discovered the electricity at his house has been turned off, also the water. The dirty dishes are piled in the sink, and there is no water to flush the toilet, and I assume he and his wife haven't taken a bath in their own tub in a while.

From him I learned that they have sold their stove and refrigerator, and washer and drier... no water anyway... that's why their clothes are dirty. In fact they have sold almost all their furniture,and they tried to sell me the one major thing that is left... their dining room table...anything to get a little money for fast food...no way to cook.

He still has a bed for each of his children who have gone to grandma's, and they still have their own bed. And the reason they are trying to get rid of everything, is because the Sheriff is coming to put their remaining stuff on the street.

To help you understand what is happening, you should know that the loan company which financed their house is foreclosing on it, and they have no place to go.

In trying to understand the total situation, I learned that he and she profess to be born again Christians? That she has a testimony of total surrender to the will of God, and is resigned to trusting God even though she cannot understand why this is happening to them since she has truly tried to live for the Lord, and at one time she worked in a Church bus ministry and tried to help boys and girls get saved.

From her I learned that a church in their neighborhood hired him to do some plumbing (he's a plumber) , and when the job was done they refused to pay him, telling him the church had no money...they owe him $3,000...but deceived him into thinking he would be paid for doing the work when the work was completed.

From him I learned that after the above experience, someone stole his plumbing tools... drove off with $800 worth...and sold them in a pawn shop ... He had no money, so he could not redeem them.

I also learned that on Thursday he was put into handcuffs, interrogated and scorned like a derelict and a vagrant (which he is not) , and told by the police he could not walk around in neighborhoods asking for work. I assume, if he does, he is risking being arrested for vagrancy, fined, and put in jail, where he would sit, since he has no money.

( If this was you, and you were as desperate as these people are, short of selling drugs and robbing homes and banks, what would you do, if you were they?)

Saturday, he expressed a sincere interest in coming to church with me Sunday. They don't go to church. They have not gone in a long, long time. They have been pretty disappointed by churches, so they stopped going. But, I sense they do love the Lord, and they, deep inside, feel they should be in church, and they would like to start again.

Sunday, he came with me to church. I picked him up at 9:30. We got there in time to eat some of the Easter Sunrise breakfast. Many of you were very nice to him. He was greatly encouraged by your spontaneous kindnesses. And awed by the thoughtfulness of some of you who knew of his situation and showed sincerely your compassion. He went home with hope in his heart, and in God.

Faced with knowledge such as this, it would be very easy for me to be a theoretical Christian...to praise the Lord in my comfortable church, and return to my comfortable house for a delicious dinner, and fellowship with my truly wonderful spiritual friends and talk of the things of God.

That is much easier than to involve myself with a needy hurting neighbor who has been beaten by circumstances I know nothing of, and robbed by dishonest folk, some of whom have dared to call themselves believers, and followers of Jesus.

This situation is awfully like a story Jesus told. I could have looked the other way...I could have harden my heart against this beaten and injured and hungry stranger, pretending he is not there... and say to myself "maybe, if I just refuse to recognize it, this problem will go away."

I am sure there are people who think I have once again been suckered by a hard luck story, and maybe I have. It is a risk. But I have decided to believe the man and pour wine into his wounds and to help him (and his wife) to get to a place where he can heal. I recognize, full well, it might cost me something, and may interfere with some of my plans. But if
I can help him to be all that God wants him and her to be, it will be worth it.

The world is full of theoretical Christians. True Christianity, according to James, the Apostle, gets involved.

When you bow your head over your meals today, please pray for this real Greenville couple and their two small kids: their lights are off, the water is shut off, the sheriff is coming, they are losing their house, and they have no place to go, and no way to get to that place if they had a place, and no way to pay for it.

They need a financial miracle to get themselves re-established: unless the house is somehow saved they will need a new place to live; they need reliable transportation, lights, water, food.

And he and she need meaningful, dignified, honest employment that produces money enough to pay off their debts, and create a new financial testimony, and a sense of self worth... independent of government social handouts, of which there none; as I understand it, the county funds are gone; the demand in the area for such government funds is more than the

For you and me, and for them, their situation looks impossible. But with God, all things are possible. He calls into existence things that are not.

I am asking of you nothing more than this: that you earnestly intercede for them as you read this letter, and also at each meal as you give to God thanks for what he has given you.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Since things have been very busy here the past couple of weeks, I am going to do a re-cap of different events and God's blessings:

We were behind schedule on getting our booth set up (we were suppose to have it finished on Sat. but didn't until Sun. morning.) Although we didn't have anyone sign up to volunteer that day, we have several since then tell us God put it on their heart to start helping with the homeless in Williamsburg.

What a joy it has been for us to participate in the Lord's work these past 40 days. During these six weeks of focusing on what God expects from His children, God has radically changed our lives and our ministry to the homeless and indigent of Williamsburg. From the very beginning, it was inspiring to read such a clear explanation of the Scriptures and how they apply to our lives. It was encouraging to see that truly we were heading in the right direction each day and the purpose God gave us. As we studied the Bible and the "40 days" systematic approach to it, God opened the flood gates of blessing! In the last six weeks we have seen God bring us new friends from the church (something which we had been sorely lacking), renew our spirits to serve Him even more vigorously, and bring SIX new people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 of them were yesterday.) In addition, we had another small-group spawn off of ours and another group get started in the local jail! Other churches, that missed participating in these last 40 days' focus on true Christian living, have asked if they could join us, the homeless ministry, when we do "it" again, which will be soon. We look forward to seeing how God is going to work in those churches and ministries! We have experienced great things and are eagerly anticipating seeing and participating in what God is going to be doing in the next two months of study.

A couple of weeks ago, during the 40 Days, I was praying about the homeless and their situation. When I received God's answer, it wasn't about the homeless or housing, but He said "You (and Geoff) have not been married by me!" Wow! At first I was confused, but then thought "That is true. We were married in a civil ceremony and didn't include God as a part of our marriage vows." I immediately called our pastor and told him God said we needed to be married in the church. Since this occurred during the 40 Days, he thought it would be appropriate to be married during that time as well. We only had one Sunday left and that was Palm Sunday. I was so excited to finally share our marriage with God! Well what we thought would have just been short and sweet renewing of our vows, turned out to be basically a full wedding. Geoff's Dad came up from SC for it and to spend the weekend with our 'friends'. Sunday I was more nervous than when we first were married. Geoff wore a suit and I wore an ivory 2 piece semi-formal skirt and top. Then we were so blessed to hear that Geoff's oldest son was going to be able to come for the service! This was AWESOME! Right before the end of the service, our pastor announced a special event to end the 40 Days. Geoff was upfront waiting and they played the Wedding March. Geoff's son and Dad walked me down the aisle and we exchanged vows, rings and kissed. We were announced to the church members and they congratulated us as they left the service. GOD IS AWESOME!