Not many people stop to hear Amy's story. You can change that right now.
It hit 88 degrees in Downtown, Portland today. I met Amy selling bracelets on the sidewalk. She sold me a pink and purple model for my daughter. I was her first customer, although she's only been in business for a day.
SHE FOLLOWED HER BOYFRIEND TO PORTLAND
Amy moved to the city from Tampa, Florida a few months ago to follow her boyfriend. The pair met online on a website called airG.com. It's an online community where people play and bond over mobile gaming. She held down a steady job in Florida at a Burger King, but the minute she had the money, she booked a flight to PDX.
Amy and her boyfriend camp out by the Morrison Bridge. She admits that things got loud there last night, and she didn't get much sleep. She knows that theft can be an issue, but she didn't seem afraid to go back. She says the people there can be, "iffy."
DISPLACED BY A PORT-A-POTTY
Up until recently, the pair were staying near a Lucky Labrador Bar. I checked, and found three locations. She said they had to move because their camping spot has just been replaced by a port-o-potty. Amy answers every question with a smile. Although the temperature rose around us (and under us on the red brick pavement), she seemed to be settled for the afternoon.
Amy is pretty cheerful about her current homelessness. She said that when it comes down to it, her experience is, "not that bad." She goes to Red Door on Saturdays where hungry people are given hot pancakes. She admits that while her parents are divorced, her dad would be pretty upset to find out that she was sleeping by the bridge. She turns 30 soon, but she is reluctant to divulge her true living situation to her father.
I shared with Amy that I am a minister looking to start a church downtown. I told her a brief summary of our vision and hope for individuals in the city. She smiled warmly. She made sure to ask when we were going to begin. I told her about the inspiration behind our church - John 4. I told her that Jesus had a conversation with a woman on a very hot day. They met by a well. Jesus told her that she had a spiritual thirst even greater than her physical thirst. He pointed out that relationships with men would never satisfy the deep need of the woman's heart.
I went on to share about what Jesus has done for us. I shared that we are separated from God by our sin. This is where our thirst comes from. In the depths of who we are, we want God. Jesus laid down his life to pay for our sins. Anyone who trust in Jesus can be restored to God. When this happens, our thirst finds a spring of life that will never run dry. Amy said, "I love how you tell that story." I can't wait to find her again, to continue this conversaiton.
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT HOMELESS PEOPLE
Before I left, I asked if there were any misconceptions about homeless people that she would like to clear up. "Yes," she responded. "We're not all hooked on drugs, and alcohol, and smoking." It turns out, one of Amy's parents smoked when she was growing up. She hated the way it made her clothes smell. She always wanted to take a shower after coming home.
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