By Seth Thomas, Senior Pastor
A couple of weeks ago, I was working on my message for church the following morning. As I walked across the rooftop patio at the Maverick Apartments, I briefly looked out over the Burien Town Square Park. Immediately, my attention was drawn to the north wall of the library, where a handful of homeless people regularly reside.
At that moment, I felt God put it on my heart to stop by and listen to the stories of those who live there. I reached out to a friend who agreed to go with me. It was a cold rainy day, so we decided to make hot chocolate to share. One by one, we began offering warm beverages and getting to know each of them: Stephen, Karma, Sam, Stephanie, Deon, and Mike. It was a much easier experience than I expected. There is far more history beneath the surface of each tattered homeless person than we often recognize. As we spoke with Sam, it was clear that he was the one that we were specifically meant to meet that day.
From what I gathered, Sam was emancipated by his parents at the age of 15. When he was 18, he enlisted in the military shortly after the Iraq War began. Eventually, he received his master’s degree before things turned south, and ended up on the streets. For seven years, he was homeless and addicted to heroin. Miraculously, he got off the streets and heroin a year and a half ago. Now, he regularly visits Burien’s homeless — his only friends. He mentioned that he feels somewhat guilty that he gets to live in an apartment, but his friends are still on the street. He’s currently working to secure a birth certificate and ID, which can be difficult after living on the street and being disconnected from the few family members still alive.
This spontaneous excursion proved to be incredibly significant. I believe we will see an exodus of the homeless from the streets of Burien, and Sam could play a key role in that. It was no coincidence that we crossed paths with him that day. Though there are some programs in place to help the homeless, I believe God is up to something much bigger in our city.