This morning I got on an airplane in San Francisco. The only thing in my pockets is my drivers license (to get through airport security). I am not bringing any money or credit cards on this trip. On this street retreat, I'll be attending the ELCA Churchwide Assembly during the day, preaching at 2 services at Salem English Lutheran on Sunday and sleeping on the streets or in a shelter each night.
Today I spent all day on a plane, with no money. For this whole trip I'll have no money and will be begging for my food. Obviously I can't get away from my power and privilege on this retreat and I imagine that there will be people who buy me food and help me out that might not give money to someone who is homeless. The purpose of this retreat is not to recreate the experience of someone who is homeless. Simulating the isolation, trauma and sense of having no support from family or community is not what I'm interested.
Instead I hope to educate people about what it feels like to sleep on the street, to beg for food and about issues of hunger and poverty. I also hope to raise funds for WELCOME. All the funds I raise begging that go beyond my food expenses for the week will be used to feed an additional 5,000 people this year. If my work inspires you to give, please click on the image at the bottom of this blog, or visit www.welcomeministry.org
Tonight I arrive in Minneapolis too late to attend any of the free meals. So tonight I go to bed hungry like many individuals all over the world. Because my flight arrived at 10pm, too late to scout a place to sleep on the streets I'll attempt to sleep in the airport tonight. I'm not sure of Homeland Security allows it anymore, but I'll fund out.
Sleeping with me tonight are the 9,000 individuals who are homelessness in Minnesota each night, 7,000 will receive shelter, while 1,000 individuals will be turned away. Hundreds of uncounted individuals will be spending the night under a bridge, in a car or perhaps with me at the airport. (source: http://www.mnhomelesscoalition.org/facts/homelessness/)
Prayers: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.