It’s been a busy few days. The team arrived on Sunday night and enjoyed Mexican food while learning more about what to expect in the week to come.
On Monday morning we spent the morning serving at the Eagle’s Nest Learning Center, which we also spent this morning and will also go on Thursday. Eagle’s Nest provides tutoring, Christian education, and important friendships to boys from some of the most difficult neighborhoods of Boston. Mr. Duncan, Eagle’s Nest founder and only full-time staff member, drives his 15 passenger van to pick up and drop the boys off each day. We have quickly grown to love these energetic and fun boys. Ministries and organizations like Eagle’s Nest are important for students to receive the support and friendships that’s so essential. Many boys turn to gangs for the support they haven’t received elsewhere, Eagle’s Nest helps provide adult mentors, spiritual formation, and educational tutoring that will help these boys develop into mature and godly young men.
After leaving the Eagle’s Nest we went to Boston Commons for our “immersion” experience. Over the next four hours, we broke into four groups and each team member received $2 for dinner and a number of questions related to homelessness in Boston. Each group then spread out throughout the Boston Commons and the neighborhoods surrounding it in search for some answers to our questions (like: “How long have you lived here? What changes in this neighborhood have you observed regarding homelessness? Where can you find a free meal? Where can you find shelter? Where could you receive medical care in case of emergency?”). One of the additional challenges each team received was to purchase and share dinner with one homeless person with our team’s few dollars.
I (Pastor Mike) can’t write at length about other teams’ experiences, but we all agreed that talking to strangers was a challenge that became a bit easier with each conversation.
My group (Jesse, Amy, Sarah) shared some pizza with a man named Chuck (we met a few other people too, but I’ll just tell you about Chuck). As we talked with him, he shared his story about how he’s from Foxboro and how he moved to Boston because “you aren’t allowed to be homeless in a town, you’ll get arrested for being on the street.” Chuck told us how he worked for a concrete pumping company for 32 years when he had a stroke, got laid off, and couldn’t sustain the medical debt after his “girl” left him.
Other groups had similar stories of men and women who broke the stereotypes we may think of when we hear about the “homeless.” One group even met someone with a Masters degree from Boston University. Stereotypes may fit certain people you will encounter, but they never tell the whole story for everyone who have that stereotype thrust upon them.
Parents, you’d be impressed by the resourcefulness of your teens. Some groups pooled money together to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to be able to share with someone else in need. Another group found a food pantry where they were given plenty of food to be able to eat and share with others.
Our day concluded with a prayer tour through Boston, exploring the challenges of gang violence, education, poverty, and racism.
- Pray for health and soft hearts, that we’d be able to learn and experience all that God has in store for us.
- Pray for Mr. Duncan and the Eagle’s Nest Learning Center’s ministry. Pray for the boys whose families are not the most nurturing places to grow up.
- Pray for those who are experiencing homelessness… that they would receive the help available to them, and that they would be given opportunities to get back on their feet.