Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father...
— James 1:27 (The Message)

Sunday, June 26, 2016


Location: Houston, TX, USA
Cough, cough! Hack, hack!! Whoa, this blog is dusty!!

A lot has happened in my life since my last post, just none of it here. The event with the most impact on Perry's Place is that I've moved to Houston. Same love for people with many of the same problems but more visible and on a much bigger scale!

Forgive me, Lord. By Your grace, I'm back at it.

On my way home this evening from the final night of an absolutely awesome men's conference, about a block from my apartment, I saw a crazy man boldly walking between, around, and in front of 3-4 lines of cars at a red light. My well-honed safety instincts kicked in: I had to get this guy out of harm's way.

So I pull into the Walgreens parking lot. I observe. I key in 9-1-1 on my phone. I wait and see. I dial. I give the dispatcher the requested relevant details: Caucasian, male, hitting cars with a big floppy cardboard box, yelling, gesturing, red hat, white shirt, red backpack. "We'll send someone right over." And then Holy Spirit reminded me of a word I got at the conference: "Take action." So I did.

I waited for the next red light and joined the man in the street. I offered to buy him a Coke and started steering him toward the sidewalk. He resisted: "I'm not finished. Just one more." At this point, I hadn't realized he was panhandling. I thought he was just nuts. Halfway to the drink coolers inside, he turned and stuck out his hand. "I'm Michael. Who are you?" We chatted. He opted for water instead of a Coke.

On the way to the register, inspiration struck and I asked how much he usually makes in a night. "Ok. Well, your shift is over. I'm buying the rest of your evening." He looked at me like I was nuts until I got cash back and handed it to him. "You're done for the night. Let me give you a ride somewhere." A police cruiser pulled into the parking lot as we pulled out.

Somewhere happened to be a campsite 10-12 miles away. Plenty of time to talk and share the Gospel. I learned his name and that he's homeless after losing everything in a fire. This included his dentures ("See, Sean. I meant it when I said everything") and his former means of earning an income. You see, a skilled carpenter can't work without his tools. I thought about buying him a new set until he started telling me all he'd lost. A hammer is one thing. A drill and table saw and nail gun just aren't in the budget at this point.

One thing Michael didn't lose was his sense of humor: "I'm not worried at all. If I get hit, my kids will get the life insurance." Macabre? Yes, a little, but he's also serious: he keeps his policy current. Just in case. Yes, you read that correct. Michael the homeless man has a life insurance policy. A good one. The beneficiaries on this policy are his grown children. He's also putting his son through college and supporting his missionary daughter. They don't know how he gets the money he sends them; I had no idea such amounts were possible with wit, grit, and a cardboard sign. Then again, if you're not spending anything on yourself...

I don't know when the fire was, but, apparently, he's been working the system for a long, LONG time. He knows the law well enough that he occasionally gets arrested on purpose for a decent roof and a meal or two and then references case and precedent the next morning to prove his lack of guilt. The police are beginning to recognize him and have wised up to his game. That strategy won't last him much longer. Michael will find a way. He is not a drunk. He's not on drugs. He's content with his lifestyle. And just a little bit nuts.

But at least he was out of traffic for one night. Right before he got out of my car, I offered to pray for him. He agreed so I did, smiling inside and silently praising God. It felt good to do good.

And then he prayed for me. He prayed with power, with conviction, and with quoted Scriptures. I was stunned. Heck, I'm still stunned an hour later.

We were both blessed by this divine appointment. He said to me, before closing the door, with a wink and a toothless grin, "I'll see you around, Sean." I'm sure you will, Michael. I'm sure you will.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Vanessa and Ralph

Location: San Antonio, TX, USA
Vanessa and Ralph at Greyhound
I met these two last Friday on my bus from San Antonio to San Marcos. They paid the fare in cash and asked about continuing on to Austin. Unfortunately, they wanted to stay in San Marcos overnight and we don't run buses on the weekends.

However, on my way to Austin to be with my dad for his birthday last Saturday, I saw them. They were walking north along the interstate, and I passed them at about 70 miles per hour. God instructed me to go back and pick them up, so I did. It was my first time to pick up hitchhikers; however, I had already met them and, with the prompting from God, I knew I'd be safe.

We were all hungry so we drove through at Dairy Queen and munched on burgers and fries all the way to Austin. Along the way, I learned that Ralph has experience in the meat packing industry and was trying to get back to Tupelo, Mississippi where he could get some work. He and Vanessa are already Christians.

As we got into Austin, God inspired me to buy them bus tickets to as near Tupelo as I could afford, so I drove them to a Greyhound station. They had to wait until Tuesday evening but they should have boarded a bus bound for Mississippi. I have no real way of finding out for sure how they're doing except to pray for them and trust God for their best.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Learning Curve

Location: San Marcos, TX, USA
I met with some folks today at Southside Community Center after learning that there is not a shelter for men in San Marcos. Southside runs a shelter for families and a thrift store. They serve dinner each night to any and all who show up but don't have the facilities to house everyone, so the men have to head back out for the night. There's nowhere for them to go except the park bench and the overpass bridge. In short, there is a great need for something like Perry's Place in San Marcos.

After my meeting this afternoon, I realized what a huge thing we've stepped into. And how much we have to learn about before Perry's Place can be a success. God has really accelerated us in this thing, so we're going to grab tight and hang on for what's sure to be a wild ride.

One thing I've learned in this classroom called life is that the best training is had on the job. So, rather than be discouraged, I'm going to jump in head first by volunteering at Southside, attending their weekly church service called Railroad Ministry (Thursday nights), and getting to know people already in the "business." Stay tuned for updates as I progress on this learning curve.

For more information on Southside Community Center, visit their webpage.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Doesn't Have to be a Motel

Location: San Marcos, TX, USA
I recently became aware of a building that currently sits empty in San Marcos that would make a great place for Perry: an old nursing home. Hmm... All kinds of ideas here!


Location: San Marcos, TX, USA
God is moving us to take another step. People at our church and at my job have been phenomenally supportive of our dream. We are starting to get to know some people in "the business" here in San Marcos and things are moving along quickly.

I've been made aware of some things that lead me to believe God wants us up and running MUCH sooner than we first thought. There is a great need for a men's shelter in San Marcos and Perry's Place would be a great way to meet that need.

Please pray for us as God nudges us closer to the edge of the nest. I'm ready to fly, but in all honesty, it's a bit scary from this vantage point; however, the Holy Spirit continues to remind me that we have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

Sunday, January 10, 2010

3 New Ideas

Location: San Marcos, TX, USA
This week, I've had three new ideas regarding Perry's Place:
  1. Transportation: Sometimes people just need a ride to ____. And heck, I'm a bus driver. This one's as easy as opening my car door and saying, "Where to?"
  2. Prayer Board: Some sort of map with photos of people we've met that we can pray over as we walk past. I was thinking of something for our church but why not our home? Or this website? Originally, I thought of one of those old Sunday school felt boards, but I can use HTML for much less!
  3. Under-A-Bridge Chili Cook-Off: Made chili for the family last night and was thinking what a great meal it is for a cold night. Why not have an annual event where several cooks bring their recipes to share with the city's less fortunate? We could even have a panel of judges made up of homeless men and women. I think it would be fun as well as a way to give back to the community.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Update: Emma and Drew

Location: San Marcos, TX, USA
This morning, with only a little hiccup in motel wake-up calls, I saw Emma and Drew safely on their way. I gave them care kits with some basic necessities and shared the Gospel with them on the short drive to the bus station. I also made some nifty, free business cards with this website's address and our email address so they could stay in touch. They said they'd even let other travelers know about Perry's Place.

We're up and running! Well, maybe a slow jog for now, but whatever. Praise God!