One winter night here in Evansville, Josh called around dinnertime and said he was bringing home a guest. A homeless man named Matthew had come and asked Josh for help. He had tattered sneakers, a worn coat, and a pillow and blanket. He was filthy and looked much older than his years (we found out he was just around Josh's age). Matthew had nothing and needed a place to stay. After talking with him for some time, Josh discerned that it would be safe to bring him home for a warm meal before taking him to a hotel for the night. As usual, it was a very cold winter night in Wisconsin.
Matthew's story was hard to understand. He told about himself as we ate sloppy joes. He told of wanting to go south, but didn't want bus or train fare. He told of looking for help to find a job, but wasn't sure where to go. He talked of sometimes trying to get arrested just to have a warm place to sleep. Matthew broke my heart. He had no purpose and no direction. And it was such a stark comparison to see him, destitute and desperate, in our home - a place of warmth, happiness and love.
Something else happened while Matthew was visiting that has left me praying for more homeless to visit. I saw my children completely disregard Matthew's appearance and unabashedly love him during dinner. Our sweet little Zack sat next to Matthew and kept hugging him. And as Matthew left that night, Zack's little voice called out, "I love you!". What a blessing to behold a love that had no boundaries!
I have been praying this winter that God will bring others like Matthew across my path. I will have a little chance to serve next week through a meal our church is hosting for those in need in our community. But, I want to do more. I want to share all that God has blessed us with. Oh, Lord, grant me eyes to see those in need and a heart and hands that are willing to be used by you!
Our kids still ask about Matthew. We pray for him and others in similar situations. I'm so thankful that our family had an opportunity to be blessed through a little time with Matthew and I pray that we were also a blessing to him.