This book about living as a homeless person in America is a real eye opener. Mike Yankoski and Sam Purvis headed out on an “adventure.” Mike had wondered that if “God was our supplier and our protector,” the one that supplied all of our needs, how is it that there are 3,500,000 homeless in this country? Mike first went and volunteered at a Rescue Mission and as he worked, he wondered, “how is it to be homeless?” He did more than wonder. He determined that God was calling him to give up his comfortable life and live as a homeless person. He knew he needed someone to do this with and Sam entered the picture.
Mike and Sam had a backpack, a guitar and a sleeping bag that they had purchased at a thrift store ofor $7. They headed out.
They spend more than 5 months experiencing life on the streets in Washington, D.C., Denver, Portland, San Francisco, Phoenix, and San Diego.
As they entered this, they journaled as they went. Mike goes into detail about the hunger they experienced, the cold, the heat the rejection, the dangerous situations they encountered and the rejection they experienced.
I was brought back in time to when I visited New York City. Growing up in the Midwest, homelessness was something that I had only heard of. As I walked the street of the Big Apple, I saw people sleeping on the grates on the sidewalks to try to keep warm. Often, you walked around them to keep moving. After I was there for 3 or 4 days, I recall that I didn’t see them any more. It was as if they had become invisible. After I returned to Iowa, I reflected on how quickly I had become blinded to all of those that I passed. I hadn’t given it much thought until reading the excellent book.
Mike and Sam would usually sit on some street corner playing their quitar and singing with the open guitar case in front of them, hoping to get enough money for a meal. Sleep usually came in some park. Water and restrooms came from fast-food joints and the public library.
The most distressing part of the book was how they were often treated by the churches when they went to worship, generally on Sunday morning. They were always watched and often asked to leave.
Occasionally they would come across a Christian who was passing out sandwiches or pizza. These were rare occasions and a cause for praise. Sometimes they met other Christians who were also living on the street.
This book is an easy read. Each city is it’s own section and the various circumstances in each city are well broken down.
This book will shake your comfort zone to it’s core. You will not look at the homeless in the same manner. It could even get you involved in a mission to help those that are less fortunate.
Christianity is more than wearing a W.W.J.D. bracelet or a Christian T-shirt. Jesus reached out to the “least of these.” Can we do any less?