Foundry United Methodist Church

Youth Sunday Testimonies

Matthew Jordan

 

 

 

Sunday, June 17, 2007

 

 

 

 

All my life I have lived at a place called Christ House, a medical facility for the homeless here in Washington. Both my parents work there as part of the medical staff, and we live in an apartment in the same building.

 

For many years, I grew up thinking nothing of these living arrangements Ė that there wasnít anything particularly unusual about being directly above a place where the homeless come for medical care for things ranging from alcoholism to diabetes to broken bones to terminal illnesses such as lung cancer. It was just the way things always were, and it was something I always accepted.

 

However, as time has gone by, I have realized how grateful I am to have grown up at Christ House. I see my childhood there as a gift, because it wasnít something I had any say in, but at the same time, I was exposed to many extraordinary people.

 

Of the many guests that come to Christ House, I have gotten to know a few people particularly well. James, not his real name, came to Christ House when I was about three years old. He was barely able to walk because of nerve damage caused by heavy drinking for many years. After going through recovery, he was determined to walk again without a walker. He became my next door neighbor for a while, and some of my earliest memories of him are seeing him walking up and down the stairs everyday to regain his strength.

 

When James was living one room away from our apartment, I used to wait by his door while he was at church, knowing that he had a large stash of candy in his room. When he returned, he always invited me in, and we would both watch T.V. while we ate his Snickers bars.

 

While I didnít realize this at the time, it now strikes me as amazing how generous he was to me. Homeless are generally looked down upon by society, and have so many strikes against them that it would be impossible to give a full list in the combined running times of the 9:30 and 11:00 services. His generosity would never be something expected, nor was it something I asked for. This has been reinforced again and again through Foundry in my three years experience with Appalachia Service Project, or ASP. The generosity of those we serve continues to amaze me. While people may have few possessions, their ability to give cannot be measured in material ways.

 

My best memories of James involve Halloween. As he transitioned out of Christ House and got his own apartment, I used to go trick-or-treating to his door. One year, I remember being Robin Hood, with my very own green stockings and plastic bow. This brings me to my next point. While Iím not saying we need to literally steal from the rich to give to the poor, I do think it is unfair how a few have so much while others have so little. Iíve realized as someone who has been given a lot, I have a responsibility to those who donít. To use the example of another superhero, Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility.

 

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