My four young loves circa 1990
I remember when my boys were youngsters and I wondered what they would be when they grew up. I prayed they would be responsible citizens who would serve others, thereby serving God, in whatever capacity He called them. I expected they would be active and influential wherever life led them. I had no idea what that would look like, except secretly I hoped one of them would revamp the welfare system, revise public education, and come up with a new and improved government. I had a dream that things could and would be better when my children and your children, the next generation, put their minds, skills, and heart to making all things better.
One of my sons is pursuing music — part time — because he needs a full time job to support his hobby. He’s contributing. Another is in the military. He’s contributing. One is pastoring a CMA church in State College, PA. He’s contributing. And the fourth (who is actually the first) is an associate pastor working at a Baptist church in San Jose, CA, while pursuing ordination. He’s contributing. And I’m proud of all of them. Here’s an email and link to an article I received from my oldest son. His church helps homeless people spiritually and physically. And I think, this is religion that is pure, helping those who are in need. Which is from James 1:27. I like the New Living Translation: Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James is the poster book for social justice. Although, being a good Lutheran I believe it is by God’s grace, through faith, that I am forgiven, saved, and justified. I also concede James point…faith without works is dead. Show me your faith without works and I’ll show you mine by my works. Me and James, we stand together on this except it’s not sustainable. Some days I have nothing to show…what then?
While I ponder that here’s that email and link from my son about his church Grace Baptist… I love that the woman he speaks of is named Grace.
So this is what’s happening in our part of the country… It is keeping us busy at Grace as many of the people in the camps trickle to us. The woman in the lead photos is Grace, who you might remember I mentioned in the sermon you guys watched. She had been staying here for a while. Love, N
DEC. 4, 2014
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The makeshift tents and debris stretching for nearly a mile along a creek in San Jose are partly obscured from the view of drivers on a nearby road. But this homeless camp in the heart of Silicon Valley — a full 68 acres of mismatched belongings, shopping carts, clotheslines and wooden shanties — is widely seen as the nation’s largest.
Or it was until Thursday. Shortly after 8 a.m., San Jose officials sent in crews to clear out the Jungle, as the encampment is known, after a year-and-a-half-long effort to find more permanent quarters for the 300 or so inhabitants. But that effort was only partly successful, given that the real estate market here has become one of the priciest in the country. At least a third of the Jungle’s residents were not placed in housing and are now wondering where to go.
“Some of us are starting to break down our stuff and take what we feel is really important,” said Grace Hilliard, speaking in the days before the camp was bulldozed. Ms. Hilliard, who gave her age as “approaching 60,” has been living in the encampment off and on for 15 years and shares a small tent with her Chihuahua. She said she was among the lucky ones because chronic health problems have guaranteed her a bed in a shelter.
Santiago Gomez, 39, on the other hand, does not see any prospects. “No, no place,” he said. “I don’t know where.” Neither does Richard Martinez, 52, a former information technology worker who approached a reporter to ask about how to get a housing voucher. Wearing a wool cap and standing in the rain, he said he did not know where he and his wife would go.
San Jose, pressured by the state and regional water authorities to clean up the trash and human waste from the creek that are polluting San Francisco Bay, committed $4 million to move as many Jungle residents as possible into subsidized housing. So far, it has found apartments for 144 people and promised to subsidize their rent for two years. It has subsidy vouchers for 60 more, but it cannot find available apartments.
“There is just a lot of competition for every rental unit” in Silicon Valley, said Jennifer Loving, the executive director of Destination: Home, which has been helping the city place people. “We have rounded up funding to help people have temporary housing, but the real challenge in this whole region is the cost of housing is so high.”
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