Two chihuahuas, Mamma and Squeegee, greet us at the motel door, shivering in the cold air. In the past two days it has dropped 40 degrees in Houston and the small motels along Airline are filling up. We didn’t expect to run into anyone we knew during our Friday night outreach, but street kids and homeless often gather at the same places: a network of apartments, motels and shelters. Christine and Jake accept the hot chocolate we are serving and invite us in.
The room is unfurnished except for a bed, television and dresser. Stacked on the dresser is an electric griddle, crock pot and coffee maker as well as an artificial blue christmas tree laden with plastic ornaments.
“I’m washing windows now.” Jake tells us proudly. “I’m too old for the stuff I used to do – the stealing. I can make $30.00 – $50.00 a day and maybe even more. The cops know me. I get off the corner when they come by and get right back on when they leave.”
“I hold a bucket on the corner too.” Christine chimes in. “Jake pays for the rent and I pay for the food. Sometimes, when I make a meal for us and have leftovers, I’ll sell plates to the other residents for $4.00. They say my food is better then McDonalds.” Jake and Christine are proud to make an ‘honest living’ in comparison to the “working girls” who also live in the building. When we ask if the prostitutes are in the motel tonight, they tell us we are too late. They are already out working. “Even though it is cold they don’t cover up.” Christine says. “But they gotta make money.”
Christine tells us that they have been saving money to visit her children for Christmas, who have been adopted through CPS. Above the TV is a picture of the two boys. Christine quickly pulls out a photo album and proudly shows us more photos of her children.
Before leaving we lay hands on Jake and Christine and pray for each of them. We remember to pray for Christine’s health as well, as she has recently come down with bronchitis.
“Don’t knock on any doors to our right.” Jake warns before we leave. “Those are dealers down that way, and they keep guns and stuff.”
As we carry the snacks and hot chocolate upstairs, doors begin to open and residents come out to meet us. They are all surprised at our offer for prayer and hot chocolate. Many accept. One is a prostitute who says, in tears, “This is a scary place. I want to get out. I would like to get an ID so I could get a real job.”
On our way out of the motel, we stop and ask a car full of people in the parking lot of they would like some hot chocolate. They refuse. As we turn to leave, a woman in the car gets out of the car and yells to us, “I need Jesus and I’m not afraid to admit it!”. We are able to pray with her and invite them all to our Christmas event at Street Church.
Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”