Homeless on the Beach

 I met Pat, Christina, and their four kids at Cocoa Beach. They hauled everything they owned behind them in two heavy suitcases and sat down. We brought over our umbrella, some snacks, and listened.

Christina was tired and weak. Pat was in survival mode for the next night. He was not able to find work to pay for another night anywhere after a few nights at a cheap Airbnb.

I admired his tenacity and leadership to stay with his family, survive through it, and provide as best as he could. He has a long term landscaping job in Myrtle Beach and a one-bedroom apartment for a month, yet they need to get there. For the last few weeks, this has been the goal.

We ended up having them come back to our place in Orlando in our van while Pat and I put together the best plan for transportation and basic needs. It took time, trust, planning, and money. Their kids played board games for hours and went with the flow.

This picture is their family about to take off in the rental minivan that got them to Myrtle Beach this week. They are starting fresh after a rough few months in Florida bouncing from job to job, hotel to hotel, walking up to 6 miles from place to place…together, homeschooling all the while.

Pat and Christina’s story is played out all over the world in every country and socio-economic and financial background.

Pat graduated from Univ. of Texas, owned his own AstroTurf surfacing company employing others until a contract fell through and they lost it all. Homeownership to homelessness is way more common than you would imagine.

We prayed for Selah and her two sisters and brother to thrive in Myrtle Beach. Before the van took off I asked God to provide, protect, and keep them together through the storm. As a follower of Jesus, I am saved by grace to do good works and live a life for others. It is not obligation, it is a calling to serve one person at a time for each of us.

Things I continue to learn:

-Many live paycheck to paycheck. When a storm hits, if they don’t have family support, they are in trouble.
-Many shelters and churches in Florida have a waiting list or are at capacity with all the need that comes their way.
-In Orlando, you need to work at least 50 hours a week at a $12+ an hour job to survive in a rented one-bedroom apartment.

My encouragement to you:
-Keep your eyes open to people and opportunity around you.
-Find an organization meeting needs you care about and get involved.
-Serve in your strengths and skillset.
-Take risks! Life is short.

#homeless #hope #helpothers

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