Tag Archives: Homeless

My phone call with ‘T’

If you’ve been following along on my blog, you might recall me writing about my friend, T.  If you haven’t, or you need a refresher, here’s a quick reminder: (everyday miracles)

It’s been a YEAR since that last post (WoW), and this phone call was the perfect time to UPDATE

T is was homeless.  He’s an alcoholic.  I’ve known him since I moved to Israel 2 1/2 years ago, and it’s been an emotional rollercoaster ride with him since that first day.  He’s been in and out of rehabs at least 4 times since then, and that is only in the short time I’ve known him.

Last year at this time he was in rehab and doing well…. but it ended soon enough.  A few months later he was out and living back on the streets of Tel Aviv.

Fast forward to about 4 months ago, when he had pretty much hit rock bottom (again), and was rescued by the Grace of God once more.  A dentist friend had pulled him in, gave him a place to stay, and found him a job on a kibbutz in the north.

And I’m so happy to say that T went.

When I got back to Israel after my furlough in the states, I had 4 voicemail messages waiting from him. I was a bit anxious to hear the news… was he back on the streets? was he ok?

So, as I called him this morning to check up on him, I wasn’t sure what I would find… but I found him to be HAPPY! (His exact word, which I have never heard him use before.)  He wasn’t aware that I had been in the States, so he said he was worried about me, not answering my phone 🙂

He is working, paying rent for his place on the kibbutz, reading his Bible (he made sure I knew that it was sitting right beside him during our conversation) and taking life one day at a time.

I know I’ve said it before a FEW times, but I’ll say it again and again…. this is what it’s all about! This is why we are ALL called to a life of loving and giving to others.  LIVES RADICALLY CHANGED!

One day at a time…..

Everyday Miracles…an update on ‘T’

Some time ago (last August, actually) I wrote about my homeless friend, T, and his battle with alcoholism and life in general.  (Click here for the re-cap)  Many of you had been praying for him and his journey into rehab.  Well, it didn’t quite work out back then.  He made excuses, went down, and came right back to the streets.  He didn’t come around as often, and I’m sure it was due to disappointment he had in himself….

That was last year, and no one had seen or heard from him in months.

The past month or so T has really been on my ❤ like crazy.  I asked around to see if anyone knew anything about him, and I found nothing.  I went to all his usual locations, and nothing. I was seriously worried and knew the only thing I could do was pray.

This past week at soup kitchen, the exact same day I had asked a friend if she had heard anything about T, there was a most pleasant surprise awaiting us.  T was there!  Not only was he there, but he was sober… ONE MONTH SOBER!!!  He looked good and healthy.  For the past month, he has been down in Ashdod, at the rehab he was originally supposed to go to, but didn’t.  Because he was doing so well, they let him come up for the day and visit us.

I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I was to hear this news…the tears were even falling.  The cool thing is that in a couple weeks I plan on going down there to visit him at the rehab, to show my support and how proud of him I am. They are even letting him use a phone, so we can call and encourage him whenever we can.

You might not think this is a miracle in the sense of the Red Sea being parted…but if you knew T and the life that he was leading, you wouldn’t hesitate to see this as one.  I call it one of God’s everyday miracles because they are happening all around us…. you just have to be willing to see them.

(Please continue to keep T in your prayers…he’s doing well, but the battle has only begun.)

If money were no object…

Being the fashion lover that I am, I subscribe to the InStyle and Vogue fashion blogs to see the newest and latest in fashion. One of my favorite sections on InStyle is something they call “We’re Obsessed! If money were no object….”

I love looking at the amazing shoes and boots, the incredible jewelry, and the “must haves” of the season; but it all comes with a catch.  Each item is designer made, making a pair of Swarovski Idomeneo Crystal Pocket Binoculars a mere $1000. Or what about a Judith Leiber Maharaja Elephant Minaudier (basically a small clutch) only $6,000.

I mean, come on…. are you kidding me?  $1000 for a pair of binoculars??? With that elephant evening clutch you can feed an entire African village for a year!

To most of us living on this earth, “if money were no object” will never be a phrase we can actually completely comprehend.  Money IS an object; and unfortunately, one that speaks loudly about how we live our lives.

When was the last time you looked on a website and saw the header, “if money were no object….” and the items were something like:  Build a school for orphans in India: $6,000… or Send a homeless alcoholic to rehab for 6 months: $1,000.  How many of us would actually keep on scrolling through the list, wishing we had the money to purchase our favorite option… or would we go back to wondering if those boots would look good with our favorite pair of jeans?

I know I’ve been guilty.

Another wonderful surprise…

Today at soup kitchen, T (one of the homeless men), came up to me and said, “Maureen, I need to talk to you about something.”  This isn’t a rare occurrence… it seems like he says this to me every week, so I replied, “Sure, during clothes distribution.”  I was honestly expecting him to be asking for something (money, clothes, soap etc.), because he asks me every week.

BUT, this week I was extremely, pleasantly, wonderfully surprised when he told me he has enrolled in a rehab, down in Ashdod.  T is an alcoholic (as are most of the homeless), and pretty much every week you can smell the alcohol on him/and see from his appearance.  He told me he had previously been there a while ago, but ran away because it was too hard. 

“This time though, I am ready.  I want to stop.  I need to stop, or I won’t live much longer.” he said.

T is brutally honest when it comes to the difficulties of living on the street.  He doesn’t gloss it over or embellish the truth of how hard it really is. He’s a very intelligent guy (speaking 4 languages fluently), who got caught with some bad choices, leading to life on the street.  

Please remember to pray for this week.  He leaves tomorrow, and he knows that the first 5 days are the most difficult, especially going through the withdraw process at the rehab.  He said to me if he can make it through the first week, he can make it through the 6 months.  He even asked to take a Bible with him in Russian and Hebrew, so he could read it while he was there.  God is moving…..

**out of privacy and respect, I have only written the letter T in place of his name.

The company you keep

“They” say you can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep.  I do agree with this, to an extent. I have quite a few different circle of friends, depending on where in the world they are located, but here in Israel I don’t really have a close circle of friends at all.

This happened to pop into my head the other day when I was walking down to my gym, and I ran into some ‘aquaintances’ on the way. A group of the Russian homeless guys, who frequent the soup kitchen, were just chillin on some of the benches in the shade. I stopped to say hello and had a brief limited conversation about the heat and such.

After, as I continued my way to the gym, I began thinking about our little encounter, which led me to this conclusion: The only people I really ever meet when I’m out and about are either homeless, refugees, or my landlord (who always seems to be lurking around).  Yes, its a big city, but no matter where I go, these seem to be the ones I run into…and they are the ones I actually stop and talk to.  

Though I would not really consider talking to them about the desires of my heart, I still end up spending more time talking to them than with others.  I think I’m starting to understand Matthew 9: 9-13 on more of a personal level.

Soup Kitchen

This week we were blessed with many extra volunteers, so I took the opportunity to take a few pictures.  I realized that I have never brought my camera to Soup Kitchen…I guess it was about time!  Enjoy some moments from my Thursdays!

Newbies at my table…

Today at soup kitchen for the homeless I didn’t have the usual group of Russian guys that I normally seem to get. (I jokenly named them the Russian Mofia, as they always sit at the same table with the same group of guys each week, speaking in Russian and basically talking to no one else…even though they are extremely sweet.)  

No, this week I had a group of Sudanese men who all speak Arabic, with one being the official translator for the group (he spoke Hebrew as well).  I was immediately curious as to why they were there when most of the Sudanese do not live in the area.  I didn’t want to just come out and ask them, so I waited till the end of the meal when we were serving them coffee.

I got up the nerve to break out my Hebrew and have a conversation.  It was give and go at times, but mostly it was a great talk.  We talked a bit about our connection of Africa, though I was in the south and they are from the north/central.  He told me a little about their families and why they were in Israel.  Overall, I was glad to have them at my table today (though I must admit I missed my RM a bit).  

For a while now I have been wrestling with the idea of starting a program for Sudanese children.  I know there is a huge need here to help them, but I just didn’t realize how big that need was until after today.  

I left thinking how awesome God works. He takes puzzle pieces, one-by-one, and begins putting them together; even when we have no idea what the puzzle will look like in the end. 

Out of all the tables, they sat at mine.  That’s a puzzle piece if you ask me!

Homeless, but not brainless

Today when I was walking down Ben Yehuda St. I saw something that made me uncomfortable, yet smile a bit inside.

Seeing homeless people asking for money is nothing new; its a sad situation to say the least, which encompasses the city. Today, though, I saw something that I haven’t seen before.  There sitting right next to the most popular ATM on the street was a young homeless woman, probably in her 20’s/30’s asking for money.  As they say in business, location is everything, and this woman definitely picked up on that tid-bit.  There are frequently homeless men sitting outside grocery stores or liquer stores, but never have I seen anyone sitting right beside the ATM. 

My initial response was that of personal discomfort.  I immediately thought, “I’m so glad I don’t have to take any money out today.” This led me to feelings of guilt and remorse for even thinking about myself, when clearly here was a woman with much bigger problems than I have.  My guilt then changed over to feeling sorry for her and her current situation.  I often wonder what choices led to becoming homeless, no matter who I pass on the street.

As I looked back at her I noticed that she was talking to a man who had the courage to make a withdraw from the ATM, and I suddenly smiled.  It wasn’t a smile out of happiness or joy, but it wasn’t an evil smile either.  It was just a smile…knowing that even in the state of life this girl was in, she still had the brains to choose a place where there was definitely a lot what she needed….MONEY!

I don’t know if she was successful or not, but I do know one thing.  There is no way I could ever take out money with a homeless woman sitting right next to me with NOTHING, and walk away without giving her at least SOMETHING.

…Maybe this was what HE thought every time HE walked by someone who was crippled, blind, deaf, or sick.  And HE actually did something about it…   

when will we learn from HIS example??? (especially me)

Only one of many

She is only one of many.  She has a past.  She has a family.  She has a story.  Yet, here she is living on the streets of Tel Aviv. Homeless. Desolate.  

She was a Jew living in Iran, experiencing the hatred thrown her way every day. (Can you only imagine that scenario?)  She wanted a better life.  She came back home to Israel, hoping to receive it, but it wasn’t there. She is one of the people we serve each Friday night as we take food out to the streets.  She is a regular. Most volunteers know her.  

Tonight we cannot go out to feed them.  I wonder what she will do.  I wonder what she will eat.  I wonder if she asks herself why we aren’t there to help.  I wonder if she’ll even notice.

She is only one of many.  


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