The Man Under the Bridge

Last week a group of people from our church took a trip to the Los Angeles Dream Center.

Founded in 1994, The Dream Center is a volunteer driven organization that finds and fills the needs of over 80,000 individuals and families each month.

Their men’s and women’s discipleship programs offer a free opportunity for people to get clean and sober. Participants live on site at the former Queen of Angels hospital near Echo Park and serve in various capacities as they relearn what it means to be human again.

They also provide housing for emancipated youth, victims of sex trafficking and for families with nowhere else to stay.

Our team from NWLife served for a week with the Dream Center crew and had the opportunity to work with them as they loved, fed, and ministered to their city.

We loaded food trucks, distributed food in neighborhoods, cleaned dirty streets, and served hot dogs on skid row (a five block area of downtown LA where 5,000+ sleep each night).

I’ve been to the Dream Center many times over the last 12 years and every time I walk away inspired to love people in practical and meaningful ways.

underOn our last day at the Dream Center our team had the opportunity to clean the streets surrounding the Dream Center. As we walked through the disheveled city blocks we met a man who moved to Los Angeles from Wichita, KS named Bill.

Bill lives under a bridge a couple blocks from the Dream Center. The area where he slept was neat and tidy, but there was a lot of trash nearby that needed to be cleaned. He was excited when we offered to do it for him. He even loaned us his broom to help out.

Bill gives a name and face to homelessness. He’s more than a number. He’s more than another statistic. Bill matters to God. Jesus gave his life for him and loves him dearly.

It was an honor and privilege to serve Bill. We got to be “Jesus with skin on” and show Bill that love.

Hey, next time we go to the Dream Center, you should totally come.

Good Distractions

Stop texts stop wrecks. That’s the National Highway Travel Safety Administration’s current slogan.

Maybe you’ve heard the commercials before while driving… and it reminds you to put your phone down.

I certainly agree with the concept. It’s a corny slogan, but an important thing to try and stop.

Distracted driving is dangerous and deadly.

The truth is distraction sometimes gets a bad rap.

I think distraction can be incredibly helpful.
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Asking the Right Questions

“When life hands you lemons make lemonade.”

I hate that saying. There’s truth in it, but it comes off shallow.

Of course it’s meant to encourage people when times are tough, but what about people that don’t like lemonade? What are they supposed to do?

Difficult times are sure to come no matter who you are. The question is how do you get through? How will cope with when times are tough?
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An Ode to Olive

At just under five feet (4’ 10” but please don’t tell her) she stands taller than nearly anyone I know.

She is the matriarch of our big, fun-loving Catholic family.

My grandmother turned 88 this month and she deserves to be celebrated.

Olive Alzera Morte was born in the little town of Paia on Maui on October 8, 1926. She was the ninth of nine children; she was raised in paradise before it was truly recognized.

Sadly, her father the hard working sugar plantation manager died when she was only eight years old.
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