Can We Help You? by Travis Sharpe

This past Saturday Hunter and I did something we love to do. We spent the day on the streets interacting with men and women who are experiencing homelessness.

We searched under bridges, in the woods, along railroad tracks and beside a river. We even found a man named Pete who lives in a stable where he used to work. We were in Chattanooga, TN.

Here’s a look at some of the places we went and what we found

We walked along one path in the woods for about a half mile before finding several tents.

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Close to that same area we found a man and woman who were still asleep under a bridge. We stopped and spoke with them for a moment.

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We walked along down a set of old, unused railroad tracks that were grown over with briars. Just a little way down on the right there were two tents set up in the thick brush. No one was home there so we just left tracts and snack packs by the tents.

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This is the little trail that turns off of the railroad tracks and leads back into the brush where the tents are.
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We also found a man named Wayne who was sitting on an old love seat under a bridge where he claims to have spent the last ten years of his life. We met a man named Paul under another bridge beside a river, he told us that he has lived there for a month and a half.

Why were we in Chattanooga?

We were in Chattanooga because we were invited by Roy Harper, the missions pastor at Parkway Baptist Church in the nearby town of Fort Oglethorpe. About five years ago we helped them start an outreach to the homeless in Chattanooga. They call it Bread Of Life.

They have a couple of new people working in that ministry now and Roy wanted us to come share some of our knowledge about street ministry with them. Since I am a hands on kind of person, we spent the entire time going from one place to another searching for people and helping them when we found them.

It really blessed my heart to see the two men who have joined the Bread of Life ministry so passionate about sharing the gospel with the homeless. I believe they will accomplish great things!

What did we share?

It’s amazing what kind of little things you can learn over the years. I’ve been visiting homeless camps since 1996 and I am always learning something new myself.

It’s always a privilege for me to share that knowledge with others who are passionate about helping the homeless.

As we made our visits and discovered the homeless camps, I shared a lot of ideas and practical strategies with the guys. Just a few of the things we talked about were.

  • How to approach a homeless camp without startling people of putting yourself at risk.
  • Where to look for homeless camps and how to find trails that lead to them.
  • The real need for purpose in a homeless ministry.
  • Several ideas for weekly interaction with the people they are trying to minister to.
  • The right way to address people who you meet under bridges and out on the streets.
  • How to recognize signs of drug and alcohol use (so you can be safe as you talk to them).
  • How to be a friend to people who are homeless.

Throughout the day we talked about a ton of other topics. The best way I know how to explain things like this is in the moment, right there where people live and are in need. Instruction seems to work best when you are hands on.

My son Hunter had a lot of helpful input as well. He is only 14 years old but you would be amazed at what he has learned and the wisdom God has given him about all this in those years.

How we can help you?

We went to Chattanooga because we were invited. We have helped churches in lots of other cities as well. Personally, I love the adventure of going to a new city and seeing what I can “uncover”. Even in small towns you can discover people living in some crazy places, you just have to know where to look.

Helping ministries learn more about the homeless people in their city is one of the things we do while we are here in the U.S. So if you have a ministry (or want to have one), we’d love to spend a day helping you too.

All you need to do is get in touch with me and we’ll work  out a date and time. It will be an adventure!

How to contact us

If you are interested in having us come help you, all you need to do is send me an email at travis@unsheltered.org. Tell me a little about yourself and what you need and I will contact you! Easy huh?

I’m looking forward to helping. Together we can win people to Christ and make a difference in the lives of people who need compassion.

See you soon,

Travis

P.S. On August 8th I will be teaching a full class on all this stuff and much more in Rising Sun, MD. Can you join us? Visit this page for more information.