My best friend

My best friend was a homeless man.

“Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has no place to lay his head.’” (Luke 9:58)

When Gene Barnes, Director, Mission Norman, heard the call to provide shelter for the homeless he tells of wanting to run from the responsibility:  Perhaps he didn’t feel qualified or maybe he was aware of the sort of prejudice some of us harbor against our homeless brothers and sisters.  Maybe he caught a glimpse of the outrage he would face from neighbors who would vehemently protest a facility to house homeless people in their neighborhood.

Good reasons, all.

But he didn’t run.  He persevered. He is finishing.

Jesus didn’t finish with the statement of his condition, either. He finished with a two word “handbook” on how to solve all of the ills of the world of his time and forever more:  “Follow me.” (Luke 9:59)

That’s what Mr. Barnes did.  Setting all else aside, he followed Jesus.

Now, after almost eight years of searching for a site, working with municipalities, neighborhoods, volunteers and fundraising, Mission Norman is building the first of five four-plexes to house homeless families with children.

Mr. Barnes advice to us?  I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if you stopped by to ask.  He and his wife Malinda volunteer at the Mission five days a week when they are not teaching a Bible Study at one of the Mission’s eighteen or so house Churches.

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