When you see a person “flying a sign” at an intersection, their homelessness is palpable: perched between lanes of speeding cars, out in all weather, they announce to any passer-by their need for help. + And yet, if you are privileged to receive an invitation to a homeless camp, you may be surprised to find so many signs of home-making. Makeshift kitchens where every tool has its place. Tents arranged carefully around a simple hearth-fire. Rules (spoken and unspoken) about what is and isn’t allowed. + This photo is from early 2016. Steven and I, along with a few others, had been up since the wee hours of the morning, participating in a “point in time” count, which is a method cities often use to estimate how many men and women are experiencing homelessness in their area. + I was struck by two things during this census. First, I was ashamed to see how much more cheerful the folks we met in the woods were than *I* would have been had someone come to my home at 5 in the morning. + The second memory I carry from this day is the area rug you can see in this photo. Someone went to the trouble to rescue this rug from a dumpster and haul it deep into the urban woods. Its message was clear: this is a place someone cares about. A place of settledness. A place where a human person lives. + I saw so much determination and hope in that rug. It was the first of many lessons that every creature made in God’s image is a home-maker, world-builder. That impulse can be frustrated, misdirected, and crippled, but it is hard–perhaps impossible–to destroy completely.
People who are faithful to God’s call can change the world. Sometimes that faithful work means years of quiet, even solitary obedience. But sometimes it means actively welcoming others whose pilgrim journey is taking them in the same direction. + Last night our dear friends and mentors Alan and Tricia Graham stopped for dinner on their way out of town. The Grahams founded Mobile Loaves & Fishes (@mobileloaves) more than twenty years ago, and the work they have done for the homeless in Austin has inspired communities around the world. + More than a decade ago, their “yes” changed the life of my husband, who had been called by God to farm with the poor, and was looking for a home for that work. When Steven and I met and married a few years later, we began our life together at Community First! Village, the master-planned community for the chronically homeless. It’s not an understatement to say that our lives–our marriage–owe much to the faithfulness of the Grahams. + As Steven and I prepare for a new season (sign up for our newsletter at the link in bio if you want to hear more about that), I’ve been thinking a lot about our days at the Village. The five years we spent there were homecoming, crisis, and pilgrimage all at once. It was the field in which I found a pearl of great price – a picture of what it means to meet Christ by welcoming those the world has rejected. + We’ve moved away from the Village two years ago, and I’m ready to start telling some of the stories from my time there. I’ll start a highlight that I’m calling “Hospitality on Mission” if you want to the find them all. + In the meantime, may you have the grace to be faithful today to the thing God has given you, no matter how small or hidden it might seem.
2 14-oz cans of nonfat and low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable stock
1 15-oz can of pumpkin
1 cup 1% milk
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
Melt butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onion for 3-4 minutes then add flour, curry, cumin and nutmeg and saute for 1 minute.
Add sweet potato, salt, chicken broth and pumpkin and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered for about 20-25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are cooked through and softened. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes to cool.
Place half of the pumpkin mixture in a blender and process until smooth. Using a strainer, pour soup back into pan. Repeat with rest of soup.
Raise heat to medium then stir in milk and cook for 5 minutes or until soup is heated through.