A while back someone told me that there was a group of homeless people who hung out under the bridge around 83rd Ave. and Union Hills… less than a mile down the road from Sunrise Mountain High School where Access Church meets. And in the months since then, I’ve driven over that overpass many times and wondered if that was true.
Today, as I was coming up on that bridge, I felt like God was telling me, ‘Pull over and go down there.’ So I pulled into a parking lot nearby and parked. As I turned the car off I asked, ‘God, what am I supposed to do if there are homeless people there? I don’t have any money or even a Bible!’ But then I had a strong impression of God saying, ‘Just go down and ask if they need anything.’
So I side-stepped my way down the embankment to the bottom of the ravine under the overpass. As I scanned back and forth, it seemed empty. But just as I was about to walk back up I stopped…because I did smell something. Someone was definitely smoking pot and they were definitely close by. I took a few steps further and there just on the other side of a tree, was a man sitting on an overturned shopping cart, smoking away.
I took a quick breath and walked up to him. He was startled for a moment, but quickly recovered as I said, ‘Hi’ and told him my name. Then the 40-ish looking guy in a sweatshirt and jeans shook my hand and said his name was Mike. I said, ‘Mike, I know this might sound a little weird, but as I was driving along I got the impression that I was supposed to pull over, come down here and ask you if you need anything. So… is there anything I can help you with?’ I was expecting Mike to respond with a need for food or money or something, but he said, ‘Well, actually, I’m O.K. I’ve got some money and I’ve got about $70 of food stamps, and I’ve got a tent to live in. So I’ve pretty much got everything I need.’
For a moment I thought, ‘God- he says he doesn’t need anything, what am I doing down here?’ But I just kept talking to him, and before too long he asked, ‘So…are you like, a man of God?’ To which I said, ‘Well, actually, yeah, I have a relationship with Christ.’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’ve had a lot of people preach at me over the years, but I’m not really a religious person.’ I said, ‘Yeah, me neither. I’m not about religion, but I am about a relationship with Jesus Christ.’ And from there I just shared the simple message of Christ’s saving love from John 3:16, that ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not die, but have eternal life.’
He paused for a moment and he seemed like he was processing what I said, but then he ended up changing the subject and asking about what church I was a part of. So I told him about Access Church, and invited him to come to our worship experiences just up the road at Sunrise Mountain High School. He said he might come and check it out. At that point, two more homeless men appeared, and were introduced to me as Nick and Bill. I asked if they would mind if I came back and visited once in a while, and they said that would be fine, pointing out they usually were under the bridge one street down if I wanted to find them.
So I left Mike and his friends there under the bridge, still not sure exactly why God lead me down there. But I do know that I’ll be back, and I feel pretty certain that He will show me…