10 Years Ago: “40 Days of Haven” 2012

10 Years ago, I decided to live on the streets of San Antonio during the Lenten season to learn about homelessness in San Antonio and how I could better understand the community through acts of solidarity. I was a youth pastor at Trinity Baptist Church, and at the time, the congregation was grappling how to serve the unhoused population at their newly opened TriPoint Community Center. I had very little understanding of the realities of homelessness and wanted better understand the community before I formed any opinion of services. Little did I know how formative the 40+ days would end up becoming!

The journey was not perfect but It was a life changing event that unexpectedly changed the direction of my life, ministry, and calling. I have the privilege of now looking back on those days, the relationships formed, and lessons learned from a much different perspective.

This year, 2022, I am going to post each daily “40 Days of Haven” blog post on my personal blog www.gavinrogers.com during lent unedited with only some slight name changes for clarity and then post a current reflection. (In 2012, I was still protecting some identities to respect their own story.). I hope you enjoy, read with lots of grace and forgiveness, and reflect with me during this Lenten Season of 2022. -gavin

Sitting at a picnic table in Prospects Courtyard at Haven for Hope, Gavin Rogers, youth minister at Trinity Baptist Church, talks with a homeless friend he made on the streets. Rogers has given up sleeping at home for Lent and spends nights with the homeless, on the streets and at Haven for Hope. Tuesday, April 3, 2012. Bob Owen/San Antonio Express-News.

Holy Week 2013

For Holy Week 2013 I went back to the streets of San Antonio and lived “under the stars” with my good friend Lorenza Andrade Smith.  She is an ordained Methodist minister in the Southwest Texas Conference and has been living among the homeless for over 2 years.   She carries no money, lives completely outside, and has no health care.   (She only carries a bag, sleeping bag, a communion chalice, a phone, and a few food gift cards she receives from givers.)

She has taught me a lot about “living among” and how to care for the poor without harming their pride, esteem, integrity, and humanization.  She totally has given up everything to live with the community she is called to live among.

Going to back to spend the nights living on the streets of San Antonio was like a dream in someways.  It did not take me long to remember the smells, sounds, and feelings on experiences on the streets.

During the next few posts I will recall my journey back to the streets of San Antonio.

-Gavin

Homeless?

A friend of mine, named Cowboy, told me that “nobody on the streets should be called homeless.  Our home is where we lay our head.  That could be the shelter, a bridge, or a friend’s floor.”  It sounds cliche…but home really is where you make it.

I keep using homeless to define my friends…

What is another word we could use?

 

Back Home…

I am back in my home.
Laying in my bed.
And I can’t sleep.

Other than my dog…it’s extremely quiet around here.

Almost too quiet.

It seems so strange to be back. I was always outdoors. Out in the open. Now I’m in a box of a room. It seems so small. Yet it’s big.

But I’m not going to lie. The bed is awesome.

Attending Easter lunch at Jesse’s house was fantastic. It was great to see his family and learn more about his life.

For dinner, Jesse, my parents, and my local friends had dinner at my place. I thought it might be awkward to have both come together. But it was amazing.

God bridges those gaps when we allow him to…

Here’s the reality.

I got to go home to a bed.

Over 3,500 people tonight did not have a Lenten timetable to be on the streets.

It seems wrong. Was it a simulation?

I hope not.

Risen

Mark 16:1-8

The Resurrection

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they could embalm him. Very early on Sunday morning, as the sun rose, they went to the tomb. They worried out loud to each other, “Who will roll back the stone from the tomb for us?”

Then they looked up, saw that it had been rolled back—it was a huge stone—and walked right in. They saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed all in white. They were completely taken aback, astonished.

He said, “Don’t be afraid. I know you’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He’s been raised up; he’s here no longer. You can see for yourselves that the place is empty. Now—on your way. Tell his disciples and Peter that he is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You’ll see him there, exactly as he said.”

They got out as fast as they could, beside themselves, their heads swimming. Stunned, they said nothing to anyone.

Christianity started once the Mary’s announced “Christ is Risen.”

The good thing is that we don’t have to be afraid or trembling. Christ is ahead of us in Galilee. Already at work!

In Your life
In My life

All we need to do is follow the Risen Lord!

Our fear as been turned into hope.
Our death has been turned into life!

Christ is Risen
He is Risen Indeed

Today. Jesse came with me to church. He was famous. People were glad to get to know him and say thank you for looking after me.

Today I will go eat with Jesse’s family and get to know his mother. I cannot wait! Tonight, I have Easter dinner with my family and friends at my house!

This experience has been not about me. It’s first about Jesus Christ. And Second, it’s about guys like Jesse.

I am a fallen person who makes mistakes everyday. Everyday. I Made plenty of mistakes during this journey.

The good news:

God forgives.
He is Risen.

——-
I will share more about the end of my journey this week. Thanks for following.

Happy Easter.