The date was July 5, 2013. I was chaperoning a youth group trip through church when I met Donovan. He was a homeless man at the soup kitchen we were serving at. Before this day I had never come in close contact with a poor person but here it happened. Donovan and I talked. I asked questions and listened and I saw in him not as a homeless man but as a brother and a friend. In this moment I was changed. I saw in Donovan, my love, my Lord, Jesus. Since that day I have never seen Donovan again but I think of him and pray for him often.
I went home and was consumed with the thought of the poor and needed to be near them. So I started to volunteer at a local homeless shelter, and every week I went and met with the people there and got to know them. I saw Christ in them also. This weekly visit was the highlight of my week. I waited in anticipation every day for it to return again. Before this my relationship with Christ was just turned inward on myself, me and Jesus. But now with the poor all that I give is doubled and returned back as a gift and given again with no end in sight.
Why all of this now? Well this was all unearthed in me by the help of my good friend Luke Bolle and his sister Susanna. I sat with them to unpack all that we had heard at FMC's Proclaim conference. In this Susanna asked a question "How do you go from a common catholic who loves Jesus to desiring to become a missionary?" So we talked it out and for awhile we had no good answers until we got on the topic of the poor.
The poor change everything. In the poor you get to see not only the face of Christ but also have the opportunity to give to another who can not repay you even if they wanted to. And this is what Jesus did for us. You cannot both read the Bible everyday and spend time with the poor at least once a week and not be transformed into a new creation in Christ and become missionary.
So I encourage you to become Real Friends with the poor today and see the face of Jesus! ~Taylor