Next Walk to Siloam
February 25 – 28, 2010
MOSES DELIVERED THE ISRAELITES OUT OF EGYPT. HE WAS THE SON OF A HEBREW, BUT HE WAS RAISED AS AN EGYPTIAN, THE SON OF PHARAOH. OUT OF LOYALTY TO HIS PEOPLE, HE KILLED AN EGYPTIAN WHOM HE SAW BEATING ONE OF THE HEBREW SLAVES UNMERCIFULLY. AFRAID OF THE PUNISHMENT FOR HIS CRIME, MOSES RAN AND HID IN THE DESERT AND LIVED AMONG A PEOPLE WHO WERE NOT HIS OWN. FORTY YEARS LATER, GOD APPEARED TO MOSES IN A BURNING BUSH AND CALLED HIM TO RETURN TO ISRAEL TO DELIVER HIS PEOPLE FROM SLAVERY.
MOSES LED THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL TO THE PROMISED LAND IN ELEVEN DAYS. BUT THEY REFUSED TO GO IN THE PROMISED LAND BECAUSE THEY WERE AFRAID TO FIGHT THE PEOPLE THAT LIVED THERE. AS A RESULT OF THEIR FEAR, GOD SENT THEM BACK INTO THE WILDERNESS TO WANDER FOR ANOTHER FORTY YEARS. AFTER FORTY YEARS, GOD ALLOWED THE ISRAELITES TO GO IN TO THE LAND HE PROMISED THEM.
DAVID WAS A YOUNG SHEPHERD BOY WHOM GOD HAD CHOSEN TO BE KING OVER ISRAEL. HE BECAME FAMOUS WHEN HE FOUGHT AND DEFEATED THE GIANT GOLIATH AND BECAME A SERVANT IN KING SAUL’S COURT. BUT KING SAUL BECAME JEALOUS OF HIM AND TRIED TO KILL HIM. DAVID, THE MAN CHOSEN TO BE KING, HAD TO RUN FOR HIS LIFE AND LIVE IN CAVES IN ORDER TO HIDE FROM THE ANGER OF KING SAUL. EVENTUALLY, KING SAUL WAS KILLED IN BATTLE, AND DAVID BECAME NOT ONLY KING OVER ISRAEL BUT AN ANCESTOR OF THE MESSIAH.
MANY YEARS LATER, WHEN ISRAEL HAD FALLEN INTO SIN, THE PROPHET ELIJAH PROPHESIED THAT IT WOULD NOT RAIN IN ISRAEL FOR THREE YEARS. DURING THOSE THREE YEARS, ELIJAH LIVED IN THE WILDERNESS BY A BROOK. GOD PROVIDED FOR ALL OF HIS NEEDS THERE. HE WAS FED BY RAVENS WHO BROUGHT HIM BREAD AND MEAT EVERY DAY AND HE DRANK FROM THE BROOK. AT THE END OF THE THREE YEARS, ELIJAH CONFRONTED AHAB, THE KING OF ISRAEL, AND BROUGHT THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL BACK TO GOD.
OVER FOUR HUNDRED YEARS LATER, GOD SENT ANOTHER PROPHET, JOHN THE BAPTIZER, INTO THE WILDERNESS TO ANNOUNCE TO PEOPLE THAT THE MESSIAH WAS COMING. HE LIVED IN THE WILDERNESS DRESSED IN CAMEL HAIR. HE ATE WILD HONEY AND LOCUSTS. MANY, MANY PEOPLE CAME TO HEAR HIM PREACH AND BE BAPTIZED. JOHN BAPTIZED EVEN JESUS, THE SON OF GOD, WHOM HE ANNOUNCED AS THE LAMB WHO WOULD TAKE AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD.
JESUS, THE SON OF GOD HIMSELF, WAS ALSO HOMELESS. HE WAS BORN ON THE STREETS OF BETHLEHEM AND LAID IN A FEED TROUGH FOR A BED BECAUSE THERE WAS NO ROOM FOR HIM AND HIS FAMILY AT THE INN ON THE NIGHT OF HIS BIRTH. AFTER HE WAS BAPTIZED AS AN ADULT, HE SPENT THREE YEARS WANDERING FROM VILLAGE TO VILLAGE, PREACHING ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF GOD, CASTING OUT DEMONS, HEALING THE SICK AND PERFORMING MIRACLES. DURING THAT TIME, HIS DISCIPLES AND OTHER FOLLOWERS WERE ALSO HOMELESS.
A STORY IN THE BIBLE SAYS THAT ONE MAN ASKED JESUS IF HE COULD BE ONE OF HIS FOLLOWERS. JESUS REPLIED, “FOXES HAVE HOLES IN THE GROUND AND BIRDS OF THE AIR HAVE NESTS IN THE TREES. BUT THE SON OF MAN HAS NOWHERE TO LAY HIS HEAD.”
SO YOU SEE — IT IS NOT RIGHT FOR ANYONE, INCLUDING YOURSELF, TO CONDEMN YOU FOR BEING HOMELESS. GREAT MEN OF THE BIBLE: ABRAHAM, MOSES, KING DAVID, ELIJAH, JOHN THE BAPTIST, EVEN JESUS HIMSELF AND HIS DISCIPLES WERE ALL HOMELESS AT SOME POINT IN THEIR LIVES. WHETHER YOU ARE HOMELESS IS A MATTER ENTIRELY BETWEEN YOU AND GOD. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO CONSIDER THIS QUESTION THIS WEEKEND, “WHAT IS GOD TRYING TO TEACH YOU OR PREPARE YOU FOR DURING THIS PERIOD OF HOMELESSNESS IN YOUR LIFE.
Walk aims to nourish homeless spiritually
By Lakendra Lewis Caller-Times
June 11, 2005
When Tim Scranton arrived in Corpus Christi two years ago, he was running from years of drugs and alcohol abuse. Needing to distance himself from a bad relationship, Scranton, 48, had traveled from Fort Worth in the hopes of finding a job. But with no money, no car and no place to go, Scranton found himself at Search for Truth Mission, a homeless shelter for men run by local community businessmen.
He had been there a day when a staff member asked him if he would like to go on a “spiritual walk.” “I thought we would walk around town handing out food and blankets to people on the street,” Scranton said.
“But that walk, other than the birth of my son, was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I walked on air,” he said. “I’m still walking on air.”
That walk was the Walk to Siloam, a three-day Christian retreat for homeless men 18 and older.
The retreat’s goal is to teach men how to live within the homeless community, while spiritually nurturing them toward a deeper relationship with Christ.
“Everybody’s lacking something in their heart that God wants them to do,” said Tony Reyes, director of Mission 911, a homeless shelter and nonprofit organization. “This walk gets them closer to God and closer to knowing what he wants them to do in their lives.”
Craig Adams, an attorney, started Siloam, which means “sent” in Hebrew, with Reyes in May 2004.
Adams said the ministry, which uses movies, exercise and intense personal interaction as spiritual tools, is geared to bring the church to homeless men who don’t feel comfortable going to church.
“A lot of church people are very judgmental toward the homeless,” Adams said. “We’re trying to make these men realize that they don’t need someone’s permission to love Jesus. They can love Him where they are, the way they are.”
Individuals, churches and several homeless shelters support the walk through volunteerism and sponsorship. The sponsorship fee for one homeless man is $120, which helps pay food, lodging and transportation expenses for the retreat. Men are referred for the walk by participating shelters.
“This gives homeless people hope that they don’t have to be homeless all their lives,” said Siloam team member Jeff Watson of Watson Pipe Co., who sits on the board of directors at Search for Truth Mission. “It gives them light at the end of the tunnel.”
The retreat’s volunteer staff members said they hope to gather more shelters, churches and volunteer sponsorship for future walks. Team members said a Siloam-like retreat for homeless women already is in the planning stages.
Watson said the walk has spurred homeless men to reconcile with their families, set goals, find employment and even get married.
Robert Adams, 40, who attended the walk for the first time last month, said he has found an inner peace and confidence that he didn’t have before coming to Mission 911 three weeks ago.
“I’m not fighting myself,” said Adams, who is looking to start taking GED classes soon. “Instead of blowing things out of proportion, I just put it in God’s hands.”
Scranton, who returned to the walk this year as a speaker and team leader, said his experience empowered him to find a construction job. He also got an apartment and a car.
In addition to Scranton, nine of the men who attended the May 2004 retreat came back this year to help as team leaders. Some of them still live and work in shelters, while others have moved out.
Tony Reyes, director of Mission 911 homeless shelter, leads a discussion about the Walk to Siloam. Reyes and lawyer Craig Adams started the walk to help homeless men grow spiritually.
To become a volunteer and/or sponsor for Walk to Siloam, contact Tony Reyes at 882-0911.
Robert Adams is among the men who took part in May in the Walk to Siloam, a three-day Christian retreat for homeless men 18 and older. Adams says the experience caused him to be more positive.