Tag Archives: homeless man

out of the mouths of babes…..

from the Independent



Josiah Duncan may have struggled to fully comprehend the plight of the homeless man he encountered outside an Alabama restaurant.

But he realised, instantly, that he and his mother could help the man by buying him a meal.

The boy’s mother, Ava Faulks, told WAFF that the youngster would not stop asking her questions when they spotted a dishevelled man outside the Waffle House restaurant in the city of Prattville.
Ms Faulks said the youngster asked: “What does homeless mean? Where is his house? Where is his family? Where does he keep his groceries?”

After learning all about the hardship so many people face, Josiah demanded his mother pay for the man’s meal.

“He came in and sat down, and nobody really waited on him,” Ms Fault added. “So Josiah jumped up and asked him if he needed a menu because you can’t order without one.”

The unnamed man originally insisted on simply ordering the cheapest thing on the menu, but Ms Faulks and her son were adamant he should get a good meal.

Before the man could eat, the five-year-old insisted on saying a prayer with the man.

“Watching my son touch the 11 people in that Waffle House tonight will be forever one of the greatest accomplishments as a parent I’ll ever get to witness,” she said.

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The Homeless Guy & the Three Musicians

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More Blessed to Give……


Josh Paler Lin – who is better known for his video pranks –  approaches the grey-haired homeless man, who is begging on the side of a highway. He gives him $100 in cash — much to the man’s shock. The man asks if he can hug Paler Lin, who lets him.

But Paler Lin had a hidden agenda. He wanted to see what the man, named Thomas, would do with the cash. Certainly he isn’t the only one to wonder if homeless people mostly spend their money on booze, cigarettes, drugs, etc.

Paler Lin’s camera guy follows Thomas as he leaves his begging spot and — sure enough — walks straight into a liquor store.

When he comes out holding a couple of large black bags, Thomas does seem to have lived up to the stereotype.

But as Paler Lin and his cohort follow the man into a park, they witness something astonishing. Take a look:



Of course, the video could be a set up — the whole plotline is almost too perfect. The way he is mostly concerned about feeding his fellow homeless? The way he doesn’t even know them?

Others would say it’s pretty low to follow the guy around. It was his money to do what he pleased with it. And what if he had bought liquor? Might this not stop others from giving? Would he have put that on YouTube as well?

But! Whether or not the video was 100 percent spontaneous, the homeless guy does appear to be very real, and Paler Lin has set up an online fund for him, which has already raised $21,000, more than double its goal.

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The Piano Man


A homeless man who says he cannot read music and has had no formal musical training has stunned staff and customers at a Vancouver second hand store with his virtuoso piano playing.

With severely frostbitten fingers from years of living in the cold, David Allen Welsh, 50, pounds out spontaneous almost classical sounding performances on an old piano at Second Hand Solutions, a thrift store and coffee shop run by Open House Ministries.

Staff at the store say Welsh, who has been homeless since he was 6, has been coming in once or twice a month for at least a year, each time impressing customers with his piano improvisations, even moving them to tears.

“It’s amazing it’s really beautiful,” says assistant manager Rebecca Gore. “I showed a video of him playing to a piano teacher and she pointed out immediately that he’s using his left hand as a primary and his right hand to play the melody.”

Welsh says he has no control over his playing and that it’s as if the music takes hold of him. He’s never taken a piano lesson and can’t read a note.

“I don’t know how to play music, but I like what I hear in my head,” he told ABC News affiliate KATU . “Sometimes I don’t even know what key I’m pushing. My eyes aren’t even open. I’m just letting the music play the music.”

Gore says often people will come into the store and have a go on the piano, but that Welsh’s playing is truly spectacular. She is especially impressed considering the damage to his fingers which are numb and purple.

One customer, James Maynard, who lives next door and regularly comes in to the shop for coffee, welled up with emotion when he heard Welsh play for the first time, saying he had never heard anything like it.

“He started to play and I choked on my coffee and it started coming out of my nose,” Maynard, who is a longtime classical music enthusiast, told ABC News.”I had tears coming to my eyes when I saw his fingers go down one end of the piano to the other.”

Welsh was born in Iowa and raised in the Dakotas where rode around on trains for a while, he told KATU. He discovered his gift at an early age, but has only been able to play on borrowed pianos at different homeless shelters and stores throughout the Pacific Northwest where he moved more than a decade ago.

Welsh says sharing his music has kept him going through tough times, and that it’s as if his fingers are moved by a divine power.

“My custom is to sit and close my eyes and say, ‘Dad, do what you do, it’s your gift’,” Welsh says. The grateful recipients of Welsh’s playing agree.

“It was like the holy spirit came through the building,” says Maynard. “It’s a joy that surpasses all understanding, that’s what I felt. A lot of people in the room had the same spiritual experience.”

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December 3, 2013 · 10:41


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November 25, 2013 · 08:40

Tennessee pastor goes undercover as homeless man for week


Jul 8, 2013  
The Rev. Willie Lyle rests along a curb in downtown Clarksville. The Sango United Methodist Church pastor went undercover living on the streets for a week. / Greg Williamson / Gannett Tennessee

 By Tim Parrish, Gannett Tennessee

CLARKSVILLE, TENN. – A pastor telling his or her congregation to love others and look out for the welfare of those less fortunate is not a major sermon. It’s said every Sunday from the pulpit by preachers, pastors and ministers all across America. But has it been said so often that people have quit listening or tuned out the message of “living like Jesus?”

Rev. Willie Lyle, newly-appointed pastor of Sango United Methodist Church, has delivered sermons over the years that challenged congregations to demonstrate the gospel of Christ. However, that is not what he decided to do on Sunday, June 23, his first day as Sango’s new pastor. He did something different. Preaching the gospel of Christ was part of his sermon, but this time he spoke from an entirely different point of view.

A message in a dream

Three days after receiving the news in April of his appointment as Sango’s pastor, he was awakened by a dream at 2 a.m. This dream was different from any in the past. In this dream, God told Willie to do something very specific, and God promised Willie if he would do this, then He would provide for Willie and protect him.

There was a problem. What God asked Willie to do was not something Willie wanted to do, and he had no interest in doing it. It was clearly out of his comfort zone.

In that dream, God told Willie that he needed to live on the streets of Clarksville as a homeless and hungry person. He challenged Willie to experience firsthand just what it was like to have nothing – no home, no money, no friends, no food on even a semi-regular basis, no nothing.

Essentially, what God was saying to Willie was, “I hear you preach the word of God and share the message of Christ. Now, I want you to actually live it. And I want to hear how you liked having nothing and being treated with disrespect and disdain by almost everybody. I’m not finished. I want you to tell your new congregation about your experience and challenge them to make a difference in the world, beginning right here in Clarksville.”

 According to Willie Lyle, his conversation with God was pretty much a one-way conversation. God talked…Willie listened. “I didn’t find any comfort in what I was hearing. I definitely wasn’t comfortable with the idea of living on the streets, even if for only five days.”

Lyle continued and said, “My faith is incredibly strong. My relationship with God is the most important thing in my life. Without my faith, I am nothing and I am of no use to my family and others. But I was willing to do what God wanted me do.”

He also commented, “You know, life isn’t always comfortable. Jesus wasn’t comfortable on the cross.”

Not comfortable

Pastor Willie’s wife, Suzette, dropped him off in downtown Clarksville early Monday morning, June 17, and he lived on the street through the morning of Friday, June 21. In those four and a half days, he learned a great deal about the homeless, the working poor who face hunger daily and those in need of spiritual and emotional help. It was not comfortable.

There was something else Willie learned, and it was not comfortable at all. He learned from firsthand experience just how many people who are fortunate in life look down upon and ignore the homeless, the hungry and the poor without ever taking the time to learn their story. “Generally speaking, people are not kind to the homeless,” he observed.

“I know there are people who live on the street and choose to do so. I am talking about the homeless and poor who find themselves in circumstances beyond their control and they have nothing,” he explained. “Sadly, sometimes they don’t even have hope.

“They most definitely want food and shelter, but they also seek the food and shelter found in the message of Christ. I’m not sure churches are addressing those needs. Actually, I believe churches could learn a lot from the homeless and hungry if they were willing to open their eyes to the truth.”

Life on the street

Once on the street, Lyle learned quickly some important things needed for survival, including who to trust and not trust, where to get meals, where to sleep so that he would not be arrested by police and where to “hang out.”

“People on the street don’t trust you or talk with you at first. They want to know who you are and why you are homeless. It’s not that they are rude, but just very direct.

“Much of what I learned, I already knew from my years as a pastor, but I wanted to hear it from the homeless. I learned immediately that Loaves and Fishes served a meal every day. That meal was delicious, and the volunteers were great.”

Something he was not very familiar with was a Clarksville program called the Food Initiative. It is a group of teens who are involved in different food projects around town. When he ate at Loaves and Fishes on Wednesday, volunteers from the Food Initiative were serving meals. Two young men were especially impressive.

“These two high school boys called me ‘sir,’ introduced themselves to me, shook my hand and wanted to know how I was doing. They treated me with respect and dignity. These are our future civic leaders and church leaders. Each had a servant attitude, not a judgmental attitude.”

Other experiences

Although he never made it to Manna Café, other homeless said that agency was the best place to go for assistance. He also heard about the Old Firehouse. He walked there one morning from downtown to get breakfast. He noticed there were only five people there and wondered why.

“After arriving and being handed a bunch of paperwork to complete and submit, I decided maybe the paperwork requirements kept people away. It was a hassle. I did get to take a shower and was grateful for that.”

Lyle had a great experience at The Well, a program located on Union Street sponsored by the Church of Christ at Trenton Crossing. “Every Wednesday evening, they provide a great meal, an uplifting message and you are accepted there. You can even get a haircut at The Well. Those folks care.”

A better understanding

Remarking on what he now understands so much better, “Homeless people walk slowly, and now I know why. They physically hurt all over from sleeping on concrete, the ground or on wooden floors. They don’t own Air Jordons and thick socks. People should try sleeping on a wooden floor sometime. It’s painful.”

Something that Willie noticed during his week on the street was the large number of families who battled hunger every day. Most are referred to as America’s working poor. They simply do not have enough money to feed their children on a regular basis.

“I met one man who cleared $125 each week in his job, but his rent was $100. He had to use the remainder for bills and food. I sure don’t know anybody willing to trade places with him.”

A one-of-a-kind sermon

Throughout the week, Willie kept a small journal of what he was experiencing. These notes become the foundation for the sermon he delivered at Sango UMC on June 23, a sermon that caught the congregation off-guard. Only four people at the church knew what Willie was doing.

 Early morning on June 23, Willie lay under a tree on the church lawn covered up by a big overcoat. He still had not shaved or combed his hair. He wondered how many people would approach him and offer him food, or a place to sit inside an air conditioned room, or just see how they could help. Twenty people spoke to him and offered some type of assistance.

 The sermon title was “The Least Used Parts of the Body” and based on I Corinthians 12:12-15. According to Pastor Lyle, “Often the least used parts of the body are the ones that mean the most, like our heart and mind. We need to understand that there are no small or least used parts in the body of Christ.

“Too many of us only want to serve God one hour each week. That doesn’t cut it. That is not God’s plan.”

While he preached, his daughter-in-law cut his hair and his daughter helped shave off his scruffy beard. He changed shoes, and beneath the overcoat, he was wearing his Sunday clothes. He put on a tie and his suit coat, all the while continuing to preach his message. Before the 200 people gathered that morning, he went from looking like a homeless person to the new pastor of the congregation.

“This was not some grandstand show on my part. I wanted everybody to know what I had been through, what I had learned and the physical and emotional discomfort I experienced and that I am still dealing with. And I made sure to mention more than once that Christ was not comfortable on the cross.”

‘Be part of the solutions’

Willie got the attention of those present, and some were uncomfortable. “If I made someone squirm, then so be it. Sango UMC is not going to be a congregation that talks about issues and solutions. We are going to be part of the solutions to the problems we face in our community. We are going to get our hands dirty as we live like Jesus and help others. Talking is easy. Doing is harder, and sometimes it is really uncomfortable.”

At the end of the sermon, Lyle issued his challenge. Part of that challenge called for the congregation to “do our mission,” and service to others is going to be a major part of that.

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