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God’s Shalom For All of Us, Everywhere, Every Time
Published on: August 25, 2023

Dale and his family moved away from the cemetery on South 10th street and went further up the mountain. We only found this out when we texted to tell them we were coming with supplies. Dale and Devon ambled down the leafy trail like it was their forever home.

“There was a guy making a lot of trouble in the cemetery so we needed to move out of there,” Dale explained. Both he and Devon had dyed their hair a dark brown. It was quite the contrast with their pale skin. Dale’s hair hung limply around his face but he still grinned.

“We got a few odd jobs working on houses and I’m trying to get a tree trimming job,” he said. We talked about money he had made so far and what housing would cost for them and their pets. They could not afford the basic rates.

“Would you be able to find someone to keep your dogs?” Nadine asked, thinking it would be cheaper to get them two rooms which would not allow dogs.

“Yes, we could,” Dale answered immediately. Devon made no comment. They began to gather the sneakers, socks, water and school supplies we brought and went back up the mountain as we said we would talk to them soon.

We were late making the rounds on Franklin, South 8th and Chestnut. We spent time praying for Tina who was now living on the streets, having been kicked out of her room for various reasons. She had 2 cats with her in cages. She cried as she smoked and talked about visiting her dad in Lehighton. Her mother will not talk to her. One of the men from the boarding house, Dave, chimed in.

“I tried talking to your mom for you, she just wouldn’t listen,” he said. His voice was full of empathy and his brow furrowed with deep concern for her.

“Where do you sleep?” I asked.

“I don’t, much. I tried setting up my tent but men came and harrassed me. Then someone cut it with a knife so it’s no longer waterproof!  I can’t really sleep, it’s not safe, so I’m going up to see my dad next week,” she said. I felt the stickiness of her hair tied back in a ponytail as I prayed for her. As we left she sat on the steps of the boarding house next to Dave.

In the midst of all of this I found myself looking back down Franklin Street and suddenly I felt like Reading was just beautiful. It was very surreal as I looked over the train tracks and litter, but as I looked up to the sky I knew it was God’s heart, His perspective, for the city and the people. Because this was His revelation to me I believed it.

We drove back to South 10th street to take Sheila and Raymond some provisions. Sheila is an artist and said she will make the sign for our canopy for the outreaches. She wants acrylic paints, glamour dust and brushes. Michael’s, another stop for another day.

As we moved further down South 10th to swing around to Washington Street 3 police cars blocked part of the road. Their lights were blinking furiously. As Nadine carefully made her way past them, I noticed two very distressed females and two men who were talking and gesturing wildly to another policeman.

A last stop was to take Tanya some blankets she had asked for. It started to rain as we pulled over on Washington Street and she ran outside to get her supplies. On the way home Nadine called Dale to tell him he could contact the landlord, Daniel, about the two rooms. That’s when Devon texted us.

“I can’t leave my dog cuz he has anxiety,” his text read. That shut down this option.

There are no simple answers to these problems. It keeps us very reliant on a very good God Who knows what He wants to do, and how He wants to do it. He has already factored in all our mess-ups, our fears, our stubborn free wills and rebellious mindsets so that somehow we become successful in what He has called us to do. I take heart in all of this. Because He has already taken all of this into account, we cannot lose.

We still pray to see the Dewalds get inside for the winter. I thank you for all your supportive backup to that end!

Shalom Shalom