brandymccombs.com Blog


Underground Outreach

Posted in Homelessness,Journey with Christ by Administrator on the December 12th, 2013

Someone had sent me an email that contained some pictures and those pictures pushed me way out of my comfort zone. The pictures? Different individuals standing by themselves in the midst of different crowds…holding signs. The signs were homemade and had phrases like “I have a bed. I have a home. I am collecting money for someone who doesn’t.”

“When my clothes get wet, I can put on dry ones. I am collecting money for someone who can’t.”

 ”I feel safe. I feel loved. I am collecting money for someone who doesn’t.”

Basically the email had pictures of individuals posing as panhandlers. And this my Friend, took me out of my comfort zone. I knew I needed to do this so thus the Underground Outreach was created.

(Pictured is my 8 year old, Cayden. He volunteered all on his own…made the sign and stood outside in the cold with me…I love my son)

The stage was set: signs made, time set aside and location chosen. My purpose? It was two fold: bring awareness to the humanity side of homelessness and use all donations to purchase thermal underwear for our December 22nd outreach. And once again…God used this stage to open my eyes to a whole new aspect of homelessness, helping those in need, my self-worth and my uncomfortableness. Cayden, our eight-year-old volunteered to go with me along with a precious friend, Lindsey Sanders. We chose 71st & Highway 169. School was back in session after the snowfall so we chose from 3:30pm-5:00pm for high traffic.

 (Pictured is my precious friend Lindsey Sanders. Thanks girl for braving the cold, stares, comments and blessings for the homeless of downtown Tulsa!)

Right when I stepped onto the grass next to the highway, I was immediately taken back to the halls of middle school. You know the feeling? The “What in the world am I doing here?!?! EVERYONE IS STARING AT ME! I AM WAY OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE!” Yes, I would love to sit here and tell you how I spent the hour and a half praying for all the drivers, all the homeless and for world peace. Yeah, I can’t. I did pray for the homeless when I consciously thought about it. To be very raw with you, the glares and the lack of eye contact sucked every bit of self-confidence and assurance completely out of me. No, this outreach was not scheduled to be all about me but it is hard to not take away life lessons when you purposely place yourself in a situation you have never been in before.

The majority of the drivers would not make eye contact……………………Yeah, I can relate. For YEARS I would NOT make eye contact for someone standing on the side of the street holding a sign.

A handful of drivers/passengers donated money but did not make eye contact……………………….Again, I can relate. Yes, I have rolled down my window, handed cash or whatever items in my car all so cautiously NOT making eye contact…for safety reasons. Yeah, whatever. I did not make eye contact because I wanted to ignore the person, I wanted to ignore the need…I did not want to be held accountable for helping another…or not helping another.

A smaller handful of drivers/passengers asked questions with skepticism in their eyes and word selection: “Um. What church are you with?” “Is all this money really going to the homeless?” “Is this money really for you?” “Why are you doing this?”…………………………I can’t relate to this one. Before we started our montly outreaches I would not EVER begin a conversation with someone holding a sign…’I mean c’mon! What are they REALLY going to do with the two bucks I give them? I am sure drugs. I am sure they will use the money to buy drugs.’

Now before I sound all negative, we had some amazing drivers stop, roll their windows down, donate money, make eye contact and said extremely kind and compassionate words ABOUT the homeless………………………….Again, I can’t relate. I mean, yes, I have given money, fast-food gift cards, food and bags filled with goodies to individuals standing on the side of the road; however more of my years have been spent making sure the doors are locked, eye contact is not made, judgmental thoughts casted and extreme focus is placed on the car infront of me.

But not anymore……………………..

(Ths sun was shining, which is a good thing! My sign read: “Ihave a warm bed, I am collecting for someone who doesn’t.”)

Overall we collected $67 for thermal underwear for the homeless. I am extremely grateful for every penny donated. I am okay with the lack of eye-contact. I truly am. I was that person. Who am I to judge? I am okay with the judgments casted, I was that person. Who am I to judge? But I will tell you, my heart grew every second while I stood in the cold for the homeless. As uncomfortable as I felt and insecure, it was extremely humbling to know when 5 o’clock arrived, I had a warm vehicle waiting for me. I had a warm bed to crawl into. I had a warm house to enjoy my family in. I had clean clothes to put on for the next day. I had family who supported me. Once again, my eyes were opened.

Friend, where are you? Specifically for people standing on the side of the street, where are you? If you do not feel comfortable giving money, please let me encourage you to keep something in your car to help: McDonald’s giftcards, QuickTrip giftcards, Ziplock bag filled with crackers, socks, bottle of water. Do you make eye contact? Do you pass judgment? Where are you? I promise you, I was the person who immediately thought, “Why can they not spend all this time and energy and just go get a job!” Hey, I am being real with you. And then God gently opened my eyes to the love He so graciously lavished upon me and He simple reminded me of these verses……………

Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;  I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’  Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” —– Matthew 25:34-46, New American Standard, complements of www.biblegateway.com

Dear Jesus, thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for forgiving me of my judgmental thoughts, my lack of compassion, my ignorance, my determination to NOT care…Father, thank You for opening my eyes to the poor, to those in need, to the individuals who You died for. Father, I pray for the gentleman who was standing at the very corner we stood. Who just minutes before we arrived held a sign, “I need a miracle.” Father, please open the eyes of Your followers, may we be followers who not only PROFESS to follow Your teachings but OBEY Your teachings. I pray for this Reader. Father, only You know this Reader’s heart. I pray they seek You and ask their compassion to grow more like Your compassion. May they desire to grow in their walk with You so they may be used to bless another, give to another, clothe another, feed another, visit another. Father, may we not be judgmental people….Oh Father, may we not be judgmental people……………..through the blood of the Cross I pray, Amen.

 

****If you would like to make a donation for our upcoming outreaches, feel free to make a check payable to STL234 Outreaches and mail to: PO BOX 470814 / TULSA / OK / 74147

15 Responses to 'Underground Outreach'

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  1. Joey said,

    on December 12th, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    This is profound and I have met the uncaring eyes of those that will not help a homeless person. Assumption is a curse. Someday, another one of your readers may find themselves in the position I was in for over a year. Thank you for all you do.

  2. Brandy McCombs said,

    on December 13th, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Joey. You have brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for speaking up and sharing your story. “Assumption is a curse.” Oh such powerful words. Unfortunately, for far too long I intentionally placed my head in the sand while others suffered. Shame on me….thank God for His grace, forgiveness and compassion


  3. on December 16th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    [...] “The glares and the lack of eye contact sucked every bit of self-confidence and assurance completely out of me,” McCombs wrote on her blog. [...]

  4. Administrator said,

    on December 17th, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Thank you to the HUFFINGTON POST for such a complementary article about our efforts for the homeless! I am beyond floored and humbled by the incredible support! Thank you Eleanor Goldberg & Chris McGonigal! Again, I am extremely honored!

  5. Joey said,

    on December 18th, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Brandy,

    I thought that you were wonderful on the radio show; articulate, warm and sweet. But, I thought the preamble they did was mean and assumptive. I hope the listeners could ‘see’ through their ignorant and uncaring ways.

  6. Tammi said,

    on December 18th, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Bravo!! I have argued with too many people about the plight of our homeless population. The media loves to highlight the few scammers who exploit empathy. I’ve helped the homeless in D.C. and have learned that 99% are truly “homeless”. Some have jobs, but still do not make enough to pay for home, utilities, transportation, etc. So they are forced to live on the streets and still somehow go to work each day. Thank you for what you are doing. Please continue to spread the word.
    T

  7. Cat Eakins said,

    on December 19th, 2013 at 12:24 am

    I spend a lot of time on and off the street. It is always so nice to see articles and blogs like yours. Right now I am staying with a friend in Nevada hoping to find work here, but am not holding out too much hope. Lol. In fact I’ve been floating all over the country of late just trying to find something. My biggest problem now isn’t so much lack of a home but lack of something as simple as a phone. Employers won’t give you the time of day if you don’t have a call back number that goes directly to you. Message phones don’t seem to interest them. Lol. It’s a thought but maybe you could make collections for throwaway phone where you are. I haven’t the foggiest on how to do it. Such things could also help to keep many homeless safe too. They are often getting injured with no way to call for help and many shelters prefer you to call in so they can reserve a bed for you.

  8. Christa said,

    on December 19th, 2013 at 6:51 am

    Thank you for your courage and love and compassion for others 8 years ago I started a homeless ministry from a very similar calling as you did. It has changed my life in such a way I cant imagine my life without my homeless family of men and woman. it has made me a better person all together and for this I am so thankful. I would love to have you come and visit us in South Georgia. Thank you for your story!


  9. on December 19th, 2013 at 11:04 am

    [...] “The glares and the lack of eye contact sucked every bit of self-confidence and assurance completely out of me,” McCombs wrote on her blog.  [...]


  10. on December 19th, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    [...] lack of eye contact sucked every bit of self-confidence and assurance completely out of me,” McCombs wrote on her blog. Altogether, they collected $67 for coats, food and other items the Tulsa homeless community [...]

  11. Administrator said,

    on December 19th, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Joey, thank you friend. I actually had a great time attempting to tell my side of the story! Ha! Ha!

    Tammi, thank you for your kind words. I couldn’t agree with you more. I figure it is our place to help…let God sort the rest out! Thank you again!!!!

    Cat, thank you so much. Your suggestions are awesome! Thank you so much for your insight! Praying you will find work..and quickly!!!!!

    Christa! Thank you friend! Oh my, we need to stay in contact! I have learned so much in the past four years. The amount of patience and grace God has upon us!!!! Thank you!!! Oh, I would love to come to your neck of the woods!!!!!

    Merry Christmas y’all! Thank you so much for all your kind words, love and support!!!!!!!!!!


  12. on December 19th, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    [...] she began her outreach, McCombs often ignored or even judged roadside beggars. On her blog, Brandy explains how she used to feel toward people asking her for money, which changed once she [...]


  13. on December 20th, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    [...] check out what one writer had to say about the experience. Makes you think, [...]

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