March 25th was the first day of San Antonio’s Shelter in place restrictions. On that same day, God used the T.H.U.G.G.I.N. for Christ team to find a place for 2 of God’s lost sheep to shelter. God is close to the broken hearted. While everyone who is part of our Network (including TFC) is seeking to follow the recommended procedures for slowing the spread of this crisis, God has used Mashaun to provide a way out of the streets for not one, but 2 separate men.
A couple days before, Mashaun went out to do street ministry with the T.H.U.G.G.I.N. for Christ team, literally looking for lost sheep. He found Ryan. He shared the gospel with him and offered him a way out of the streets. Ryan, who had already tried 3 different recovery programs, had found himself back on drugs, back on the streets, separated from his wife and kids, jobless, and feeling alone and hopeless. Mashaun, and the TFC team reassured him that they had all been there at some point, and pointed to their own lives (imperfect, but in recovery) as evidence of the miracles that Jesus can do with a truly repentant heart and just a little bit of faith.
A little faith is exactly what Ryan had – and enough of a desire to change that he got up from the street, and got in the car with Mashaun to head to a detox/recovery program. As a street ministry comprised of men and women who once lived on the same streets, they know the locations, hours, and services of nearly every halfway house, recovery program, and shelter in the area – so he drove him straight to the nearest one. “Didn’t you hear about the shelter in place rules? We got slammed and are overfilled already. Sorry, better luck somewhere else” – the somber yet firm response of the shelter manager responded to Mashaun plea for Ryan. One by one, all 6 of the shelters he tried sent them away.
They might as well have said “no room in the inn...” as their journey seemed to echo the desperate attempt of Joseph to find shelter for Mary. Mashaun reached out to a friend of his at a large shelter downtown and advocated for Ryan, based on the sincerity in his eyes and the earnest desire to change and truly enter the hard work of recovery. Not finding an open door, even with connections, Mashaun allowed Ryan to stay with him for the night at his apartment.
The next morning Mashaun reached out to some friends on the inside at the city's largest shelter and recovery center, and they said they could get him in if a pastor was willing to write a recommendation for him. He called Taylor and they arranged a meeting for a prayer time with Ryan, and he gladly printed and signed the recommendation upon seeing firsthand the genuine desire for repentance and renewal in Ryan. By the time they got back to the shelter it had closed for the night, Mashaun extended the risky hospitality one more time.
The next morning, March 25th, the effective date for San Antonio's shelter in place restrictions, Mashaun was able to get Ryan successfully into the recovery program. As he was leaving the shelter, two things happened: first, his emergency gas light came on (with no regular income as a result of the COVID19 situation, he was relieved to be close enough to home to probably make it). The second thing that happened was a phone call from a T.H.U.G.G.I.N. for Christ prayer partner and team member who lives out in Bulverde, nearly 45 minutes from where Mashaun was at - "HEy there, Ive met a guy who was living on the streets, and after praying with him, he is ready to go into recovery! Can you come pick him up, get him some help, and find a shelter/recovery program?". While his heart burned to help the guy, he was running out of gas - literally. Just then Mashaun remembered that Wildfire Network had given him a grant of $100 in petty cash to be used for emergency ministry expenses. He used those funds to provide transportation, supplies, and admission into a recovery center for the second man within 24 hours who reached out for help.
At a time when the needs of the homeless in our community are so great, yet most ministries are restricting their assistance or shutting down entirely because of the COVID crisis. The situation is so serious that the city of San Antonio is reaching out to churches and ministries begging them to reopen or provide some sort of help to people experiencing homelessness. It seems evident that God has called a ministry like T.H.U.G.G.I.N. for Christ into existence for such a time as this.
Please pray for Mashaun and his team as they walk hand in hand with these two new brothers in Christ to train them on the long road of recovery and teach them to be disciples of Jesus. You can give to support T.H.U.G.G.I.N. for Christ as a designated mission on the Wildfire giving page. Your continued financial support of Wildfire helps us to empower start up ministries. Through your giving, you are a real part of helping moments like this happen. Thanks.
Wildfire Staff, Mission Leaders, and contributors