• Pastor Dan Anderson

Holidays: Family Time or Lonely Time?

The 4th of July is traditionally a time for family to gather and enjoy each other’s company. But that’s only reality for the traditional family that still functions.

Not many of the people on skid row or in the mission have functional family relationships to enjoy during the holidays. Instead, holidays are sad times that highlight their loneliness. This year Deed and Truth did something about that issue. One of the objectives Deed and Truth has been working on has been to develop community life and family connections for the disenfranchised and forgotten people at the mission. Holidays can be filled with sadness due to a lack of family connectedness. This year we held a praise service with a lot of music for our guests at the mission and then Deed and Truth hosted an after-party on the roof which overlooks all of Los Angeles.

We had plenty of hot dogs and an ice cream bar. Then we all enjoyed observing the fireworks shows across the landscape. It was incredible to see easily 100-200 firework shows over a 90 minute period. Seriously, I’ve never seen anything like it.

However, even more exciting was to see 100-200 people enjoying their temporary family on a holiday. Instead of staying in their rooms wishing they were somewhere else, in a different life, here they were doing all the things a functioning family would be doing. What a joyful time they had and what a joy to be able to provide such an experience.

We also had a church in the area come to put on the praise and worship service. Some of them joined us on the roof afterward. I want to tell you about two persons specifically.

Elder Dennis Bullock is a lay leader at West Angeles Church of God in Christ – which is a very large mega-church on Crenshaw Avenue about 10 miles from the mission. Tuesday night they provided the music. They have many very talented and often professional gospel singers and groups that come and minister on skid row with us.

Betty and I have had the privilege of developing a deep relationship with Dennis and his family. Every month he brings his mother-in-law who he, and we, affectionately refer to as “Duchess”. Duchess is the sweetest lady you could ever meet. She has a beautiful countenance flowing from a rich relationship with the Lord.

Duchess comes with the outreach team from the church to simply pray and talk to the ladies at the mission. At the end of the service there are always many people seeking prayer. Duchess is one of the prayer team that meets them at the alter and shares a prayer with them.

By the way, Duchess is 87 years old.

Anyone with a heart for the homeless can find a ministry on skid row. If you’d like to find a place to serve the Lord by loving on some people who are often forgotten by our society but constantly on the mind of Jesus... let me introduce you to them by name. You will fall in love with them, just like Duchess.

And the next time you start thinking about plans for a holiday… remember the mission… you are invited to spend the holiday with us and you’ll bring a smile to some lonely people who consider a smile a very valuable commodity.

– Pastor Dan

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