While in San Francisco, I did something I’ve wanted to do for some time now: stay in a hostel. There were five of us from San Diego, and there were 5 beds in the room, so our group had the room to ourselves.
That’s me in front of my bed that I ‘called’ in school-boy fashion as soon as we entered the room. “I got window bed.” Yes, I’m an idiot.
Anyway, the view was great. You could stick your head out the window (no screen) and look up and down Ellis St., and even see the other people in Hotel Essex across the way. My hostel experience was great, and I think I’ll keep stayin in hostels as often as I travel, but the interesting twist about our experience was the neighborhood.
We were in the Tenderloin, and boy was it tender. I’m not sure what I meant by that, but it was a rough neighborhood. I saw all sorts of brokenness, destruction from the fall… walking the streets just hurt sometimes. Massage parlors where workers are often victims of human trafficking, strip clubs across the street from children’s parks, more homeless people than I’ve ever seen in San Diego, guys lighting crack pipes on the side walk, drug deals at the bus stops, transgender prostitution, and so on. And all this merely blocks away from Pacific Heights, where houses can sell for over $100 million. Think about it. Like I said, it hurt.
Seeing different sides of San Francisco reminded me that there is mission work to be done here. Not just over seas. I am a missionary. On a mission here. In a few months to Kenya, but for now, here. And I want to do what I can to distribute God’s love on whoever I come into contact with.
I will say it was really encouraging to see YWAM ‘s building in the middle of the Tenderloin. This is a great group of followers that reach out in great ways to share the hope we have in Christ.
I don’t have an answer for the pain I saw in the Tenderloin, but at least I’m aware of it now. This is the stuff you see in movies and hear of in books, but last weekend it became real and unavoidable. . . in front of my face. And now I can actually pray, think, and put energy towards being part of the solution.
peace on Earth-