Today was a very interesting and long day. It started when I woke up around 8:00 AM to get breakfast. Aramaine went with me to get breakfast. For breakfast I got two pieces of sausage, two biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, and coffee! It was a very filling and somewhat satisfying breakfast. Before I went back to the room, I grabbed three pieces of this crumb cake and a fourth piece of cinnamon crumb cake. They were actually really good. When I got back to the room, we started to get ready to go to the Angeles household to start with the day’s event. We left the hotel around 9:00AM I believe. On our way there, we got a bit lost, but I got to see Mesa State University. It looked really nice and made me wonder what kind of people go there. Afterwards, we turned back around and found the right street. When we arrived at the Angeles house, Mecko, Bro. Maclaine, and others were there already. It was really cool to see everyone there. It was unfortunate that Karen, Angelica and Vanessa were not there yet. But, other than that, I went with my dad and Bro. Ernie to see the venue where the village evangelical mission was going to be held.
It was about one to two miles away from the Angeles house. The surrounding neighborhood looked similar to Colorado Springs; except everything was closer together and there only two lanes on each side making everything look closer. I noticed that they had a Hastings, which was unfair. But, when we got to the venue it was interesting and a bit different from what I expected. It was interesting because it was a homeless shelter. I was actually imagining a Hall or Community Center. It was also different because the inside was a bit smaller in terms of lobby, serving area, and main room. Well, I guess the lobby was normal sized. But, the serving area was literally a pantry that we would improvise later as a serving area. The main room felt a bit cramped, especially with seventy percent of the room being filled with beds and bunk beds. It made me wonder about how we were going to pull off seating everyone and actually holding our bible study. After getting a tour of the area by the managers, we went outside to post up banners. We posted both of them near the entrance of the facility, using double sided tape. Afterwards we headed back to the Angeles household.
When we got back, everyone was there and I saw Julia this time. For the most part, Julia, Mecko, and I talked about different things until we ate lunch. At lunchtime, there was a lot of food prepared by the brethren. It astonished me in a way. I ate a lot lumpia and bar-b-que. It was very good food too. We then all talked for a bit longer. I remember at this point, Aramaine and Levieson were becoming restless and misbehaving. Thankfully that played a Celine Dion DVD and it gave everyone something to watch. It also made Aramaine and Levieson be quiet for a bit. But, around 2:00 P.M brethren from Colorado Springs started to come over. It was Anthony, Bro Darlo and everyone. It was really cool to see everyone there. At this point it started to feel like the Juarez trip all over again. Especially, when we started to transfer things to the next household to bag. At this point, we were carrying water, supplies, and food from the house to a U-haul storage car and other cars. At this point we all then moved to the next house where it would seem the event would have its official start.
When we arrived to the house of the brethren, we quickly unloaded the supplies and started bagging all the supplies. At this point also, I started taking pictures of everything I believed to be important. It was an interesting task and something that I would not forget, especially since I would have to do this task throughout the whole event. We bagged all the supplies fairly quickly even though we made more than a hundred of them. Around this time, Bro Maclaine showed me how to use his camera to make videos and do interviews. It was an interesting session and really did make me feel like I was learning something. Afterwards, we finished up the bagging and started to put in the bags into the U-Haul storage car. It was around this time Karen and Angelica came by. It must have been around 3:30 or 4:00 P.M. Afterwards, I went with Bro. Ernie to go to the venue. When we got there it we all quickly unloaded the chairs and coolers out of the U-Haul storage and kept the bags inside of it. Afterwards, I actually got to meet Bro. Randy of Grand Junction.
He was a very interesting person that I met. Bro. Randy was born in Ohio and moved to Wyoming. This was all before he went to Vietnam. While in Vietnam Bro. Randy served in communications. He worked on base and was also sent out to the fields. I wanted to ask what happened over there, but I didn’t want him to remember whatever hardship or atrocities he experienced out there. He said he never did forget what happened over there. He said it felt like it was yesterday. And only memories of the deepest sort feel like it happened yesterday. After Vietnam, his family was in New Mexico where he started to work in the coalmines over there. Bro. Randy told me about how he and his friend would always meet up at a diner to get coffee. He said that the truckers who would stop by, eating good food, wearing good clothes, meeting new people, and traveling to new places, inspired him. Soon after, he said he started taking up classes in Denver and got stationed in Grand Junction on accident since one of the other new truckers didn’t want to get stationed in Grand Junction since they just came from there. Bro. Randy told me he traveled a large part of the U.S as a trucker with the exception of a few States such as Alaska, Hawaii, and the northeastern states such as New York. He said he was also a driver for a tourist agency that allowed him to do a lot more as a driver. He said wherever the customers would go, he would go, and whatever the customers would do, he would do for free. Afterwards, he told me that he owns a trucking company that leases to American Propane and he also trains student drivers as well. Currently he is about to baptize, hopefully sooner rather than later. After that, he has plans to retire in Sacramento where he will be spending time with the brethren that invited him to the Church in the first place. I believe her name was Sis. Estralita or Litha for short.
After meeting Bro Randy, I went inside the venue to check what was happening and help out. We started to fix up the lobby as well by clearing out the middle section of unneeded tables and chairs. We also started setting up the serving area by putting tables up where they could efficiently set up the different foods and plates. After this, I went to check how Bro Maclaine and Sis Julia were doing the introduction video. I also heard from Bro. Bernie that he needed a tie and subsequently I introduced him to Bro Randy. Bro Randy offered to help by calling Bro Ernie if he could bring an extra tie in which he actually did. It was an interesting scenario to watch play out as a third party observer. Afterwards, I helped Bro. Maclaine set up inside by getting the chords he needed from a box full of stuff, including a multi-effects peddle! It was here I learned Bro Maclaine plays the guitar. But afterwards, there was still time to kill before the event started. I talked to a few people.
Some of the people I talked to included these girls from California. They were at the homeless shelter to volunteer as a part of their church. Their names were Spoetzel, Bittle, and Miner. They all had interesting names that made them stick out. They were all surprisingly beautiful and made me even more surprised on why they were there. They said they were there as a part of a mission. In this mission they would have to spend eighteen months in a foreign place to teach and volunteer when they can. Specifically, they would have to do it in places where they could speak Spanish. They were all here without any social media or Internet in general. They also had to all share a cell-phone together where they could call family. It was interesting to see what kind of stuff they had to do. But before I left, I gave them a couple of the God’s Message magazine.
Afterwards, I talked with Mecko, his sister, and Julia for a bit until the event started. We talked about different things and time went by quickly. It wasn’t too long before we had to separate ways to get ready for the bible study. Before the bible study happened, I went inside the main room where the bible study was going to be held. I talked to some of the homeless people there. I talked shortly with one named Kevin, he was thankful for our help and seemed interested in the bible study. I then talked to another person named Shawn.
Shawn wasn’t really homeless. He was born in a small town in Ohio before moving to Los Angeles in California. He said he spent most of his life in L.A. But, he’s in Grand Junction for a trial due to drug charges. When I met him, it was his first night in Grand Junction and I guess it was the only real place he could stay for any extended time. He was a real nice guy and you wouldn’t believe his story until you met him
I soon helped the brethren set up the main room by setting up chairs for the choir members, folding up tables that were not needed, and setting up chairs for the congregation. I could already feel the tension rising with the bible study starting soon. After, I took my opportunity to take the pictures that I could. I then went out to talk to more people. One of them was a guy who actually wasn’t homeless or jobless but a guy who takes advantage of the free meals at the homeless shelter. For the life of me I cannot remember his name but I remember he told me it was his payday and that he works at an aquatics place nearby.
The other person I met was Memo from Juarez, Mexico. Memo was a very interesting person because he himself wasn’t homeless but a traveler of sorts. He said his job back in Mexico allows him to take months off for vacation. He takes his time by visiting family across the United States via Greyhound. He chooses to stay at homeless shelters, especially since they are basically places to stay with meals included. But back in his life in Juarez, he grew up and lived outside of the city and in a small village. Memo told me that there was no police or government in the area. He said he loved it that way and didn’t like the corrupt government in the city. In his village he told me that he owns a ranch and travels the area by horse. It was really astonishing when I heard that; it painted pictures of hard but interesting work in rural Mexico. Memo told me that around this time in September until November there are a lot of fiestas in his area. He said a lot of tourists come and the people of Mexico generally welcome them. But Memo also told me the unfortunate tragedy that happened to his family. Twelve years ago, Memo had a wife and child in his village. His wife’s name was Guadalupe and from what Memo told me, she was the love of his life. However, his wife and child were killed. Memo told me that his wife may be dead physically but she will always be in him in memory and spirit. Memo will be staying in Grand Junction for a few more days before heading to Denver and the rest of his travels.
I soon went inside the main room and sat next to Shawn and this other homeless man who was amongst the lowliest of the indigents. He reeked of the foulest of odors, but I did my best to not show my disgust. Throughout the sermon this other homeless man would take off his shoes and socks to scratch at his feet. At this point the odor was near unbearable. To describe it would be to imagine that you exercised in the outdoors for a few hours, then swam in the dirtiest of swamps or lakes, then let all of that dry on your body, and finally make a hike through the forest for days without showering. And that is how the foul body odor was like.
Other than that, the sermon was nice and short and I believe that it really resonated with a good amount of the attendants. I know for sure it resonated with Kevin and Shawn. It resonated so much I gave them the address of the Group Worship Service in Grand Junction with the phone number of the Bro Ernie. I really hope they go through with their intentions in looking into the church more.
Afterwards, I helped in the cleanup of the main room by setting it back the way we found it. Around this time, everyone started parting ways. We took a few more group pictures and then by this point everyone was incredibly tired, including me. A few of us went back to the Angeles house to put things away, and some of us went home. I was with the former rather than the later. Overall, it was an incredible day and only time, not numbers, will tell if we were successful or not.