Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Community Ministry Weekend

Here's a copy of the Tribune article about Mike Yankoski, who was with us on Sunday. Mike was great. We're trying to get the cassette tape recording converted to digital. Stay tuned. Community BBQ was awesome, too. I understand that Pastor Scott and others showed up on KSBY on Saturday night. Anyone have a copy of that?

Homeless, but still a human being

Santa Barbara student wanted to know what destitution was like; he tells his story Sunday
By Larissa Van Beurden-Doust

Pictures of Mike Yankoski in 2003 show a stereotypical homeless man: shaggy hair, scruffy beard, dirty clothes and ratty sleeping bag.

It was quite a change from what he looked like a few months before, as a sophomore at Westmont College, a private Christian university in one of the poshest areas of Santa Barbara.

But Yankoski, now 23, wanted to live just like the estimated 600,000 Americans who do not have a house to go to at night. For five months, Yankoski voluntarily lived on the streets of six American cities. He will share his experiences Sunday at Grace Church in San Luis Obispo.

"People literally pretended we didn't exist," Yankoski said Thursday of his experience. One time in San Francisco, Yankoski said, he just asked a man the time -- and got a scowl in return. Yankoski decided to become homeless after sitting in a church service his freshman year at Westmont.

He realized, he said, that while he and many other churchgoers profess their faith, they often don't help those who don't look like typical churchgoers -- those who may be down on their luck. "It's completely hypocritical," he said.

Just a hello or a smile from a stranger made such a difference in his day when living on the streets, Yankoski said. He said a small gesture makes people feel human. Yankoski suggests that those who can, give gift certificates to local coffee shops or restaurants to those in need.

During his talk Sunday, Yankoski will share his experiences and answer questions. He will speak at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Pastor Scott Peterson decided to invite Yankoski to speak after reading his book, "Under the Overpass."

"I was blown away by the insights a young man of 23 would make," Peterson said, "what living on the streets does to someone's dignity, and how someone is treated less than human."

The book is available online at www.Parable.com; www.bn.com; www.amazon.com or Christian book.com.

Grace Church will also hold a free barbecue for the poor at noon Saturday.
For more information, call 543-2358.


Christal said...

the books is great and he was great! what an awesome experience!

Anonymous said...

That would be awesome to have a digital recording of Mike. I wasn't able to listen to him, but I heard really good things about his speach in my Growth Group! Also, I just wanted to say thank you to whoever weekly posts your sermons.