Day seven of my field study in 2009 was already impressing upon me the important and holistic work Emmaus was doing as it served the men of the streets.
In 2009 I did a three week field work assignment at Emmaus Ministries as part of my masters in theology program. That resulted in my bringing students back to Emmaus, and then the following year serving my sabbatical at Emmaus. The diversity of staff, volunteers, and the community inspired me. the early gospel work that we did moved me. The guys we served touched my heart. So on June 13th I will participate in their modified fund-raiser, the Undurance Ride. I will walk for Emmaus and hope you consider following the journey virtually and consider supporting my efforts. He are some memories of my second day at Emmaus in 2009.
So I did a field placement at Emmaus Ministries in Chicago in 2009. Emmaus is an urban, ecumenical ministry that serves homeless men who participate in prostitution. Little did I know how those short three weeks would impact my life. The men we served were not my clients, they became my brothers. The staff and volunteers were a collection of servant-leaders from various backgrounds, from different Christian traditions, from different levels of self-knowldge. Together, staff, volunteers, interns, and the men, we lifted one another up, we walked alongside each person and shared one another's journey. We grew in fellowship and love together .
The following year I had sabbatical which I served at Emmaus. Later I brought students from the University of Saint Francis to Emmaus. I returned numerous times to serve and connect with the men and the volunteers and staff. I worked with the exploited, in Asia, in Chicago, and in Fort Wayne. People became far more than simple labels. Words like trafficking, prostitution, exploited, all began to fit into continuums. And everyone I knew fit somewhere on that continuum. There was no "us" and "them." There was only "us" caring for or ignoring one another.
So it is now 2020. Each year Emmaus has it's major fund drive, the "Endurance Ride." Riders get friends to sponsor them and they earn money for Emmaus based on how far they ride. Well this year they cannot do that. This year there will be a "Undurance Ride." Supporters will not gather together but rather ride at their homes. Or they can jog, or exercise, or do yoga, or garden or...they can walk.
If I am at all a servant it is because of Emmaus Ministries. So this year I will walk for them. On June 13th, weather permitting, I will walk. I ask those of you who know the impact Emmaus has had over the decades to sponsor me. I ask those who have vistied or served with me at Emmaus to sponsor me. Ask anyone who can open their heart and hear the stories of exploited men searching for a way out of a life they never wanted to sponsor me. I get that this is a difficult time to open up your check book. I know that my freinds are busy caring for other causes that touches their hearts. So if you cannot sponsor me please join me virtually in my journey. Listen to the stories of lives transformed, of interns, volunteers, and clergy who walk with the men for years because they are called to share this journey. If you can, please sponsor me by a set amount for each mile I walk. My average has been 7-10 miles a day. The walk will be one day. If you cannot sponsor per mile then a set offering would help. If you cannot support the walk financially, please support us with your prayers, your thoughts, your meditations. Use this as a time to learn about the men we serve, to connect, and to learn a little more about a ministry that has changed lives for over two decades.