I was walking up Gower street heading to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. I was with five pastor friends on a ministry replenish retreat. I was ready to walk in when i heard the guys trying to give directions to someone. I turned around and met a guy named Monkey.
Im not sure if Monkey was his given name but we didnt ask. It didnt matter. Monkey was dressed in jeans and lots of black. He had black fingernail polish and black makeup smeared under his eyes.
Since we were all pastors you wouldda thought one of us would have forced a religious conversation on him pretty quickly, we didnt. We gave him directions to Hollywood and Vine, his requested destination. We also invited him to breakfast...he accepted. Breakfast conversation was interesting and it reminded me that i need to have breakfast in different places and with different people more often. We listened to his story about living on the streets, about his family, about his journey. We engaged, listened and befriended,
Monkey told us he was walking to Hollywood and Vine to meet a transvestite. He had lived on the street off and on for sometime, was currently homeless, had four kids, at least one was also living on the street. He had recently been given a shot at section 8 a housing and was a a recent grad of a rehab program although he was currently high.
We treated Monkey like our friend; we neither prodded nor patronized. in our conversion. We all hoped we would turn a spiritual corner somewhere, we didnt. Thats OK because things might not have turned out any different. He left high and tranny bound but we got a chance to show him love with our time, with our kindness and with our love to each other. nothing forced or fake, just 6 members of the human race enjoying a meal as our trajectories crossed near Hollywood and Vine.
We prayed for Monkey, not awkwardly but just like we would pray for each other mi still pry for him occasionally. Two days later I spoke at Valley Bible Fellowship and shared the monkey story in the context of showing Christ-likeness to others by loving each other. Love is most powerful when it is used. Random acts of love are powerful and contagious. i challenged the good people of VBF to find their Monkey. I guess we all do.
Here is a video clip of me sharing the Monkey story... its about half way through.