Night 1, 2020
Here I am, sitting in my tent the first night of my 14-day run. Today was about setting up camp and getting ready for next few weeks. The tent’s up, the signs are up, the long johns are on.
All is ready. Normally I would say, “All is good,” but it’s very cold in this tent. It’s in the mid-30s right now, but it’s going to get down to 21 by morning.
I was told by several of my military friends from R41 that there’s a military phrase for when things get hard: “Embrace the suck.” So as I’m attempting to do that, all I can say is that God is good, and all is ready.
As I sit here in this tent, listening to the traffic going by, I can’t help but reflect on the last couple of days as the forecast unfolded, showing that my first week on the streets was going to be the coldest (as well as the longest stretch) of this season … which led to some of the people around me trying to talk me out of this crazy scheme. At one point I overheard someone pleading with my wife, Vicki, to say something to talk me out of it. I heard her respond, “As Kenny’s wife, I want to—but as his armor-bearer I can’t. When it comes to what God tells him to do—especially this—I’m not allowed to talk him out of it.”
Overhearing that conversation was the confirmation I needed to keep going … because I, too, was second-guessing my decision with questions like Did I hear right? and Are you sure, God? But hearing Vicki’s response quieted my questions and allowed me to stand firm and face what was ahead.
And then it got to the point where I just had to laugh. On Sunday, we opened the warming center at Manna Café, so that’s where I slept the two nights before hitting the streets. During my first week out, Manna’s warming center will be open every night—but ironically, I’m hearing God say that no matter how cold it gets, I’m to man my post on the streets until at least the 14th instead of taking refuge at the center. So yesterday when it started to snow, I had to laugh out loud and say, “That’s just like God to put the icing on the cake!” But I have so much peace, and I know for sure—as crazy as it sounds—that sitting here in the cold tent embracing the suck is right where God wants me.
So all I can say at this point is, Here we go! and God’s got this. As you pray for me, also pray for the other 400 people who are on the streets of our communities who don’t have a warm house to go home to in two weeks.