I want to take a moment to provide an update for The Outpost.
This past summer, Nomad moved out of the original Outpost and began the long and arduous journey of purchasing our own building. The building is a lot bigger than our former location, has larger bathrooms, two showers, a worship space, and plenty of room for storage. Our partners Talk Coffee Roasters have a home there too.
We opened the new Outpost the week of Christmas with a Christmas Eve breakfast. It was a joyful morning with new and familiar faces, an image of the kingdom of heaven.
Since Christmas, we’ve been getting a handle on the space. There’s a lot of joy in owning our building and, though it’s more expensive to operate, the opportunities outweigh any cost. Our visitors (many of whom are homeless, poor, or otherwise marginalized) have room to move around, can take a shower, have a snack, etc. There are also plenty of projects needing to be done, which provides the opportunity to invite our guests to take ownership and help out. And there are more opportunities for volunteers to come alongside us and participate in this kingdom work.
Every day, stories emerge of how the kingdom of God is manifesting itself amongst the poor.
With that in mind, I want to spend a few weeks sharing some of these stories, offering a glimpse into our daily context. While these stories may not seem dazzling on the surface, for us they are important reminders of how the kingdom calls people to a new way of living, no matter their station in life.
At the Outpost, we always have coffee. It’s a staple. It warms people up and sets the stage for great conversations.
We’ve always tried to provide some snacks for our visitors. We depend on donations for this, and that usually looks like granola bars, fruit snacks, and the occasional box of donuts delivered by our friendly neighbor, Vince. We also set out cans of soup, ravioli, or packages of ramen for our guests to prepare for themselves.
We have, on occasion, had sparser days.
While we’re in a rhythm now with fewer sparse days, the beginning of the year saw some cold afternoons with us having little to offer our guests. When we had the time and resources, we‘d buy pizza for everyone.
But we don’t always have the time or resources.
One of these sparse afternoons, Matt and I walked out to the common area and saw a large offering of snacks and beverages set out on the counter.
Gabe (who manages the Outpost) said, “I hope it’s okay that I set these snacks out.”
“Where’d they come from?” we asked.
Gabe explained that a few of our guests, who are homeless, put their money together and went to the store to buy snacks for everyone to share.
Indeed, everyone was sharing, feasting on the spoils of generosity, like a small picture of the book of Acts:
“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.” (Acts 4:32, ESV)
I say “small picture” because we’re all in the process of sanctification. After all, our mission at Nomad is to make and be disciples, which is a lifelong journey. Still, steps like these are certainly steps in the right direction.
The moral of the story?
People with next to nothing might just use the little they do have to pitch in and care for each other.