I am so excited to introduce you to Brittaney + Evan today! They go to my church and they are amazing! I am just getting to know them “in real life” lately and they are doing BIG things in our community for the homeless. It’s really exciting to see how God is using them and the events that have led up to this moment in their lives. This is really exciting please read, be inspired, and mostly be encouraged to ACT!
Any Body can change the world: We’re just….. a boring West Texas family!
“Church under the Bridge Midland” is a new homeless outreach ministry created to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to our neighbors living on the streets. Coming May 4th!!!
Passion for the homeless all started for Evan when he was young. He knows what it’s like to live in shelters and not have a place to call home. He knew as a young child he didn’t want anyone to have to go through the things him and his family went through. His mother became a victim to abuse from men in one bad relationship after another. It took the family on a hard long journey of living in cars, living with friends, going hungry and going without. Evan saw things that no child should have to witness. When people hear Evan’s story, they always say the same thing: “How did you turn out the way you did after going through all of that”? His reply is always “by God’s grace”, of course! Having a dad that left home when he was very young left him with a pretty negative opinion of men. He saw men holding guns to his mom’s head, beating her, yelling, screaming and throwing things and so he knew at a very young age he never wanted to be like that. Some pretty awesome Godly men stepped in and made a difference in Evan’s life…they introduced him to Jesus. Evan found his hope in Jesus. I think this is main driving force for us to these homeless people. We want them to have the hope that can only come from serving our Lord and Savior. It’s funny how God works though, isn’t it. He brought Evan from a place where he hated men….. to primarily serving them now in his daily life.
Several events took place over the course of the last few years where we could begin seeing the Lord plant little seeds towards this upcoming ministry:
A couple of years ago, we thought we were living our dream. We had a nice house in a fancy neighborhood, we had 2 beautiful children, great jobs and the kids were going to great schools. We thought we had “made it”. Funny thing is, we never had that “fulfillment” we thought would come with living a dreamy life. We knew God had more for us. We began seeking him and asking what it was he was calling us to do.
After my mom came home from a mission trip in Kenya last summer, she told us how she felt like the people there had it far better than we do. She said because of their lack of material things, they depend on God far more than we do and their faith is amazing. I remember thinking “I need to move to Kenya so I can have Faith like that”! I am a bit of an extremist;)
Then last fall, Evan and Jadon went to New York and served a community of unchurched people. Evan saw firsthand how busyness and material things separate us from God. This began a spiral of events for our family as we got rid of access and started asking God to change our hearts.
Two years after we had reached our “dream moment”, we are living in a smaller house across town, have another precious baby girl and are living out the calling we know God has placed on our hearts. For Evan this has been an easy journey. If you talk to him you can see that his passion for our homeless friends is GREAT! He began serving in a ministry called Jesus House a couple of times a week. He would go help serve meals and he started building relationships with these people and hearing their stories. He would come home and tell me all about them, where they came from, what happened to them on their journey, why they are homeless, etc. Evan and I both agreed that if we had gone through the same things, we know for sure we would be in the same boat.
Evan took Jadon (our son) and me to Jesus House on Christmas day and we helped serve meals and gave gifts to children. Seeing the look on those kids faces and the joy it brought to these homeless men and women’s faces as we actually sat and listened to them talk was pretty amazing. A few weeks passed and we got word that one of the homeless men in Odessa had lost his life on a freezing night because he didn’t have the resources to stay warm. This rocked our world pretty hard and God showed us how we could serve these people. These were REAL people and their needs were simple. We both felt an urgency to do something different. We decided we needed to do more than just serve them a meal in the soup kitchen. We began gathering warm clothing and making goodie bags filled with toiletries and snacks and taking them out to where they sleep. When we would talk to them, we would find that there were more homeless groups with more needs. From then on it just began to catch on and groups started doing “Night Strikes”. This is when a group of us go out and take gear and spend some time with them at their homes, tents, areas, etc. We began putting on Facebook the needs as we heard them. We made sure every homeless person we came in contact with had the gear necessary to stay warm on cold nights. The response of our friends and family was amazing. I can’t tell you how many times our entry way of our home and the back seats of our cars were filled with gear from people. That’s when we knew that God was moving in our community. We could never have done this on our own. God put it on so many people’s hearts to help and we were overwhelmed with donations and supplies. It was unbelievable!
(The attached picture is from the Christmas Party and the little girl is Destiny. She loved Jadon and was so excited to open her baby doll)
This is Bob. He and his wife Linda live in a tent in South Odessa. Evan found him an old guitar after learning that he used to play for about 20 years. Our friend had it cleaned up, put new strings on it and tuned it for us and you would have thought Bob won the lottery!
We recently took a trip with my company to Las Vegas. We were so burdened by the lost people on the “strip” that it was hard to have a good time. We talked about how someone needed to plant a church right smack in the middle of the strip and make it so appealing that all of the people would go to it and meet Jesus. It is still a dream of ours one day;) But we knew that in the mean time we had a community of lost souls that we could bring church to. A friend told us about Church Under the Bridge in Waco that is catered towards homeless people. We knew that God was calling us to do the very same thing in Midland. So that is where we are…..it is still in the works but we believe May 4th is going to be the day it starts. We have heard from so many people that want to be a part and we are looking for churches to partner with us and help provide equipment and other resources. We know it’s a huge calling but we also know that we serve a BIG God and when he says move… we better move. The Night Strikes will continue and the meals will still be served but we have a bigger calling and that is to bring Jesus to them. Our prayer is that they will receive the hope that comes with serving Christ and that their lives will forever be changed like ours have been.
Our challenge to you is this: Don’t let your dreams get in the way of God’s dreams for you! They are way better and way more fulfilling!
Contact the Rogers here:
Church Under the Bridge Midland facebook page here.
Email Evan: email@example.com
For those of you that feel like you need to be more involved or want more information, here is a note from Evan:
There are places you can go locally to help be a part of what God is doing on the streets of the Permian Basin. We are ALL called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. When you get involved, you start to realize that these people are longing for respect, dignity, love and attention. Once you get past the labels society has placed on them, you will see that they are people too and shouldn’t be treated as “invisible people”. They have children, parents and grandparents just like we do. Most of them do have a past of making decisions that’s lead to making mistakes but they may not have had a support system like we do. Their mistakes have had a ripple effect on their life and have caused them to believe they are not worthy of being a part of society. You can make a difference but only if you get involved. For more information on how you can help email:firstname.lastname@example.org or like our Facebook page to receive updates on the Church Under the Bridge – Midland.
A video from another Church Under the Bridge. This one is in Tyler, TX https://www.facebook.com/