Prayer, Conversations with God (or lack thereof), and Helping the Homeless

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Joined in 2012
October 27, 2012, 10:18

For a while now I have been praying my little heart out and haven't received a response from God. I once even waited 2 hours in pure silence in my room because I heard from a sermon we were given 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason – so we should listen twice as much as we speak. Still nothing. I hear people say He communicates in different ways, perhaps I was hoping for something verbal, I don’t know. I sometimes struggle believing even that He speaks to us verbally – there have been times when He definitely was there for me (when I was being bullied at school for example and He knocked out this Kerryn kid with a soccer ball who was giving me hell), but most of the time I feel He isn’t with me or talking to me.

Anyway I came across this book 'Conversations with God' the other day while looking for books with my mum at Whitcoulls. I decided to purchase it because it sounded like something I needed as I felt I was being ignored through prayer.

For the most part, everything in it sounded true in meaning. The author, Neale Donald Walsch, claims to have had a personal response from God and written down everything He said. Being human, naturally I am a bit skeptic about this. Most of it sounded true, some parts, not so much (reincarnation for example, that there is no hell, and that Hitler is in heaven o_O), though I suppose I will only know when I die.

One really good question Neale asked God was:

Are you saying the world will always have problems? Are you saying that you actually want it that way?

God’s response:

I am saying that the world exists the way it exists – just as a snowflake exists the way it exists – quite by design. You have created it that way – just as you have created your life exactly as it is.

I want what you want. The day you really want an end to hunger, there will be no more hunger. I have given you all the resources with which to do that. You have all the tools with which to make that choice. You have not made it. Not because you cannot make it. The world could end world hunger tomorrow. You choose not to make it.

You claim that there are good reasons that 40,000 people a day must die of hunger. There are no good reasons. Yet at a time when you say you can do nothing to stop 40,000 people a day from dying of hunger, you bring 50,000 people a day into your world to begin a new life. And this you call love. This you call God’s plan. It is a plan which totally lacks logic or reason, to say nothing of compassion.

Whether that was from God or not remains a mystery (until death of course), but isn’t it true? If everyone cared, if everyone perhaps took a moment to spend a few bucks to buy a loaf of bread for that homeless guy on the street, maybe, just maybe, the world wouldn’t be in the shape it is in right now. I firmly believe that if everyone cared, there just wouldn’t be world hunger. If it was God speaking to Neale in this book, he hit the nail on this one.

Something I would like to personally ask God is where has all the money gone from World Vision: 40 hour famine? There are hundreds of millions of dollars pumped into that foundation yearly, and still it has produced very little result. Ok so a school here and there – that’s great and all, but that doesn’t cost $130M. I have seen much greater results with a small fraction of this.

Take for example The Dream Center in Los Angeles. It cost Matthew Barnett $3.9M when the nuns who owned the building were offered $16m from a movie company (I think it was Warner Bros?), but they gave it to him for that price simply because of the vision he had for it.

The Dream Center is now known today as the 24/7 spiritual hospital of the broken, the different, and the rejected people of society. Now THAT to me is a church, because they actually feed the poor and needy rather than preaching how perfect people are supposed to be and what they should and should not do.

So anyway, yesterday I had an amazing spiritual moment that has changed my life forever. Here is what I wrote.

Today I went with mum into the city so that I could buy more Milkman underwear with the $80 my grandmother gave me for my 23rd birthday from September, and mum wanted to buy me some Calvin Klein jeans because the ones she got me a few weeks back are already loose on me and I need a belt to hold them up.

When I checked my wallet before heading to the ferry with my mum, I noticed I had four twenty dollar notes. I only needed $60 because the undies were $30 each. I figured I would take all four anyway just incase I needed it. This decision would turn my world upside down forever.

We arrived in the city via the ferry, and proceeded uphill. Near one of the banks on the corner I saw a scrawny man down on his luck holding a sign. You know it’s bad when they have a handwritten sign and they are in bad condition.

I never stopped to look at what it said, probably best I didn’t or I wouldn’t be able to sleep from the shear sadness of his circumstance. Mum and I walked past along with everyone else. I looked back and his face just screamed ‘hopeless’. I realized how many people, myself included, weren’t taking any action.

Mum and I headed to a local vegetarian restaurant up an alley. They have the most delicious food, honestly. So she grabbed 3 takeaway containers at $18 each (me being unemployed she pays for pretty much everything, and she’s happy to, but I still feel guilty of this everyday, but don’t know how to fix this). One for her, one for me, and one full of these crispy potatoes for later if we’re feeling peckish.

I realized I had the $20 in my pocket that I brought with me just incase. I suddenly had a moment of inspiration. I said to mum that I wanted to buy that homeless man lunch. She was quite dumbstruck because I’ve never had the courage or spontaneity to do something like this (The only other memorable time being a few weeks back I spoke to a past school teacher of mine and told her how amazing she was, and she said it was quite weird because she was thinking about quitting).

So I grabbed the biggest takeaway container for $18. I chucked in some roasted pumpkin, chickpeas, wheat noodles with sesame seeds on it, a good handful of crispy potatoes, some beetroot and some sort of puffy rice with vegetables in it. I bought it, grabbed a plastic fork and a plastic bag and I was ready.

Mum wanted in on the action, and so she bought a fruity drink, and later down the road whilst going back to him, an almond croissant. We approached him and he looked like a stunned mullet when I handed him the bag of food and drink. He said ‘Hohhhh, thank you!’. I didn’t know what to say so I just smiled as I walked away. He shouted one last ‘thanks’ as we both gave him a wave. My life was suddenly shaken to its very core.

Here was I selfishly going into the city for some underwear I needed, and some $175 Calvin Klein jeans my mum wanted to buy for me, and I could have just made this mans day for a mere $18. I suddenly realized what was more important in that moment.

I told mum I couldn’t go into Smith and Caughey's and have her fork out $175 for a pair of jeans after that experience. She said I couldn’t help them all, and it was true, I can’t help everyone in the world, but morally I simply couldn’t do it knowing how much of an impact just $18 had on this homeless man. It just seemed hypocritical and wrong.

Throughout the whole day I noticed hundreds, if not thousands of people just walk past these homeless people as if they were invisible. They were all dressed in fancy attire, $200 business suits and one lady I saw with an expensive bag still with its price tag on. What has this world come to?

It really is true that we could end world hunger if we wanted to, yet we do nothing. It got me thinking… how hard is it to buy a loaf of bread for a few dollars and hand it to the homeless man on the corner? It could feed him for the day, and you might actually feel good about it.

When we rushed back to catch the ferry we had passed 3 more homeless people. We couldn’t help them though 🙁 I would like to think they at least were better off than the first man. These three people looked like they had a shower and some food the previous night at least (the last $2 I had I put in another homeless man's empty cup, so all my money was spent, woohoo) – the same couldn’t have been said for the first man I fed. As we were going back to the docks we noticed the man we fed was gone. Perhaps he scurried off to eat it before people realized he was already fed – as people are oblivious to the fact that there’s still night time or tomorrow for him to worry about.

I can’t help but think where he is now, a day later. Sometimes I feel so powerless. Why does the world have to revolve around money so much? It seems it’s the only thing keeping us alive, and it’s so unjust.

After this experience I feel like I want to do what Matthew Barnett did, in setting up a Dream Center, catering for the homeless, the broken, the lost, and the rejected, the different, and anyone for that matter who has been left for dead by society. I just don’t know how to do it though.

I don’t have the money for it; I don’t know how I would run such a thing, and many other things I would worry about. I can see it now: The Dream Center, Auckland City. With a library full of books or even Kobo’s (digital book reading things that look like iPads) with thousands of books to read from, free education facilities, a dance/music area, sleeping areas of course, a food area, and much more.

If only I were a multi-millionaire. I just need to win lotto >.<

Oh and another weird thing… when Mum and I were in a store, I heard music which I recognised immediately. It was some alternate version of Placebo's 'Running Up That Hill' song. I remember some of the lyrics 'If only I could… make a deal with God, and get Him to swap our places'. Isn't that a bit freaky? XD

Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
October 27, 2012, 11:51

That's great, Jordan. Lovely that you thought to help that homeless man and acted upon your thought. And your Mum got into it too! That's so nice. 🙂

Every day we choose comfort over someone else's need. It's true we can't help everyone but how great if we were moved to loving action more and more.


Ann Maree

Joined in 2011
October 27, 2012, 12:45

Hi Jordan – funny you should share that story this week.

During the week a woman walked into my work place at about 8.30AM. She asked me if she could use the microwave to heat up some food. I was initially a bit taken aback (as It was such a random request). We chatted a bit as she pulled out a packet pasta mix and a tin of beans from her handbag and heated them up. She didn't volunteer any explanation – and I didn't ask for one, however I think I can safely assume that she was homeless – and perhaps living out of her car. She was neatly presented and quite articulate and she was keen to direct the conversation back to me – asking me about my work, about what we did. She was very apologetic for "taking up my time" – but I let her know that it was no problem… and told her that I saw every new conversation as a gift and had the opportunity to bring something new. She looked at me square and directly in the face and said "well thank you so much for saying that – I can tell you tbhat not all conversations are quite so polite". She told me her name and I shook hands with her. I asked what her day held and she told me she was going to Life line and would then see what happened.

Each year Lifeline runs a food drive – especially around Christmas time. They look for packaged and tinned food (pasta, tinned tomatoes, pasta sauce) but also around Christmas some special items like tinned salmon, tinned ham, coffee, chocolates, long life custard, bottles of mineral water. I work nearby a local Lifeline so i see first hand that these donations of food really do help people. I have been told that the simple things like having a jar of coffee in the cupboard is very much appreciated as these "luxury items" are often the first to go when people fall on tough times. They describe people like the woman I met as "the hidden homeless".

So perhaps f2bers might like to contact their local Lifeline to see how they might be able to help.

Sarab 🙂

Joined in 2012
October 27, 2012, 17:57

Thanks for the comments 😀 and wow that's an awesome story sarab. It's true, there are so many people hurting and sometimes it goes unnoticed, or we think we have a horrible day, then we see someone else worse off. I think we humans take so many things for granted. Every day now I'm grateful for having food provided for me, a roof over my head, clothes to wear, and simple things like fresh water. Many people especially in South Africa don't have these basic necessities and have to walk miles just for fresh water or education – and even education we take for granted! Most kids don't even appreciate being educated. The strange world we live in…

Joined in 2005
October 28, 2012, 08:26


That's a great story AND of course hwhilst Jesus DIDN'T say anything about homosexuality etc he said clearly that those who Don't help the poor and the homeless WILL burn in hell.

Have u seen the Australian AND show called "go back to where you come from". I mention it because it gives a small idea of the size of the problem in the world. I mention this in the context of you comments on world vision. Now I can't actually spell for them but I can tell you about UNHCR ( As i have worked there.

They get the same complaints. Where does all the money go. And I won't say they are perfect but I will say regularly UNHCR staff are killed . Sometimes kidnapped. They deal with Taliban and other demands. I have a friend who works for them in Africa and his family live in a gated guarded fortress. Not long ago the family of another worker were shot.

It extremely hard in our countries to understand what these organisations have to deal with and I encourage everyone to do some reading on what they are up against. In 2011 there were over 15 million refugees in the world. World visioIfn deals with a vastly greater population than that.


IM going to put a plug here for one of the programs I support. It's called KIVA and it provides micro finance. Small loans to help people help themselves. The thing is whilst giving people good and water is critical, what is better but more expensive is giving people the means to feed themselves. Micro finance tried to help people better their situation. If anyone is interested, if they message me their email I will send them an invite and then they ( and I) will get a $25 credit from jobs. Enough for one loan to try it. I think it's a great way to see how other people live and when they pay each loan back u can relend the money.

Joined in 2012
October 28, 2012, 19:23

whilst Jesus DIDN'T say anything about homosexuality etc he said clearly that those who Don't help the poor and the homeless WILL burn in hell.

That sounds a little harsh :-/ I don't think many people would go to heaven if that were the case. I don't really like to get caught up in the politics of what gets you into heaven and what doesn't, because I've heard so much on it that I just don't know what to think anymore. I would like to believe that everyone goes to heaven in the end, and that helping the poor and needy is a guideline to living a joyous life, not a commandment, as thinking of what does and what does not get you into heaven with this rule and that rule seriously just messes with my head and is unhealthy.

About World Vision 40 hour famine, I personally don't trust them and I believe the money doesn't go to where it is needed, but each to their own! There is no doubt that some foundations have to go into seriously dangerous places to provide food, water etc. and can be kidnapped, but that is a whole other topic there!

I just like to see real action, and one foundation I see where every cent is put to good use is the Ryan's Well Foundation, set up by Ryan Hreljac. As a kid he had a dream to help people in South Africa obtain fresh water. He has since helped over 750,000 people by setting up hundreds of water wells. That is a heck of a lot of people in the world – a true angel.

Joined in 2005
October 28, 2012, 21:10


Ryans well is a good foundation – and in fact the UN itself is committed to Drinking water. I really suggest you get hold of "Go Back to where you Came From" and one of the things they show there is the terrible sanitory conditions and lack of water facing the worlds 15 million refugees.

No dont get me wrong here – I am not trying to get people to support world vision – I dont – and I prefer for example the Oxfam approach to the world vision approach. as they focus on building community which research shows if more effective in the long run.

HOWEVER – I want to put this in context for you ….

Ryans well has helped over 750 000 people and thats extraordinary.

Work vision has an annual budget of 2.6 BILLION dollars and actively helps more than 100 MILLION people each year.

Those numbes are staggering and I can assure you those 100 million people's lives would be MUCH worse off without world vision. That is all the people in TOTAL that Ryans well foundation has helped is less than 1% of the people that world vision help EACH YEAR.

and Ill give you some more figures – because in New Zealand and Australia ( and my family live in a small coastal village of less than 400 people so I know small towns)

Buenos Aires for example is NOT the biggest city in South America – and it has a population of over 12 MILLION people. Thats just one city. 750 000 people is like 2 suburbs of some of the bigger cities.

Now I mention Buenos Aires as an example because I have been there – and when you fly in – you see these enormous "Shanty Towns" or "villa miseria" – Towns of Dejections. The one around BA has over 2 million people who dont have proper housing. They have no running water and usually no power (although sometimes they try to steal power from the grid – often fatally) There are places like this all over the world – where people struggle for water – and food.

World Vision works in over 100 countries – and they also employ 40000 people – 90% of them are employed in their own home country – which means local people are getting income so they can feed their families – and so they have money to support local businesses.

Something I am impressed with them for is they are very active in promoting the Ban on landmines. If you have seen children damaged crippled (killed) by land mines – I would say that that alone is a fantastic thing to be doing but they are also VERY active in installing water treatment plants and water pumps. I dont have stats on them but I suspect you would be shocked on how many hundreds of thousands of such installations they have done.

So again – Im not saying they do better than Ryans' well nor am I trying to suggest you support them – the point I want to make is that there are many organisations and most of them (World Vision, Oxfam, UNHCR, Ryans well, Doctors without borders – These people are INCREDIBLY brave and the stories I know would leave most people sleepless. ) actually do far more than 99% of people realise – and they generally do it well – under extremely difficult positions.

And they deal with religious issues and politics and culture (such as places that refuse clean water because they think it would cause their women to become too independant). The smaller organisations can actuallty choose safer locations but the bigger organisations – UNHCR, world Vision, Oxfam – need to go where ever they are needed and that may mean negotiating for safety with terrorists etc. (Again this issue is shown in that documentary – go back to where you come from – I cant recommend that enough !)

I think these people who are helping others (remember – – world vision works with more than 20 million people each year (I see different figures so I have gone for the SMALLEST figure -given by world vision australia so the real figure for all workd visions could be up to 5 times bigger BTW) ! Ryans Well in its entire – but fantasic history hasnt helped 1% of that number yet) and do it frequently at the risk of their lives – deserve applause – not criticsm or to be run down for the amazing work they do). No organisation IS perfect AND they make mistakes – but I think they deserve our admiration – all of them – the small – like ryans well – and the big.

Also world Vision Australia – gets millions of dollars for their aid work from UNICEF, UNHCR and AusAID. I can assure you these organisations DO audit where that money goes. They will make sure that there is no corruption and the money is spent to help the people it was given. The reason they give it to these organisations is because they have PROVEN they make a difference and can provide help and aid to millions of people. However you say you dont believe the money will end up where it should and I can tell you – that – there are strong controls in place for this. Your bank is more likely to steal your money than these organisations.

Frequently the people who criticise these organisations DONT work in the industry and so are NOT aware of the audits and controls. Its all very well to say – I can fly the plane better than the pilot – but if you have never flown – the reality is no where as easy as it looks !

(to give an example – you can give one or two people food as you did – (and thats terrific BTW) but if you wanted to open a free restaurant to help LOTS of homeless – it suddenly becomes much more complicated. You would need to register as a non profit. (There are lots of laws about these to make sure the money goes to what it was given for) You would need to comply with OH&S safety laws. You would need to comply with Zoning laws and food laws. What was a simple thing suddenly becomes a bit of a legal minefield. Such places frequently then get targetted by neighbours worried about the lowering of property values – or even their safety as you are "attracting" homeless people to the area. Most people dont realise what is involved in the work these organisations do but they must follow laws (many of them) in their home country and the country they are working in. They must keep the religious leaders and political leaders and often criminal leaders happy as well.

Not to mention there are many organisations in our own home countries which also make a huge difference to people. In 2006 – New Zealands non profit sector was sized at 1.6 billion dollars. That will include things like hostels for the homeless, Support groups for people Ill and disabled. Groups that feed the poor and MUCH more. Thats not government organisations but other organisations LIKE world vision etc etc. Many people are surprised by such figures.

Regarding your comment "That sounds a little harsh :-/ " I agree – but this is what I was referring to

Matthew 25:40-45

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ …

In fact – the not looking after the poor and hungry is one of the main sins of Sodom – listed in several places. So I think the bible is actually clearer on the fact that not helping the poor and needy is actually one of the few real unforgiveable sins than nearly any other topic.

BUT remember – what Jesus said about the Widows Gift Mark 12:41-43 and Luke 20:45-21:4 – Jesus says clearly that the absolute amount you give is not what matters. Giving $2 if it makes a different to your life (that is you have to go without) is greater than giving a fortune you dont miss. (Still I think its great people give fortunes to help the poor and MORE should do it) but hopefully you see my point.

Did you look at Kiva ? (I was away vising a sick rel in interstate this morning and so my post was a little fuzzy) – Micro Finance is a terrific way to help people. You might lend someone money to buy a milk cow so they can send their children to school. Or you might lend people money to study to be a teacher

I have loans with people in the following countries (Each loan is $25 and as they pay back – I can lend that same money on to someone else)




Dominican Republic




South Sudan










The reason I mention this is to try go give an idea of the richness of philathropy and how many different ways there are to help people.

Organisations like Ryan's well provide clean water – and education – Médecins Sans Frontières provides medical care. UNHCR provides safe camps, water and food for people fleeing from war and persecution. World vision not only provides clean water and food – but also disaster relief, Health improvement programs (including Nutrition etc), Education, finance (like the Kiva Micro Finance), agricultural development, advocacy and a LOT more.

AS I say – Im not trying to suggest ANYONE support any particular organisation. what I am trying to show is that they all do amazing work and to suggest to the reader that their work is actually much harder than most people realise and that we should be supportive not dismissive and not claim they dont do what they say without being very sure about it as it can damage the organisation and if you damage world vision – thats 20 to 100 million people a year who you are potentially removing help from.

Joined in 2010
October 29, 2012, 04:26

Hey Jordan

You may not be able to solve the problems of muli billion dollar NGO's like World Vision, or any of the others, but your gesture to one man, one day made a difference – to him – and to you. Maybe that's how God wants to speak to you.

Once I came out of a high rise Auckland office tower at the end of a workday, in my high priced designer suit to see an older lady getting ready to bunk down for the night on a park bench. Something inside me made me go over to her and invite her home rather than spend that winter's night outside. She said no, but we stayed and talked. Did i have pity on her? probably, but it was the act of compassion that I hope touched her as it kept my heart open to seeing people as Jesus saw them that mattered.

Keep reaching out in tangible, practical ways to thoes on the edge – like we (in the LGBTI community) are, God will speak volumes into your life as a result. And stop buying milkman undies – C-in2 are way better. 🙂


Joined in 2012
October 29, 2012, 10:00

Hey Shadow, I don't really want to have to say this, but I took offense to you comparing Ryan's Well Foundation with World Vision. World Vision has major sponsorship and global marketing, whereas Ryan's Well was started by himself, and he doesn't have the staff, sponsorship and marketing that World Vision has. It's like comparing the local dairy to Mcdonalds, it's simply unrealistic to compare such numbers on how many they help. I think we will have to agree to disagree on this one. Regardless, both foundations help people and that's all that matters in the end.

Thanks Steveo – that's a great story. I would imagine she would worry about food which is why she rejected your lovely offer, as the city is probably the best chance of being fed daily just due to the shear volume of people.

And stop buying milkman undies – C-in2 are way better.

Lol !!!!!!!!!! 😀


Joined in 2005
October 29, 2012, 10:35


Im not KNOCKING Ryans well and I think its a great organisation. Im also not suggesting you support world Vision. I don't – as I say – I prefer the philosophical approach of oxfam.

What I am saying – is why are you knocking world vision?

World vision (australia) helps 20 Million people a year. Their use of money IS Audited by australian AND International bodies so you CAN BE SURE the money goes where it should go. There are many laws for this. People who think otherwise nearly always are unaware of the laws governing the non profit sector and exactly what the reporting requirements are. Not to mention penalties for disobeying AND the reporting requirements.

Im also pointing out that those 20 million (plus) people a year would be MUCH worse off without them .

which of those statements do you disagree with and why ? What I am saying is why would u harm those 20 million people by knocking world vision unless you have clear evidence (in which case – give it to the authorities because they will come down on them like a tonne of bricks – I can promise that)…

I would also note

Exodus 20:16, the Ninth Commandment reads: "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." and James 4:11 "Speak not evil one of another, brothers. He that speaks evil of his brother, and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law…"

When you say "Something I would like to personally ask God is where has all the money gone from World Vision: 40 hour famine? There are hundreds of millions of dollars pumped into that foundation yearly, and still it has produced very little result" Have you asked World Vision that question ? You are actually accusing them of Fraud and thats an awful thing to do unless you make an effort to find out what they really do.

Im not trying to have a go at you. I think what you did was fantastic. However having worked in this field I know there are many people who knock these organisations without knowing the facts (its easy to knock) and then others just repeat what they hear – even though what they are saying is really wrong AND HURTS the poor because many people then use it as an excuse to not support ANY organisation. So the losers then are the poor and homeless people. It happens a lot so Im trying to make it clear these claims are usually baseless. (because if they arent – the law gets involved VERY fast).

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