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Friendship on the Street: Take Two


Missioner-in-training Valerie Ellis reflects on one of her experiences with those living on the streets of Washington, D.C. 

Yesterday, I met Brad.* When we first met, he thanked us for the food that we gave and asked if we would like to pray. He joined hands with us and we prayed the Our Father.

Brad admitted he had a problem with alcohol, and started crying within the first five minutes of our conversation. He asked us not to give him any money, because he said that he would just buy alcohol with it. He said that he had tried rehab multiple times, and that he didn’t understand why he wasn’t strong enough to give it up. He said he knew that he should be giving back to others, and making something of his life.

Yes, he had a story, a past filled with troubles that caused him to bow his head and share tears. But he was just a person, a human being, who was looking for love.

He shared that he was sleeping in a parking lot nearby, and that it was a shame. He shared his hope that his sister would come by and rescue him, to take him in while he tried to get better. He thanked us for the food, and said he hoped he wouldn’t be there when we came by next week.

*name changed for confidentiality

Valerie served for two years (2014-2015) in Cochabamba, Bolivia working with CUBE (Centro Una Brisa de Esperanza) to raise sexual violence awareness and prevention, and in CEV (Comunidad Educativa Para La Vida) teaching and nurturing children six months to 8-years-old. Valerie grew up outside of Wichita, Kansas and graduated from The University of Tampa. She found her way to Franciscan Mission Service after 12 years of working in higher education where she worked with international students and designed and taught a class called "Avoiding Violence: Be A Part of the Solution."