SAN FRANCISCO (BP)–TruthQuest: California team member Tim Harms walked into the Page Street Baptist Center in downtown San Francisco not quite prepared to be faced with the reality of poverty in America, but it is a reality that made him pause and thank God for his blessings.
“Yesterday, I witnessed the homeless people on the streets of San Francisco … something I’ve never seen before. I saw the homeless people and how they were just trying to get by,” Harms recounted. “My first reaction was to step back and avoid them, but after I started talking to one particular homeless man I realized that I simply needed to treat them with the same respect as other people…. I also realized how lucky I am to live where I live and have what I have,” said Harms, as he pointed to his name-brand ball cap.
Harms, 14, of Franklin, Tenn., is one of 12 TruthQuest team members who have been traveling in California the past two weeks experiencing hands-on missions. The mission experiences are being recorded by FamilyNet Television to be edited into a Christian reality-based television series this fall.
The past two weeks, the TruthQuest team has traveled to San Diego, Yosemite National Park, San Francisco and Los Angeles engaging in cutting-edge ministry.
“Before we got to San Francisco we were able to see how great God is through his creation,” Harms said. “We were bombarded with his beautiful creation from the time we were whitewater rafting to the time we were laying under the stars in Yosemite Park…. It just reminded me how God has the whole world in his hands.”
Then, in San Francisco, Harms said he was nervous at first at the thought of engaging in conversation with the homeless but became less intimidated after he began to hear their reality-based stories.
“After I started challenging myself to talk to them, I started to get a feel for what they are going through and I became comfortable with the community center,” he said.
The TruthQuest team ministered to the homeless at the Page Street Baptist Center in downtown San Francisco and held a Backyard Bible Club for the children of the community.
“It was sad to see that when we went to invite the kids to come to the Backyard Bible Club, their parents didn’t care what they were doing,” Harms said. “It was heartbreaking to see that they are going through this life with no one who cares where they are going or what they are doing. We just loved them in a way they don’t get at home.
“I am reminded of the Good Samaritan story in the Bible. It’s hard for me to imagine what it is like to be in that situation. I don’t know what to think about it; all I know to do is to love unconditionally as God has told us to do. God does not love me more or less than the homeless. I don’t get special treatment over a homeless beggar.”
Harms, who will be a freshman at Franklin High School in the fall, said the experience of TruthQuest: California renewed his vision to reach his own school for Christ.
“In years to come, when someone looks at yearbook pictures, some will be known as good athletes, some will be known as smart people who are at the head of their class…. I want to be remembered by one thing: I hope when they see my face they will see the love of Jesus Christ. I hope that Christ’s love will be evident through my high school years,” Harms said.