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October 29, 2012

Pastors experiencing homelessness to help the homeless

NORMAN — The sun began to set, the temperature began to drop and two men rolled out their sleeping bags Sunday in a wooded area in east Norman to prepare for the night.

Dusty Buff, lead pastor of Grace Church, and student pastor Philip Nguyen plan to spend the next 10 days homeless. No food, no money, no shelter.

The only items they carried were sleeping bags, a change of clothes, their Bibles, two forms of ID and their cell phones in case of an emergency. This journey is one they hope will help those who really are homeless.

“The homeless community has been on my heart for years now,” Buff said.

After serving at Food and Shelter in Norman for several years, Buff said he wanted to take on this journey to better relate to those who are homeless.

“I felt like we were just putting a Band-Aid on things,” he said. “I wanted to understand what it (homelessness) is to find out how to meet their needs better.”

Nguyen said that in order to better understand something, sometimes you have to experience it. He is ready to meet the homeless where they are to help better address their needs.

“A situation is only as bad as you see it,” he said. “I’m ready to get my world rocked.”

Earlier that day, Grace Church celebrated their one-year anniversary. They celebrated, baptized some people, ate some cupcakes and then they left everything behind, Buff said.

Now they don’t know when their next meal will be. Buff said he knows the shelter in Norman serves breakfast and/or lunch, so that is where they will start. He also hopes to find out what other opportunities there are by talking to the people there.

The lead pastor wants to build relationships, hear people’s stories and experience what homeless people go through on a daily basis. The two plan on checking out the Salvation Army to see what kind of challenges individuals encounter whenever they need a place to stay and what happens if they are unable to get in.

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