After spending an extended amount of time at the International House of Prayer, we grabbed our backpacks and hit the streets of downtown Kansas City, where we’d become all too familiar with the skyscrapers and street lights. This was one of those cities with no agenda. The rain canceled any plans we had initially made, but oddly enough, we were so okay with it. The Lord had been in it thus far, why would he leave now? He wasn’t concerned with our plans happening, all He really ever cared about was our saying “yes” anyway. And yes it would stay. Regardless of how that played out.
We took our donated coffee from the Roasterie and headed downtown in search of the unlikely ones we keep talking about. They stood out with their unkempt hair and toothless grins. But gosh, they were gold. Each and every single one of them. Some gold just takes a little longer to mine, you know? The walls took a little bit longer to fall, but they fell. The commonality seen in the poorest of the poor has centered around abuse and depression and addiction and abandonment. But the most beautiful thing we have experienced is hope. Hope in something more, something real, and something more extravagant than any of us could ever imagine possible. Walls have crumbled, tears have fallen, and love has been extravagant.
Before we left the bus stop, Darryl a friend that had spent 30 minutes in conversation with, gathered us together before we left and said, “ You gotta know, what you are doing matters so much. I don’t know what would make you guys come to Kansas city, it’s not the biggest or coolest city…” We told him that we came there for him, and that it was worth it. He reminded us that many of his friends and people everyday wake up every morning and asking God to show himself if He is still real. “You guys were my sign today, the sign that God cares and that He’s listening. Keep being that voice for people across the United States. The love you have is real.”
Our heart as Two Cents Project, the past years has burned to see the rich and the poor come together in the gutters. The Bible says,
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:25 ESV).
We are rich. We are rich in love and we are rich in opportunity. We have every responsibility to bring others into the richness of Jesus. We must bridge the gap. We must realize that our own country will never change unless we do it. We must be the ones to say yes. It’s a collision of the lion and the lamb, the friction that is bridged by unlikely students that just want to see others loved.
So we sat around a table at lunch, the rich and the poor and the average joe, talking and sharing over sandwiches and wings and fries. Aaron was 24, though you’d never know it. Hardened by the streets and ever-changing weather, he sat politely, grateful for the free meal. He was a quiet guy who had been kicked out of his house. His parents are divorced and he’s an only child. Aaron was complacent, and it broke our hearts. His piercing blue eyes held so many hardships, so many lies, and so much brokenness. We told him this wasn’t his forever. And before we said goodbye that day, Aaron had a small flame in his eyes again.
Matt was a retired marine. He held the all-American dream in the palm of his hands. He has a family and wife of over 40 years. Sitting alone, we invited him to join us. He told us about his job, and how he works 40 hour weeks to pay for his wife’s medical conditions telling us,
“I hope she goes first, so she has nothing in the world to worry about.”
And what we discovered is that no matter your earthly wealth, we all long for community. We all long for conversation that goes a little deeper than our weekend plans.
Nikki used to be an LPN nurse. Now, cleaning houses to make ends meet, she took the seat next to Matt. Within seconds, they were laughing and bonding over a plate of fries. We all looked around the table at each other smiling, knowing that if we disappeared right then, the conversation wouldn’t have skipped a beat. We realized that we each had our own two cents to give, despite what’s in our pockets. Hope filled us as it filled them, and in that moment, we saw the first step of the bridge being restored.
Goodbye from Kansas City.