In 2003, Diane and I opened our home to people on the street. That wasn’t the first time we enacted this hospitality. We had folks in our two bedroom apartment with our three kids, staying in our living room for years before. And before that, we had immigrants, refugees, friends and people who just got out of prison. Bu they all stayed for a limited period of time, up to a few months, to get on their feet.
Now we were looking for a longer term solution, to keep people until they had another viable option. Sometimes this is for a few days, but sometimes many years. To belong to our community, we asked that people attended a worship service or Bible study and that they work ten hours for the community. We would provide a room, electricity, running water, a shared kitchen and what food we were able to provide.
We all worked together, helping each other, helping others. Diane and I raise our kids in the environment of community living, homeschooling them and loving to see them live with and interact some of the poorest of the poor, as well as the unique families we had with us. It provided a unique place for them to grow up.
We’ve had kids playing in the house, people quarreling, others recovering from illness, others working together on common projects. We’ve had many jokes, many songs, many discussions, many difficulties, many friendships. All gathered together to love– although some attempts were more successful than others. And some roads to love took longer than others.
I will especially remember Vickie, who always quietly served and got along with everyone.
Byron, who would be there to comfort and to passionately declare the scriptures. Sometimes too passionately.
Tim, who was recovering from a particularly hard road on the street, and who rested and then passed away in our room.
Hammer, who came to learn how to love, and took gentle leadership in difficult situations.
Tim and Samantha, whose family grew during their stay here.
The Markoya family, whose children were a joy.
Ron, who puttered around our gardens for about a decade.
Ankles, the handyman who kept things running in an innovative, but knowledgeable manner.
Styx, who was silent and gruff until you got to know him and then he was immensely loyal.
Mark and Mary Anne who married here and whose artisan ways shaped their lives.
Dion, Pam, Bryon, Uncle Jimmy, Trucker, Half Rack, Barry and so many more.
And Mike, who was here to clean up the house for opening and is here to see the house close.
Three years ago, we told all the current inhabitants that June 2018 the house would close and that us Kimes’ weren’t going to live in community any more. We are getting ready now to prepare the house for sale, and then to move on to the next direction. This house was a dream when we started Anawim in 1996, and now that dream is behind us.
The funny thing is now the Portland city council declared our overpacked dwelling and backyard legal. They want to see more homes do what we did for a decade and a half. And I encourage others to do this as well. Jesus is out there, the stranger, waiting for someone to take him in, to give him space to live. We need to get to know him and invite him into our homes. The need is greater than ever.