Liberty Seventh-day Adventist Church

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is LIBERTY.

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Inner City
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“Good morning, would you like some breakfast?” The question breaks the silence of the early morning air. One after the other, from underneath piles of blanket, cardboard and plastic, sleeping bodies stir.
 
The question is asked again. Heads emerge and weary eyes look back in reply. Quickly, a band of seven or more people, hand out cups of hot chocolate tea and brown paper bags containing sandwiches, juice, fruits, and snack bars. This group is the Inner City Ministry team of Liberty. Under the leadership of Rachael Sibiya and Tyrone McKoy, the group descends on Baltimore City early every Sabbath morning to feed the homeless.
 
Going first to an area that is a campground of homeless people, the group finds 12 or more homeless men and women sleeping in that area. Some stretch out on benches so covered by blankets and plastic that it is difficult to tell if a human being is there. Others have crude-looking tents pitched between tree limbs and sticks. Still others sleep on the bare ground or on pieces of cardboard boxes. Scampering about in the dark corners of this place are fat rats that appear better fed than the people.  
 
In addition to the food, the members offer socks, hats, gloves, shoes and blankets to the people, which are eagerly received. They also leave pieces of literature and pray for those willing to accept prayer. 
 
“I used to cry every time I took a blanket and covered someone,” said Sister Rachael, who has worked with the ministry since it began in 2002. “Tears would just run down my face. It took me two to three years before I could do this work without crying.”
 
From there the group seeks out others who sleep in alleys, behind large columns and corners of buildings or sometimes in plain view next to steam vents on the sidewalks. The 75 bags of food they prepare are sometimes not enough and other times, a homeless may ask for a hat or socks after the last one’s been given out.
 
“I remember one time Craig Davis (another team member) took off his sweater and gave to a homeless man who was cold and another time we met a woman who held her shoes in her hand because it was too tight,” Sister Rachel said. “I went around the corner, took off my shoes and gave them to her. Then Tyrone gave me his shoes, and he and I took turns wearing the shoes until we were back at the car.”
 
Through their ministry they have encouraged homeless men like Bernard whose apartment building was sold after fifteen years of living there and he, unable to afford the rent, evicted. Bernard, an articulate, seemingly intelligent man, made no apology for his situation. “The fact is, there is no affordable housing for people,” he said, “so most end up on the street.” 
 
They encourage homeless women like Peggy who, very distraught one morning, asked for prayer for her daughter who would soon be homeless herself and a husband who was incarcerated. 
 
They encourage homeless men like Geoffrey who said the group was an answer to his prayer. When Geoffrey met the group, it had been three days since his last meal. He said he had been praying all day Thursday and Friday for God to give him some food. Then early Sabbath morning, something impressed him to go to Gay Street. There he found the Inner City team passing out food. He not only received something to eat, he received prayer and a hat and gloves. As he left them, he was praising God for His goodness.
 
“Doing this ministry just makes me feel closer to Jesus,” said Sister Rachel, “and there is no better feeling than that.”