Creating Opportunities | Troy Wallace
Pastor Troy Wallace (Troy Wallace) who will be the pastor at Crosspoint SDA soon Crosspoint Adventist Church) shares how he came to have a heart to help the homeless and describes taking a risk to help a younger man off the streets.
Troy’s passion for helping houseless people began to grow from some unpleasant self-reflection. He realized when taking a Christian Ethics class, that he had made almost no attempt to know or love many of the most marginalized people in society, those living on the streets. His time at Walla Walla was a time of huge reformation, so he was taking every opportunity to challenge himself to grow. With houselessness he decided that the best way to be able to engage the issue was to start with understanding it better. He didn’t want a surface level, emotionally disconnected perspective on houselessness, but a personal experience where he would know the challenges first-hand through the stories of those on the streets.
That’s how he got started. Nobody really inspired him, but Dr. Pedrito (the Christian Ethics professor) challenged him, and that’s the push he needed.
Over the course of almost a year he built a friendship with a guy named Vance, a younger guy who was only recently houseless when they met. He was systematically houseless, not systemically houseless, and Troy had hopes that he could break out of the cycle of poverty that people get trapped in so easily. He decided to advocate for him, even though he knew it was a personal credibility risk if Vance were to mess up an opportunity he could receive. Troy connected Vance with a local business owner to get him a job. Vance was on drugs at the time, but he swore that he would quit if he took the job. Troy sat with him at the interview and wondered if he would follow-through. Troy was so proud of him that he did follow through. He broke out of the houseless world after a few months of working, then ended up moving somewhere else for a job. That was so encouraging for Troy, seeing how he helped turn someone’s life around. It reminded him that love is all about risk. People have to risk to lose something of themselves if love is going to be truly genuine
Troy shares what he wishes other people understood about those living on the streets.
“I think there’s a lot of assumptions about homeless people, and underneath all those assumptions, there’s a human being. That’s where we have to start. We have to start with recognizing that every houseless person has a very complex and individual story. Their current circumstances should not overshadow the person they are all together. It takes courage for us to engage people where we have to risk being potentially manipulated, for the purpose of giving a person a chance to be known and loved anyways.
I think we who believe in self-giving love can do a better job engaging those who are houseless. This side of eternity, I don’t think rich people will ever stop exploiting the poor, so I don’t think an economic solution is achievable. But I do think we can respond better, meet people where they are, and use our brains to find solutions for individuals. One by one we can help people be known, loved, and served in the ways that meet their needs best. It’s hard work, but worth it.”