This is a picture of Gerardo and Margarite, a couple that we met while ministering in downtown San Jose, Costa Rica. Gerardo’s father abandoned him on the streets when he was nine tears old and he has lived on the streets of San Jose his entire life. This picture was taken at their “home” in front of a store with a large overhanging roof that keeps them dry at night. There were about twenty others sleeping in this same location. Around the city of San Jose there are hundreds of others sleeping on the streets at night. I wouldn’t necessarily say “homeless” as the streets are their home. But the streets are not like your home. They are a very tough place. They fight every single day to survive.
Homeless people are found throughout the world. Rich countries and poor countries. The last attempt at an estimate was 100 million people worldwide. Getting accurate numbers is impossible. We passed over a bridge in San Jose and the pastor told us that more than 100 people lived under that bridge! These are the invisible people. They live in the shadows. And most just look away.
When we returned to the street of San Jose we looked for Gerardo and Margarite. They were not invisible to us. They were our friends. They were enjoyable to talk to. They appreciated that we stopped to talk to them and hear their story. The food we provided was really secondary. They wanted companionship and company at their home.
We understand the truth- we are all one bad decision from being where they are. Abandoned and forgotten. Living day to day. Afraid and lonely.
Look around, you will see them. Stop and talk to them. Hear their stories. They are there. They are not invisible.