Homeless in Atlanta

by crystalbraxton

“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16)

In January 2013, God called me into full-time ministry. He said the following: “midwife..covering..most urgent needs”…”live of the gospel.” Eventually, He told me to move to Atlanta.

“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee” (Genesis 12:1)

I recall making a public statement that I wanted to identify with the poor just like Jesus did..to be able to speak many languages for the cause of Christ. (I thought I was just speaking from the state of poverty that I was in at the time.) The King of Kings was found in a manger. Furthermore, He first identified the poor when He announced His public ministry.

“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” (Luke 4:16-21)

I also told God that I wanted to go to the places where people need to experience God’s love in a deep way..see the manifestation of God’s miraculous power.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35)

On December 14, 2013, God told me to leave Alabama. I left Tuscaloosa on Greyhound bus with one direction and arrived in Atlanta after 3am. I had one piece of luggage, storage container, and tote bag.

“And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.” (Matthew 9:9)

My aunt had given me the money for a bus ticket and an extra $20. The man who sat beside me on the bus gave me a cap and $15 and bought me breakfast. The bus driver was willing to pay for me a hotel near the church God told me to go to before I left Tuscaloosa (“the one direction”). We couldn’t find one before he went back to work. I told him to take me to IHOP. He gave me $60. I was just happy to be where God wanted me to be. I asked a woman in the restaurant to take me to the church in time for Sunday School. When I got into the sanctuary, God reminded me of a dream of a church. So, I changed seats – a seat towards the area where I was sitting in the dream looking at a pastor in a bishop’s robe standing on an elevated pulpit. The elder’s teaching and testimony was very relevant to my experience so I was compelled to share my testimony with the class. After worship service, the same elder was concerned about me. I told her that I needed a place to stay, and she knew a place yet she wasn’t sure if I wanted to live in a shelter. I just wanted a place to lay my head. She told a female member about me who lived at the shelter; I sat right behind this sister in class! When we got to the shelter, she told me that God told her, when we were in class, that I was going with her and to tell me that I wasn’t alone.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  (John 14:3)

Soon, I realized God wanted me to live as a homeless person. He reminded me of my requests. He and I were on one accord. I was like an undercover cop. I’m very grateful for my experiences. There are some people that I will never forget because they made this mission so worthwhile. Experience is a teacher! Does anybody know about on-the-job training? Crystal certainly does, and this isn’t the first time! I just love God, and I love how He loves!

“How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!” (Proverbs 16:16)