Debbie’s final words to me were, “Do not give up on Denver. God is going to bless your friendship in ways you can never imagine.”
Twelve years earlier, my wife convinced me to build her dream home in Fort Worth. We’d been Christians since 1974, but our marriage was on the verge of collapse. Yet instead of divorce papers, she offered me the path of loving kindness.
One day, she dreamed about a poor, homeless man—and by his wisdom our lives and city will be changed (Ecc 9:15). Determined to find him, she began volunteering at Union Gospel Mission—and convinced me to join her. Two weeks later, a man charged into the dining room screaming he was going to kill everyone unless whoever had stolen his shoes returned them.
That’s when Debbie said, “That’s the man I dreamt about. And I believe God is saying you have to become his friend and find out what my dream is all about.”
After pursuing him for five months, I finally got him in my car, though he was screaming at me to just leave him alone. I told him I would love to, but my wife told me I had to be his friend. He liked Debbie, so he promised to think about it.
I recall Denver asking if I was “one of them Christians?” After answering yes, he asked me a question I never forgot.
“Why is it that all you Christians worship one homeless man on Sunday, then turn your back on the first one you see on Monday?”
I felt like I’d been hit with a stun gun before finally admitting I didn’t have an answer for him. He then said, “Mr. Ron, you never know whose eyes God is watchin’ you out of. I’m tellin’ you, it ain’t gonna be your preacher or Sunday school teacher. It might just be one of them fellas sittin’ on the curb like me.”
One of the greatest pearls of wisdom Denver shared was this, “Whether we is rich or poor or somethin’ in between, this earth ain’t no final restin’ place. So in a way, we is all homeless—just workin’ our way home.”
I learned so much from my friend, which led to my writing the book, Same Kind of Different As Me. My hope and dream for both the book and movie is for people to see the homeless through the lenses of God. The biggest misconception about the homeless is that they got themselves in the mess, so let them get themselves out. Many people think they are simply lazy. I urge those to make a friend at a local mission like Nashville Rescue Mission.
Together, Denver and I did nearly four hundred events in the ten years after Debbie’s death. Using our book and story at those events, we helped raise nearly fifty million dollars together for the homeless. In 2009, we had the privilege of participating in an event to benefit Nashville Rescue Mission. After Denver’s death in 2012, I’ve continued to share our story at rescue missions, universities, and churches all across America.
Ron Hall and Denver Moore co-authored the books Same Kind of Different As Me and What Difference Do It Make? and created the Same Kind of Different As Me small-group Bible study shortly before Moore passed away.
A film based upon the book opens in theaters October 20th. If you would like free tickets to view the premiere on October 18th, please visit this link.