We moved from Australia to Tennessee when I (Luke) was five, and Joel was seven. Our dad was a concert promoter in Australia, and when a tour he’d been planning didn’t work out, we lost everything.
Thankfully, dad had a job offer in Nashville. So, we packed what we could and sold everything else. At the time, there were six kids—mom was pregnant with the seventh. Around two months after we arrived in Tennessee, dad lost his job.
It was challenging, but we saw God at work, and we drew closer to each other. We mowed lawns and raked leaves as a family and did whatever we could to get by while dad looked for work. There were times when we would all sit in this furniture-less house we were renting, not knowing where the next paycheck was going to come from. We didn’t even have a car. We would sit in a circle and pray for everything, and we saw miraculous interventions!
Being from Australia, the idea of Thanksgiving was new to us. That year, we were invited into a stranger’s home to share a traditional Thanksgiving meal. At the end of the night, the father of the house walked up to my mom and said, “Hey, we believe God’s told us to give you a new minivan.” So, he handed over the keys!
Others found out we didn’t have furniture, and they showed us compassion. A few months later, we didn’t have a way to pay for my little sister’s birth. In the hospital, somebody anonymously paid for it—the whole bill!
People we didn’t know … strangers in the community loved us and cared for us. That’s the biggest reason why our family stayed in Nashville—we saw neighbors loving neighbors.
It’s also one of the reasons why we love and support Nashville Rescue Mission. The Mission loves people who are hurting and in need. The Mission provides connection and community for people who may believe they have exhausted all other options.
I know some people think it is enabling if you help someone who is homeless. My philosophy is a little different. It’s not my responsibility to be the judge. It is, however, my responsibility to serve and to give. If a person is hungry, feed them. If someone needs a place to sleep, give this person a bed.
But I’m also uniquely aware of my helplessness. I know there are times when I can’t financially provide, but I want to acknowledge them … and encourage them to seek help from a place like Nashville Rescue Mission.
In America, I don’t think homelessness is just an issue of food and shelter; often, it’s a lack of connectivity to community. What I love about the Mission is that I can see their impact on people all across this city. On behalf of for KING & COUNTRY, we love the Mission and believe in the work this organization is doing.