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What happens when conviction leads to action? Stories of young adults being thrust by faith into situations they are dramatically under prepared for.



#71: The Word Moved Into the Neighborhood

Note: The Love Thy Neighborhood podcast is made for the ear, and not the eye. We would encourage you to listen to the audio for the full emotional emphasis of this episode. The following transcription may contain errors. Please refer to the audio before quoting any content from this episode. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Hey guys, it’s Jesse. Last episode, before the episode started, I came on and I asked you to be praying for young adults to come and serve in the Love Thy Neighborhood summer program, what we call the LTN Intensive. And I just wanted to come back and let you know that we have seen a lot of answer to those prayers. Our program director has had dozens of conversations with both young adults as well as young adult leaders who wanna know more about the program. Now, I want us to celebrate that, and also I would like to also ask you to please continue to pray because we still do have need for more young adults to come and to serve. So I’m actually gonna leave space right now – it’s just 10 seconds – if you would, wherever you are, just take 10 seconds to pray for that. Okay. Thank you so much for your prayers. We are so grateful and appreciative. And with that being said, onto the episode.


AUDIO CLIPS: Love Thy Neighborhood… Discipleship and missions for modern times.

ANNA TRAN: Hey Jesse, I’m gonna play this clip for you. 


ASHA JUNO: My name is Asha.

JESSE EUBANKS: Oh, totally. Asha. 

ANNA TRAN: Yeah, Asha – she came and served in 2009, and she actually currently lives in Florida. 

ASHA JUNO: With my husband and hound dog and our precious three-year-old little boy. 

ANNA TRAN: You know, something to know about Asha is that her name in Hindi actually means “hope.” And, you know, growing up, the word “hope” really became a big part of her identity.

ASHA JUNO: When I was in high school and college, I like made it my personality, like anything that said “hope” on it – a picture frame, a journal, wall art, a pen, anything. And people just bought me everything that said “hope.” Yeah. It was more than just my name. I don’t know. It was, it was like the thing. 

ANNA TRAN: So, fast forward. Asha is a sophomore in college and one day she’s at this summer camp and there are ministry booths lined up for all the college students to visit. 

ASHA JUNO: And you could go and get to know different programs around the country for, you know, college-age young adults.

ANNA TRAN: And so Asha – she walks around, maybe gets some free brochures, some pens. She talked to some people, and as she continues walking –

ASHA JUNO: I saw this big tent, and it had the word “hope” on it. I’m like, “That is for me.” (laughs) “That’s for me.” So, I made a beeline to the “hope” tent. 

ANNA TRAN: She walks up, and she sees two younger ladies and also –


JESSE EUBANKS: I totally remember this moment. 

ANNA TRAN: Do you? 

JESSE EUBANKS: Like, yeah. I completely have like a vivid memory of Asha coming up and her saying all these things like, “My name’s Asha and it means ‘hope’ and I’m obsessed with things related to hope and tell me about what you do.” And the whole reason that I was there is because before Love Thy Neighborhood was Love Thy Neighborhood we were actually a part of a different ministry and we were called Hope for Louisville. 

ANNA TRAN: Mmm, right. Yeah, she said she talked with you and a couple of the other current team members at the time.

ASHA JUNO: And in talking with them and figuring out the mission, it just really, really hit home for me.

ANNA TRAN: You know, and that’s because the mission for Hope for Louisville was actually very personal to her.

ASHA JUNO: Because, um, my brother – he suffers from addiction, and he has experienced homelessness for the majority of his adult life because of his addiction. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, you know, at that time, the young adult ministry that I was leading – you know, that eventually became LTN – we only focused on homelessness. It was just all about – “How do we help young adults build relationships with people who are homeless to bring the gospel into their lives?”

ANNA TRAN: Yeah, and that would make sense because a ministry that, you know, is all about building relationships with people experiencing homelessness – that would like resonate with Asha because she was trying to figure out how can she have a relationship with her brother. 

ASHA JUNO: He truly had nothing to his name, not a phone or anything, so we were just at the mercy of any time he would go to the hospital or a detox center for a few days and he could call us. I felt like I had no idea what my brother was going through. I just had no frame of reference for his life. 

ANNA TRAN: With her brother being out on the streets, she really didn’t have much day-to-day contact with him. But she said, like, Jesse, as she heard you talk about, like, the mission, she really wanted to be a part of a program like this.

ASHA JUNO: You know, working with homeless individuals and getting to really know that population and help run the day-to-day operations of a shelter. 

ANNA TRAN: And so, for a lot of people, you know, like working at a homeless shelter would be something they would have to think about, you know, make sure all their ducks are in a row. But for Asha –

ASHA JUNO: I was in immediately. I knew that this is something I wanted to be a part of. 

ANNA TRAN: And here’s the thing – Asha was raised in a really lovely and caring and really healthy Christian environment. 

ASHA JUNO: I asked Jesus to come into my heart when I was very little and I was baptized as a middle schooler and when I went to college I feel like my faith really became my own even more so. You can do anything in college, and, um, and I just knew that what I wanted to do was, was get to know God for myself, for my faith to just really become my own. 

ANNA TRAN: And this is what we saw in the last episode at the Asbury Revival. Young adults were longing and seeking to know God for themselves. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, but then we also left off with this question of – “Okay, if I do know God for myself and I have this incredible encounter, what comes after that? What do I do with that?”

ANNA TRAN: Right. Asha knew that she had received so much love in her life that she really wanted a space and an opportunity to give that back to others. So Asha did end up coming to serve with the ministry, and for Asha, the reason was –

ASHA JUNO: I think I just wanted to serve because I just knew that I wanted people to get to know Jesus and that I felt like I had so much love in my life and that I had this opportunity to share all this love that I had.


JESSE EUBANKS: You’re listening to the Love Thy Neighborhood podcast. I’m Jesse Eubanks. 

ANNA TRAN: And I’m Anna Tran. Today’s episode – “The Word Moved Into the Neighborhood.” Today, we have three stories of young adults putting relationships first, leaving their old normal behind to follow Jesus into a world in need. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Welcome to our corner of the urban universe.


JESSE EUBANKS: Okay, so on the last episode, we covered the Asbury Revival, and it was this big looming question is like, “What do you do after you’ve had this incredible encounter with God?”


JESSE EUBANKS: So we don’t know what everybody from Asbury’s going to go do, but we have some idea of what a lot of Christian young adults do after experiences like that.

ANNA TRAN: Yeah, so today we have three stories of young adults who have moved into our city to take what they’ve experienced, to put into practice what it looks like to follow Jesus. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Okay, so I’m actually gonna kick things off, and so this story is about a young woman named Ali. So Ali was a college student and all throughout college she had heard about the horrors of human trafficking and of the adult entertainment industry and Ali knew that she really wanted to do something about it. And so as graduation was coming up soon, she began to look for opportunities to go out into the world to help people. So, Ali hears about Scarlet Hope, one of our nonprofit partners that serves women in the adult entertainment industry. So, Ali moves to Louisville, she begins to serve with Scarlet Hope in their offices, but her internship track in particular included going to take meals to strip clubs and forming friendships with the women who worked there. So, here we are on Ali’s first night going to a strip club for ministry. She’s in a cramped back room filled with girls several years younger than her, and explicitives are flying as common as oxygen. Ali has never been to a strip club and never been backstage at a strip club, so Ali’s first night going into a club – 

ALI HOLCOMB: This was surreal. This girl comes in. She’s a tall girl. Um, she’s built like a swimmer. I mean, just big girl, like, very, very toned. She comes in and goes, “I need anger management.” So I kind of start to walk over there to kind of try to talk to her, and there’s like 15 girls in this dressing room that’s maybe 10 by 10 feet. I mean, it’s tiny. Every explicitive you can think of is coming out of her mouth, and she is furious. So at this point I kind of stop because she’s upset and I don’t know her and I don’t know how she’s gonna feel. I don’t know if she’s intoxicated or not at this point. I’m just a little wary of it. So she starts saying, “I’m going to punch somebody in their face. I’m so sick of this.”

JESSE EUBANKS: So this is not exactly the ministry moment that you wanna write home to grandma about. Ali was able to at least decipher why the girl was infuriated, but that was about all Ali could do.

ALI HOLCOMB: From best I understood, there was too many girls on the floor and she was on the stage and felt like she wasn’t making money on the stage ’cause of all the people on the floor. So, for me, in that moment – number one, I really did think she was gonna hit somebody in the face, and I was very close. But also like the first thing that came to mind was like I don’t know how to make this girl feel better about this because I think it’s a problem that this is how she’s making money and I don’t wanna like try to encourage her and be like, “Well, you still made, you know, such and such money tonight.” I mean, it’s a very odd situation because you’re sitting there like, “You are so blind that you are in a strip club. This is the only money that you’re making and there’s these sick guys out there and they’re, you know, you, you and them might be on drugs right now, but the only thing you can think about is that you didn’t think you made enough money that night.”

JESSE EUBANKS: So not even a week into her internship, Ali was already at a total loss. This club was no place for her. She had no words of wisdom for these dancers. And besides that, there was no way that she could endure an entire summer of dreading getting punched in the face on a weekly basis. 

ALI HOLCOMB: Any negative emotion you can feel I think I felt that night at that club ’til I get back and I told my teammates I was never going back to the club. I told my teammates that that was awful, that I never wanted to do outreach ever again, that it was awful. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Ali came face-to-face with her limitations. You know, she had stepped out to obey the Great Commission and what she found was that she was totally inept, inadequate, and failing and she found herself doubting. To be honest, she really wanted to quit. 

ALI HOLCOMB: I just felt very helpless. I felt very, you know, “What in the world am I supposed to be doing?” Like what – I, I mean, okay, if you’ve got somebody that is so blind that they want to be in a strip club, what in the world do you tell them? So I prayed a lot about it and, um, cried a lot about it, and it was crazy. Literally three days later, the Lord was like, “That’s where I want you to go back.” And I was like, “You have got to be freaking kidding me.”

JESSE EUBANKS: And so Ali did. Week after week, Ali continued to go back to the same club and attempt to build relationships with the women that were there. And, no surprise, she did not actually end up building a very strong relationship with the woman that was saying she wanted to punch somebody, but she actually did end up making friends with another woman.

ALI HOLCOMB: She was kind of saying she missed church, but she didn’t know nowhere to go because she’s really had it rough. She got pregnant when she was 18. Um, when she turned 19 she had the twins, um, and they died a couple days later and now she’s working at a strip club, her mom doesn’t actually know. 

JESSE EUBANKS: And so, over several visits, Ali continues to get to know this woman. Each time she goes, she’s bringing her a warm meal, she’s offering to pray for this woman, they’re having meaningful conversation. And Ali was actually really feeling like, “Well, maybe this woman needs to be a part of a church community. Maybe I could invite her to come with me.” But the truth is that Ali thought she’s probably not gonna go for it.

ALI HOLCOMB: So she was like, “Yeah, I’ll go.” And I was like, “Okay.” And honestly, I didn’t believe her. I figured she was just being polite. So the next Sunday I call her and she doesn’t come and I was like, “Okay, I expected that.” But I’m, you know, glad I called. I’m glad I connected with her. I guess it was the next really Friday I texted her and said, “Are you coming?” She never responded. So I was like, “Okay, well I won’t bother her about it again. Obviously she doesn’t wanna come.” Well then that Sunday I get a call from her, and she’s like, “Hey, what’s the address? My mom and my sister are on the way too.”

JESSE EUBANKS: And so this is how Ali found herself standing in a worship service with an exotic dancer and her entire family all worshiping together and hearing the gospel together. 

ALI HOLCOMB: It, I mean, it was just such a rollercoaster – I mean, to go from feeling like “I’m never gonna do this again” to like standing in Sojourn, running around, looking for this girl to come to church because I know she’s on her way.

JESSE EUBANKS: And Ali’s story reminds us that we shouldn’t let our doubts stop us from stepping out, from trying to follow God. You know, in Matthew 28 we’re told that they worshiped him, but some doubted. And we see how Jesus responds to those doubts. He doesn’t kick people off the team. He doesn’t say, “Well, we’re gonna make you one of the lesser disciples.” He gives them the Great Commission, and then he reminds them that he’ll be with them always to the end of the age. So, just like Ali, we shouldn’t let our doubts and our struggles stop us from sharing the love of Jesus with the world.

ANNA TRAN: Okay, for our second story, I talked with one of our former summer team members. 

JORDAN LEE: Hi, my name is Jordan Lee.

ANNA TRAN: So Jordan – he’s Korean, he’s really into making short vlogs, he’s a college student, and he has a really sweet and relaxed personality. And he actually came and served with Love Thy Neighborhood in the summer of 2022.

JORDAN LEE: After my freshman year.

ANNA TRAN: And he was really excited to come serve. Now, LTN team members are paired up to serve with a nonprofit for a few days a week, but they also serve in a different way through what LTN calls neighborhood outreach. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, neighborhood outreach is where our team members practice building relationships with people in the neighborhood, especially serving the community that they live in.

ANNA TRAN: Yeah, and it can be as simple as picking up trash around your neighborhood and striking up conversation with people you run into. But for Jordan, even this was intimidating. 

JORDAN LEE: You talk to strangers, you talk to your neighbors, and it’s just something that I’m not used to. And so that’s kind of all I imagined. I was like, “Oh, man, it just seems like a lot.” 

ANNA TRAN: And while outreach can be planned, what Jordan found out was that in a lot of ways just living your regular life can hold a lot of spontaneous moments to reach out to people. 

JORDAN LEE: Sometimes opportunities just come when you’re walking through the neighborhood and you meet someone who might be asking for help.

ANNA TRAN: One day, Jordan and his roommates – they actually were running out of some house supplies.

JORDAN LEE: We needed some like toilet paper or something. 

ANNA TRAN: So he and his roommate – they decided to leave to go get some. 

JORDAN LEE: So the convenience store was like a five minute walk from our house. We kind of were just like, “Well, it’s right there. It’ll be super quick.”

ANNA TRAN: And as they’re both walking, there’s actually a man coming towards them from the opposite direction on the same sidewalk.

JORDAN LEE: He had like a dark gray collared shirt on, baggy jeans, has like a baseball cap. Oh, it was a navy, it was a navy cap. 

ANNA TRAN: The guy was older, maybe around his late fifties.

JORDAN LEE: Yeah, kind of had a gray beard. 

ANNA TRAN: The man was homeless and had asked them for some money, and while Jordan and his roommate couldn’t give him money, instead –

JORDAN LEE: “Hey, well, we can get you some food.” Then he started walking with us to the convenience store. 

ANNA TRAN: They started talking and getting to know each other. The man actually shared some heavy things he was going through.

JORDAN LEE: He had lost his parents recently. One thing that stood out to me, um, was that he said he was just struggling a lot with depression and anxiety, panic attacks.

ANNA TRAN: They buy the toilet paper that they need, they end up buying some food and drink for this man, and this whole time they’re having conversation walking around the store.

JORDAN LEE: And so I was like, “Yeah, what’s your name?” And he said his name was Tim. 

ANNA TRAN: And as Jordan and his teammate are leaving the convenience store, they decide to ask Tim if they could pray with him. So right there in front of the convenience store, these two college guys and a guy who was homeless just huddled up and started praying.

JORDAN LEE: And I just remember he was really holding onto my hand really tightly, um, just really like squeezing it. 

ANNA TRAN: So Jordan goes home, and he realized that something about the interaction with Tim actually surprised him.

JORDAN LEE: I guess it was a bit new for me because, ’cause not everyone like opens up like that but Tim was, even just when we met him, was willing to open up. So he kind of stayed in my mind. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Oh, so he was expecting Tim to be really closed off.

ANNA TRAN: Yeah. He wasn’t really expecting the openness that, you know, Tim came forward with. When Jordan first started the summer, he had other interactions with people in the neighborhood who were not as willing to share their lives with him. So he expected Tim to be the same way, but he wasn’t. And this really intrigued Jordan. So, a few days later, Jordan is sitting on the front porch of his friend’s house. It’s early July, the sun is starting to get low, and he’s actually praying for people he knows, including Tim. And as he’s praying for Tim, Jordan feels God prompting him.

JORDAN LEE: And all of a sudden, yeah, this thought, this prompting just kind of came into my mind. It’s like, “You should go visit him.” And I was like, “What? It’s like late at night. I don’t know if this is super safe.”

ANNA TRAN: Tim had told Jordan that he lived in a nearby park called Magnolia Park.

JORDAN LEE: Five minutes from our house. 

ANNA TRAN: And so Jordan’s trying to decide, you know, is this like a direction from the Holy Spirit or –

JORDAN LEE: In the back of my mind, what if it’s just me? You know, what if I’m just randomly thinking this? And so in that moment I was like, “You know what? I don’t, I don’t actually know, but like God’s in control, so I’m just gonna listen and I’m gonna go.” So I literally just got off that porch, got my phone GPS for the Magnolia Park, and then I walked there.

ANNA TRAN: So by this point the sun has gone down completely. 

JORDAN LEE: I walked to the park, it’s pitch black, and I can’t really see anybody. And so I’m like, “Okay, I guess there’s no one here.” 

ANNA TRAN: But then –

JORDAN LEE: I saw one guy on a bench and I think he was like smoking and he seemed really quiet and he had a beard. So I was like, “Is that Tim?”

ANNA TRAN: Being unsure of what to do, Jordan just thinks to himself, “I think I’m just gonna go home. You know, it’s dark, it’s a little scary out here.” But as he’s about to leave, he actually hears someone call his name. 

JORDAN LEE: And then I turned around, and there was him, Tim. He was, he was lying on the bench, and, and I was like, “Oh, yeah, Tim.” I quickly ran over there and just kind of like knelt next to him. Uh, and I was like, “I came for you. I wanted to see you.” And he was like, “What? Like you came for me?” Yeah, and I was like, “Yeah.”

ANNA TRAN: And so, late at night, Jordan sits on the ground and talks with Tim, they got to know each other, and Tim shared very openly about the depression and hopelessness he was feeling in life and also about faith. 

JORDAN LEE: He like believes in God, but he called himself a backsliding Christian because, like, he just felt like he wasn’t living a worthy life, struggling with a lot of sin, a lot of addiction, and, and a lot of like regret, but like he believed in God and, and really wanted to know God.

ANNA TRAN: They actually ended up talking for about two hours – Tim just laying there on the bench, Jordan sitting on the ground.

JORDAN LEE: Like, you’re not always gonna feel compassion, but I really felt it so much in that moment.

ANNA TRAN: And at some point Jordan knew he actually needed to get back to his house. So he stands up, and he starts heading back.

JORDAN LEE: And then I like went the wrong direction. (laughs) I started walking back to retrace my steps and then there I saw him and he was like, “Jordan, like that’s the wrong way.” He’s like, “Let, let me lead you back.” 

ANNA TRAN: So around midnight, Tim leads Jordan back home. 

JESSE EUBANKS: (laughs) I love this image of like this, like, young college student sort of being led through the night by, you know, this guy he just met who’s homeless.

ANNA TRAN: Yeah. It can seem kind of odd, but this is what happened. And so Jordan gets home, he goes to sleep. And, here’s the thing – even he admits that this was out of character for him.

JORDAN LEE: Yeah, maybe that was not wise. I was so impulsive, and I just like did it. 

ANNA TRAN: So like in retrospect, Jordan realized he was actually sliding past a lot of our program rules.

JESSE EUBANKS: I know, yeah, I’m sitting here going like, “Oh my gosh, he’s breaking so many of our safety protocols in this situation.” 

ANNA TRAN: Yeah. I know, but like in the moment he’s like, “I only have this one thing in mind. I like need to find Tim.” 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, and I like, I wanna appreciate it, but I’m also like, “Jordan, you know that we don’t let people go out by themselves after dark.”

ANNA TRAN: Yeah, I know. I mean, I checked with our program director, and she told me that like she learned about it pretty fast and had a good handle on it. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Well, at least that’s a relief. 

ANNA TRAN: Right. Okay, so in the coming days, Jordan’s actually thinking about Tim a lot. 

JORDAN LEE: “How can I make his situation better? What’s gonna happen next, um, from this relationship?” 

ANNA TRAN: Jordan really wants to help Tim and see him have a healthier life. Jordan was still aware that Tim had an active drug addiction. But throughout the weeks that followed, he would still go back to Magnolia Park just to sit and talk with Tim. 

JORDAN LEE: So it feels like a Thursday evening, which is when our outreach time would be, I would go see if I can find him and be with him.

ANNA TRAN: And as they talked, Jordan started noticing that Tim would talk about the same things repeatedly, like the depression he was going through, like the pain in his legs.

JORDAN LEE: And it was hard to listen to, just like over and over. 

ANNA TRAN: As much as he wanted to love Tim and spend time with him, it was actually pretty tiring for Jordan.

JORDAN LEE: In each conversation there’s always that like tension of like, “How long do I spend with him?” 

ANNA TRAN: But Jordan pushed through. You know, week after week, he’d visit the park to talk with Tim. And then again – visit the park, talk with Tim. And even though the conversations were repetitive, it didn’t keep him from what he ultimately wanted for Tim.

JORDAN LEE: The main way I wanted to help him was like, “Okay, I, I really wanna convince him to get into a recovery program or even just help him get there.”

ANNA TRAN: So it’s around mid-July, and Jordan has made it his goal. He wants to try to help Tim into an addiction recovery program. But the problem Jordan learned was that Tim –

JORDAN LEE: I think he just has a big fear of like shelters or just programs. Um, will he be safe there? 

ANNA TRAN: Jordan knew that it wasn’t something he could ever force Tim to do, and he empathized with Tim’s fears and hesitations. After getting connected to a local addiction recovery program, Jordan finally got up the nerve and floated the idea by Tim.

JORDAN LEE: Just trying to encourage him like, “Hey, we’re not like committing to anything right now.”

ANNA TRAN: Knowing Tim was reluctant to meet with people, Jordan actually arranged for the organization to come to the park and meet with him and Tim.

JORDAN LEE: I was kind of lingering around that area for a while and just waiting for a call from them. Uh, uh, I was uncertain when they would call, so I was definitely anxious that day.

ANNA TRAN: Understandably, Tim was pretty nervous and apprehensive as well. And as he was waiting with Jordan, he’d go back and forth between wanting to meet the people from the addiction recovery program or not. 

JORDAN LEE: He was like, “No, I don’t, I don’t wanna do this.” And, you know, he would, he would try to leave, but then he would change his mind later and he’s like, “Okay, now I’ll stay.” I mean, eventually, like, the car did come.

ANNA TRAN: A couple people, they came out of the car and had Tim fill out some digital paperwork with some questions. 

JORDAN LEE: Like his addiction and just other like formal things too, like, you know, “What’s your name? Like, what’s your birthday?” All that stuff. And so they’re like, “Okay, we’ll, we’ll get back to you, and we’ll let you know what happens.”

ANNA TRAN: So the program – they give Tim a heads up that it’s gonna take a few days to process his paperwork, but in the meantime, they would also be willing to give him a place to stay for the night. But Tim decided not to take them up on their offer for shelter that night. And now all that Jordan can do is wait to see what happens with Tim’s paperwork.

JORDAN LEE: In that waiting period, I was just like praying that like something would work out. 

ANNA TRAN: Even though Jordan had seen homeless people before, this was actually very different. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, I mean, I’m thinking about the fact that he’s like 20 years old and probably, like, doesn’t have, like, all this extensive experience with people who are struggling with homelessness and addiction.

JORDAN LEE: And my whole life I would, like, pass them on the streets and, you know, I would always try, try to say hi, but I just always felt like “I don’t know what to do.”

ANNA TRAN: And I think this is really important to point out – Jordan goes from only seeing people who are homeless and not interacting with them to actually having a friend who is homeless. Tim had become a consistent relationship in Jordan’s life. And so, yeah, like obviously one of his biggest hopes is for Tim to get into a recovery program, but another big hope is that he really wants to have Tim come to church with him. 

JORDAN LEE: So I would ask him that like kind of every time I would meet him. I would say, “Hey, do you wanna go to church this Sunday with me?”

ANNA TRAN: Jordan asked this week after week – week three, week four, five, six – and week after week, Tim would politely turn him down. But, on the seventh week, that changed. It was a Saturday night, and the two guys were hanging out as they had been for almost two months when suddenly Tim very casually asks Jordan if he could go to church with him the next morning.

JORDAN LEE: And I was like, “Okay, I’ll, like, pick you up Sunday morning or just like walk with you there.”

ANNA TRAN: So it’s Sunday morning and Jordan heads over to the park, but Jordan can’t find Tim anywhere. But then –

JORDAN LEE: And then I remember like he said that a lot of times he would go to the front porch of his parents’ old house and, and stay there. And this house is like all boarded up too, like inside is just completely – there’s like nothing there.

ANNA TRAN: And Jordan knew where to look because Tim had mentioned the street in a previous conversation. 

JORDAN LEE: And so I would just literally just keep my eyes open as I walked through the neighborhood to find him. And then I found him on the, on the, on the porch, and he was like kind of sleeping, just lying there on the, on the porch. 

ANNA TRAN: Jordan could tell that Tim was feeling really low, and he sensed that he didn’t really wanna be around people. 

JORDAN LEE: He did say like, “No, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t think I’ll be going to church with you,” and so I was like pretty discouraged. I was like, like, you know, “I, I planned, you know, my Sunday to do this and came here to, all the way here to see you and bring you to church,” and it’s like, “Come on man.”

JESSE EUBANKS: I mean, I can really sympathize. Jordan’s moved his schedule around, you know, in order to meet Tim. He’s been spending weeks with him. Like, “Hey man, I’m just asking you to do this one thing and you said yes.” But then on the other side, like homelessness is just brutal, you know, physically and mentally, and like church is probably not a big priority for Tim, who basically feels like he’s surviving. 

ANNA TRAN: Right. “Who has time to go to church when I don’t even know where I’m gonna sleep the next night?” Eventually, because the service is about to start, Jordan – he gets up and he starts to leave, walking in the direction of the church. And then –

JORDAN LEE: Five to ten minutes as I’m walking there, I hear this, like, faint, like, voice calling out my name and I look back and Tim is running. (laughs) He’s like been running. And I have a headphones on, so like I, I didn’t hear it this whole time, but, like, he’s just running and he’s calling my name. He’s like, “Jordan, like I wanna go to church.” (laughs) Uh, and I was like, “Oh my gosh. Yeah.” 

ANNA TRAN: And although Tim was still pretty afraid to go in –

JORDAN LEE: And he was like, “No, let’s do it.”

ANNA TRAN: So that Sunday a young college student and a 50-year-old homeless man walked into church together that morning.

JESSE EUBANKS: I actually sat right behind them. 

ANNA TRAN: You did? 

JESSE EUBANKS: On that Sunday. I did. And it was quite a scene. I mean, so you had, you had Jordan, who’s this like young Asian guy, and then you had Tim, who’s an old white guy, and then you had Jordan’s teammate, who’s a young African guy. And at like one point during the closing worship song, Tim like suddenly reaches his arms around both of these guys and pulls them in close. He starts patting them on the shoulders. 


JESSE EUBANKS: And they’re swaying back and forth, and, and it was just beautiful. It was this preview of heaven. 

JORDAN LEE: And so that was, yeah, just like a joyful, joyful day.

ANNA TRAN: But, here’s the deal – for somebody who’s experiencing homelessness and addiction, just attending a church service isn’t really gonna fix any of that. They need a lot more help. So, when we come back, Tim has a decision to make. Stay with us.


JESSE EUBANKS: Love Thy Neighborhood podcast. Jesse Eubanks. 

ANNA TRAN: Anna Tran. Today’s episode – “The Word Moved Into the Neighborhood.”

JESSE EUBANKS: Producer Anna Tran has been telling the story of LTN team member Jordan Lee, who’s a young adult and he has befriended a 50-year-old guy who’s homeless named Tim. And Tim has just gone to church with Jordan for the very first time. It was an incredible moment where they worshiped God together, but Anna left us on a cliffhanger when she said Tim has a decision to make. So, what happens next? 

ANNA TRAN: Yeah, so after church, Jordan and Tim – they had lunch together, Jordan bought Tim a meal, and they did what they usually did. They talked. Not long after going to church, Tim actually gets accepted into a recovery program.

JORDAN LEE: Called Corner of Hope. 

ANNA TRAN: And so Jordan goes and sees Tim, he tells him that he’s been accepted, but Tim was still unsure if he wanted to take the next step. A few days pass, and –

JORDAN LEE: He kind of said like, “I don’t wanna keep living like on the streets, and it’s like dangerous, um, out here. I just didn’t feel safe,” and he was like, “I wanna be safe.” Then finally one evening I see him, and he’s like, “Jordan, I wanna do this. I wanna do this recovery program.”

ANNA TRAN: And Jordan didn’t really expect for this to happen. So when Tim said yes, Jordan immediately wanted to take action. 

JORDAN LEE: And so I was like, “Okay, well, let’s, let’s – I can give them a call for you.”

ANNA TRAN: Okay, another layer to this is that Tim had a friend in the park named Mike who Tim had mentioned the recovery program to and who was also ready to get off the streets. 

JORDAN LEE: He like was pretty certain about doing this recovery program more than Tim, and so we went back to the park to find Mike and let him know like, “Hey, we’re gonna go make this call to the, to the ministry and then we’re gonna see what we can do.”

ANNA TRAN: So Jordan – he makes the call, and –

JORDAN LEE: They can’t like pick them up like at that night ’cause it’s a bit late, but they can meet at a certain time the next afternoon. 

ANNA TRAN: At this point, Jordan is feeling pretty concerned because he doesn’t want Tim to change his mind if he has to wait ’til the next day. He hangs up the phone, and as he’s thinking about what to do next –

JORDAN LEE: Mike asks to use one of Tim’s cigarettes, and then Tim kind of snaps. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Uh, snaps like what? Like what is going on? 

ANNA TRAN: Okay, so here’s another thing you need to know about Tim – is that Tim was often afraid of people taking advantage of him because –

JORDAN LEE: You know, he’s just be giving and giving, like giving cigarettes or giving money, um, and like no one, no one would really repay him. And so they started like arguing and cursing each other out, and I was just like, “What is happening right now? Like things were so fine a couple seconds ago.” Tim’s angry, and then he just kind of says like, “You know what? I don’t wanna do this, like, program anymore. Screw this.” And I was like, “Ah, dang it.” (laughs) I was like, “Oh, you gotta be kidding me. Like, this is so unfortunate.” Mike walks away and then I’m just sitting next to Tim and I’m just praying at this point, like there’s not really much I can do.

ANNA TRAN: And honestly there really isn’t much he can do. But like almost as quickly as the fight had started, Mike comes back, and Tim –

JORDAN LEE: He, like, apologized to Mike, and, and literally, uh, probably like five minutes after the argument they make up. (laughs)

ANNA TRAN: So Jordan goes home for the night and the next afternoon all three of them are waiting in the park and the recovery program car rolls in. 

JORDAN LEE: Tim and Mike are there, and they’re, and they’re waiting. And I’m there, and I’m just, I’m just so happy. (laughs) And it’s like all happening.

ANNA TRAN: The people from the program are talking through what the next steps will be like for Tim and Mike.

JORDAN LEE: And then we get, we all get in the van, and I’m with them as well ’cause I just wanna be there to support.

ANNA TRAN: So this seems like the perfect place to end, right? Like Tim and Mike recover, they and Jordan are all glad together, but the story doesn’t end there. 

JESSE EUBANKS: No, I want the story to end here. I want the happy ending with the bow. I want everything to resolve so that I can put my head on my pillow tonight and feel at peace.

ANNA TRAN: Yeah. That would make sense, you know? So a few days have passed since Tim and Mike have checked into the recovery program, and at this point Jordan hasn’t had any contact with them. And then one night –

JORDAN LEE: I’m driving back from my service site and I see Tim and Mike and they’re walking in the neighborhood.

ANNA TRAN: This catches Jordan off guard. He’s confused. Like, why would they be walking around if they only got into the recovery program a couple days ago? So, when Jordan got home –

JORDAN LEE: Just kind of sat on the couch a little bit, just like “What is happening?” Like, I just, uh – immediate thought was like, “Did they leave the program already?”

ANNA TRAN: A bunch of thoughts and questions started moving through his head. 

JORDAN LEE: Dang, like, did – was that like really like wrong with him? Like, should I be angry?

ANNA TRAN: Part of him felt anger, but at the same time –

JORDAN LEE: But I don’t wanna feel anger because like I have to understand where he’s coming from.

ANNA TRAN: So it’s taken Jordan a couple days to process this, but once he does come to the realization that he doesn’t wanna let his anger take over him –

JORDAN LEE: I’m really, yeah, just like praying, like, uh, I, I kind of came to the conclusion I wanna treat him the same and I don’t wanna come to them with, like, anger and be like, “Yo, why’d you leave?” But I, I just wanted to at least let him know I still loved him, um, and I’m still gonna like walk with him and meet him where he’s at. 

ANNA TRAN: And so Jordan returns to the park to see if Tim’s there, and he is. They talk, and Jordan learns a little bit about why Tim left the program. 

JORDAN LEE: He couldn’t really just go anywhere he wanted, they put a quote on like cigarette usage as well, and so I think just restrictions were hard for him. 

ANNA TRAN: At this point, Jordan said that this was one of the last times he had contacted Tim and Jordan is feeling pretty conflicted. His feelings of like anger and bitterness haven’t all gone away towards Tim. 

JORDAN LEE: It didn’t really like seem that he kind of acknowledged like what I kind of had to go through to make sure like we could get the connections for him to go and all that. 

ANNA TRAN: But then something else happens that makes Jordan confront his bitterness. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Well, what, what happened? 

ANNA TRAN: Well, the last week of his time in Louisville –

JORDAN LEE: I, I got Covid. (laughs)

ANNA TRAN: But here’s what happens. So Jordan gets quarantined, obviously he’s by himself without his teammates, and he does what a lot of people do – he watches a bunch of movies and just tries to relax. But he said that was actually a distraction from the feelings that he was processing related to Tim. 

JORDAN LEE: I felt like for me I was just literally numbing my emotions because I didn’t really know what to deal with it. I didn’t feel right that I felt a little bit of bitterness, didn’t feel right that I felt a little bit angry at God.

ANNA TRAN: And so during the middle of his quarantine time, he takes time to intentionally pray and journal.

JORDAN LEE: I realized that a lot of times we try to reach a certain outcome. We want to help someone and get ’em to a certain place, get a certain result. 

ANNA TRAN: Jordan was starting to realize that his goals of helping Tim get into the recovery program and inviting him to church – those things were good and important.

JORDAN LEE: But the most important thing is just loving people the way that God loves them and just like seeing them the way that God sees them. It’s not so much about doing something. God sees people with sacrificial love, and he sees people where he kind of sees their intrinsic worth. What was most important about my relationship with Tim was just treating Tim as like a, a precious human being. You know, a lot of times throughout our relationship he’d always ask me like, “Why are you here? Like, why are you taking this time to be with me?” And the answer is, “Because you’re worth it.”

ANNA TRAN: Jordan realized that even though the recovery program didn’t work out for Tim, it was still worth it for Jordan to give his time to Tim, to hear his story and to treat him with dignity and care. And so after Jordan’s quarantine was done, he only had a few days left in Louisville, and he decides to spend some of that time going back to Magnolia Park to visit Tim.

JORDAN LEE: And I went and found him and just like, “Hey, how are you doing?” (laughs) Um, just like simple things like that. Like not everything has to necessarily completely solve, you know, the problem that someone’s going through, but it’s like you can still be present with someone.

ANNA TRAN: Alright, for our last story, something that came to mind was the story about Daisy and Jamecia from episode number eight – “Where the Gospel Meets Neighboring.”

JESSE EUBANKS: Oh yeah, totally. I remember this. Yeah. Daisy served with us for a year. You know, when I think about neighboring, I think about like how awkward it can be at times and unusual, but it can also lead to really beautiful results.

ANNA TRAN: Yeah, and Daisy’s story really embodies the reality of how neighboring relationships take time, intentionality, and persistence. So, here’s Daisy and Jamecia’s story from episode number eight – “Where the Gospel Meets Neighboring.” 

JESSE EUBANKS: So our team members at Love Thy Neighborhood actually experience this all the time. They come to love their neighbors, but it ends up never quite being what they expected. And this was certainly true for team member Daisy Cooper. Daisy came to serve for a summer with Love Thy Neighborhood, and as part of their time in their neighborhood, they begin to invest in the life of their neighbors. They begin to get to know them, reach out to them. So Daisy, who had come to serve with us, she and her other teammates – they got to work right away, thinking of ways that they could get to know and connect with their neighbors. 

DAISY COOPER: Go play with neighbors in the park, inviting someone over, sitting on your porch, whatever you want it to look like, which is the good thing and made it a little easier in theory.

JESSE EUBANKS: Yeah, easy in theory, not so easy in practice. All summer, Daisy tried to do the same things that Nathan had done in his neighborhood – she smiled, she introduced herself, she waved to neighbors when she saw them. But for Daisy, loving her neighbors wasn’t going to be as easy as that. 

DAISY COOPER: Me and my roommate, um, made cookies and took them around to some neighbors, wrote a nice note, and no one opened their door, like people will peek out the little blind but not open their door. And we would see their TV on because their front door is open, but they’re not coming and answering. So we just laid ’em on the doorstep. 

JESSE EUBANKS: So Daisy came up with a plan B – she started spending a lot of time at the local park. And she went there because it was summertime and there’s always people hanging around at the park – except that every time Daisy went to meet people, no one was there. It wasn’t like she wasn’t trying. She just couldn’t connect with anybody. 

DAISY COOPER: It was discouraging because like we come here to love on our neighbors and I didn’t meet a single neighbor. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Despite the discouragement of not meeting any of her neighbors, Daisy decided to turn her summer term into a year-long term. She wanted to continue to serve at her service site and live in Christian community, but of course, the thing that she was not looking forward to was neighboring.

DAISY COOPER: Didn’t wanna do that part at all. It didn’t happen in the summer. What makes you think it’s gonna happen for a year living in the same place? 

JESSE EUBANKS: Well, even though Daisy’s not excited about neighboring, she gets a new group of teammates and they are excited. So the first weekend they’re all together, they’re discussing what they can do to try to meet people in the neighborhood, and her teammates come up with this great idea – “Let’s all go to the park.”

DAISY COOPER: And I’m thinking, “Guys, it didn’t work in the summer. It’s not gonna work now.” 

JESSE EUBANKS: Going to the park is what Daisy had done – all summer. She knew from experience it’s not gonna work. So when her teammates leave for the park, Daisy decides to stay home. After a couple of hours of being home by herself, she goes outside to see if her teammates have had any success. She spots them inside the community center in the middle of the park, but Daisy doesn’t wanna go inside because she still thinks this whole idea of meeting neighbors, it’s pointless. So she sits down outside the door and waits for her teammates to come out. And while she’s waiting, a lady walks out of the community center. 

DAISY COOPER: There’s this pregnant lady who is waddling and her kid is like running circles around her and I can tell she is not having it. She wants to sit down, he wants to throw a ball.

JESSE EUBANKS: So this lady comes out and she’s pregnant and she’s got her son running all around her. He’s probably about two years old. And Daisy’s sitting there and she’s got this instinct inside of her that says she could go and she could help this woman, but she also knows it’s not gonna make a difference because it never has before. And so she sits there for 15 minutes, and then she just can’t take it anymore. She’s gotta go help this woman. 

DAISY COOPER: And then I go over to her, and I’m like, “Hey, do you want me to play with your son? Like, is that okay?” And I’m expecting her to be like, “No. You’re a stranger. Get away from me and my son.”

JESSE EUBANKS: And what does this woman say?

DAISY COOPER: “Yeah, sure. Go ahead.” And I was shocked. 

JESSE EUBANKS: So Daisy throws a ball around with the little boy, and she learns that the woman’s name is Jamecia. 

JAMECIA DENISE: My first impression of Daisy – I just actually thought like she was just somebody in the neighborhood. She was like, “Do you mind if I play with your son?” And I’m like, “Oh yes, take him off my hands. Like I got this huge belly. I would love to sit down for a second.”

JESSE EUBANKS: Daisy’s teammates eventually come over, and they also start playing with the little boy. So as her teammates are playing with the little boy, Daisy walks over and sits down with Jamecia. And she learns that Jamecia is a single mom, she’s in her third trimester of pregnancy, and she moved here a year ago with her son Kobe.

JAMECIA DENISE: I was miserable, stressed out, thought I would never like get anywhere and stuff. Um, at the time I was pregnant and had Kobe, so I couldn’t work. I was like really struggling, so it was very like stressful and miserable for me. 

JESSE EUBANKS: So they’re really enjoying their conversation with each other, Daisy’s really excited because she’s finally met a neighbor, Jamecia is excited because she’s got people playing with her kid, and so they exchange phone numbers. And then suddenly a rain shower happens. 

DAISY COOPER: It started raining, so we just like literally ran home, and she was like struggling. Seven months pregnant, she can’t run. 

JESSE EUBANKS: So they part ways and each go home, and Daisy figured she probably wouldn’t see Jamecia again, that this was just some random meeting.

DAISY COOPER: It was strange that I never saw her my whole summer ’cause she lived like two blocks from us. We always went to the park. She said she always went to the park. But no, it’s really weird.

JESSE EUBANKS: But Jamecia was really curious about these people. 

JAMECIA DENISE: Actually, I was hoping to run into them again after she talked to me about how much they, they were involved into the community ’cause I just – they just seems to be so happy, you know, and just calm about things. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Now remember, when Daisy and Jamecia met at the park, they exchanged phone numbers, and Jamecia is the only neighbor that Daisy has gotten to know. And so Daisy starts texting Jamecia often, asking her if she wants to come over, asking her if she wants to go to church, asking if she wants to meet up for dinner, uh, wanted to spend time together. And it’s just hard for Jamecia. Jamecia is a single mom with a baby on the way. And so Daisy starts asking herself, you know, “If I were in Jamecia’s shoes, what would I want right now?” And so she decides to throw Jamecia a baby shower. 

DAISY COOPER: She was seven months pregnant when we met her, and, and she didn’t have things for this baby.

JESSE EUBANKS: So Daisy gets on Facebook and starts asking her friends to donate things and help throw this shower. And her teammates – they start doing the same thing. 

DAISY COOPER: And it was really awesome also to see my roommates just come behind that idea because for six people who’ve never had a baby to like throw a baby shower or like – yeah, that’s crazy. People donated tons of stuff from baby clothes to a bouncer, um, food for the party, decorations for the party. Um, they came to our party.

JESSE EUBANKS: And because Jamecia didn’t really have friends to invite to the shower, Daisy just invited some of her own friends. It was a bit strange asking people to come to a stranger’s baby shower, but they did. And some of the strangers that came to that shower – Jamecia’s friends with some of them now. Here’s Jamecia remembering the shower. 

JAMECIA DENISE: It was amazing. They brought lots of gifts, can say that. So I went home with a lot of stuff that I was not expecting. (laughs) After that, I just felt happy and joyful, you know, just excited, like, “Yay, I have friends now.”

JESSE EUBANKS: That baby shower ended up being a turning point for Daisy and Jamecia. After the baby shower and after seeing that Daisy was committed to be a part of her life, Jamecia accepted her invitation to go to church. And she started going to church every week and then to Daisy’s community group, which is a small, more intimate gathering of people from her church. A few months later, Jamecia’s baby was born. Daisy and her teammates would often babysit for Jamecia so she could go to community group, so she could look for a job, and even so she could attend a baptism class at church. And on the Sunday of her baptism during her testimony, there is one person she specifically mentions by name. Here’s a clip of someone reading Jamecia’s testimony at her baptism service.

CLIP FROM BAPTISM: “I got pregnant again, and that’s when I broke and I cried out to God. I prayed and I asked God for help, but more than that I needed redemption. He then placed Daisy Cooper into my life. Daisy became my friend and introduced me to Sojourn, where God really started revealing himself to me and molding my heart. He gave me clarity on what his Word meant when he says, “I am your stronghold.” My faith began to grow more and more because I believe as it says in 2 Corinthians 3 that my story is written not with pen and ink but with the Spirit of the living God.” Amen. (applause)

DAISY COOPER: So when I heard my name, I froze. It was just like everything in me stopped moving, and I just like started crying, just broke down crying. I just didn’t expect to be in her story, her testimony by name. It was, it was real that I was a part of someone’s story. 

JESSE EUBANKS: So Daisy’s finished her time with Love Thy Neighborhood and she still lives in the neighborhood where she served and she doesn’t have any neighborhood requirements anymore or any outreach hours she has to meet, but she still sees Jamecia all the time because they’re friends now.

DAISY COOPER: I see her probably twice – no, three times a week. We probably talk every other day and it’s funny to see how that’s changed because at first she wasn’t even responding or we weren’t talking not even once a week and to go to like to every other day says a lot about our friendship now.

JAMECIA DENISE: I would say thank you for being a huge blessing in my life. I just really appreciate everything that you do and have ever done for my kids and I. You’re amazing, and we love you.

JESSE EUBANKS: Here’s what I love about all of these stories. You know, ever since we launched LTN, like one of our mottos that we always say – and we’ve said it on this podcast a thousand times – is that relationships change lives, like the gospel comes alive through relationships, the beauty of who Jesus is comes alive in relationships like – and these stories illustrate that, you know, these young adults coming and going, “I’m going to choose over and over again to prioritize these people that so often society overlooks.”

ANNA TRAN: Mmm. Yeah, I even remember when I came into the program in 2017. It really gave me like a vision and like an invitation to participate in like what God is doing in the neighborhoods around me. 

JESSE EUBANKS: The other thing I would say is this – is, like, there’s so much going on in young adult culture right now with, uh, young adults having record high anxiety, record high, you know, apprehension to step into things, and I think that these young adults really model what courageous faith looks like, to say, “I’m not just gonna sing about following Jesus. I’m actually gonna go out and do it. And if that means that he’s calling me into my discomfort zone, I’m gonna go do that.” And what they found out is that it’s actually a much more beautiful experience than the life that they were living.


JESSE EUBANKS: If you benefited at all from this podcast, please help us out by leaving a review wherever it is that you listen to podcasts. Your review will help other people discover our show.


JESSE EUBANKS: Special thanks to our interviewees – Asha Juno, Ali Holcomb, Jordan Lee, Daisy Cooper, and Jamecia Denise. 

ANNA TRAN: Our senior producer and host is Jesse Eubanks. 

JESSE EUBANKS: This episode was written by Jesse Eubanks, Rachel Akers, and Anna Tran. 

ANNA TRAN: Editing by Rachel Akers and Anna Tran. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Music for this episode comes from Lee Rosevere, Poddington Bear, and Blue Dot Sessions.

ANNA TRAN: This show is brought to you by Love Thy Neighborhood. If you want a hands-on experience of missions in our modern times, come serve with Love Thy Neighborhood. We offer summer and year-long missions internships for young adults ages 18 to 30. Bring social change with the gospel by working with an innovative nonprofit and serving your urban neighbors. 

JESSE EUBANKS: Experience community like never before as you live and do ministry with other Christian young adults. Grow in your faith by walking in the life and lifestyle of Jesus and being part of a vibrant, healthy church. Apply now at Which of these was a neighbor to the man in need? The one who showed mercy. Jesus tells us, “Go, and do likewise.”


This podcast is only made possible by generous donors like you!


Special thanks to our interviewees!!!

Senior producer and host is Jesse Eubanks.

This episode was produced and edited by Anna Tran.

This episode was written by Anna Tran with Jesse Eubanks.

Music for this episode comes from Blue Dot Sessions, Lee Rosevere, and Murphy D.X.