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interviews

More Than Meets The Eye – Video and Questions

November 21, 2013 | By | No Comments

We recently hosted a celebration and fundraising event in downtown Denver. Many of you attended and were able to see and meet Guyia, Mike, and Danny. For those of you who missed it, we invite you to watch this video.

Guyia, Mike, and Danny boldly share the narratives they once lived from before believing in and discovering a new one. It is evident that our core narrative shapes so many aspects of our lives. 

Dry Bones’ aim is to learn to live from and then inspire belief in a life-giving, redeeming, and beautiful new narrative. 

After you watch this video, we invite you to consider these questions: Read More

Street-views (2)

August 10, 2009 | By | No Comments

Interviews with Caitlyn, Angelina, Gremlin, Jess, Elizabeth, Kaili, Solomon, Cowboy, Dealy, Tamika, and Eddie

WHEN IN LIFE DO YOU FEEL MOST “IN CONTROL?”

Caitlyn: When I know exactly what’s happening. When I know I have a place to eat, and when I know I have something to eat.

Angelina: When I’m doing the dishes (laughing). Because when I’m done, they are done. I choose if the water is hot or cold.

Gremlin: Behind the wheel of a car. I’ve been driving them since I was 12 and I like to race.

Jess: When I’m not in a bad mood.

Elizabeth: When I’m having fun. When you are having fun, you do what you want to do. Like I’m having fun right now at bowling…so I’m in control.

Kaili: When I’m in a good mood.

Solomon: Most of the time, just about anywhere.

Cowboy: When I’m horse back riding because I have a connection with the horse.

Dealy: All the time…I have to be doing my plans all the time.

Tamika: When I’m in a good mood.

Eddie: When I’m upset and I have my anger under control, but I’m not blowing up. When I’m at work and I get to make my own decisions.

WHEN IN LIFE DO YOU FEEL MOST “OUT OF CONTROL?”

Caitlyn: When I’m on the streets. Absolutely nothing is in your control. You never know what’s going to happen day to day.

Angelina: When I’m high and depressed….when I stop caring.

Grimlin: In a relationship because it’s not my life to control, it’s ours. I don’t have full control.

Jess: Depression. I get depressed on holidays and my birthday.

Elizabeth: When I’m in a bad mood or things don’t go like I want them to.

Kaili: When I’m angry and aggravated…I feel like I want to punch someone in the face.

Solomon: When I’m working – You have bosses and people above you!

Cowboy: When I’m in the middle of the city…I’m not in my natural environment.

Dealy: When my plans don’t go my way.

Tamika: When I feel peer pressure.

Eddie: When I get stressed out or family leaves.

WHAT DO YOU CONTROL IN YOUR LIFE?

Caitlyn: I honestly don’t know what I control. I don’t even control myself when I’m off my meds.

Angelina: How many cigarettes I smoke (laughing). That’s about it. I don’t control much. It’s a good thing I’m not a control freak.

Grimlin: Whether or not I’m still alive. I have complete control if I kill myself…whether or not I take a drug that I know will kill me…whether or not I mess with someone who will kill me.

Jess: My family. By helping them out with stuff. I try to make sure that everything’s O.K.

Elizabeth: The way I feel and the way I do things. I do things in my own perspective, not just how people want me to do it.

Kaili: My little sister (laughing)….I don’t know.

Solomon: What I want to do, what I don’t want to do.

Cowboy: My destiny. Everybody makes choices in life, and the choices we make lead to who we become.

Dealy: My anger, money situations, food situation, shelter.

Tamika: Everything.

Eddie: My mind, my thoughts.

WHAT CAUSES YOUR LIFE TO GO OUT OF CONTROL (assuming you’ve felt out of control before)?

Caitlyn: Going off my meds.

Angelina: My depression. When I start self-medicating. Loneliness causes my depression.

Grimlin: Living in a meth-house because I had meth handed to me all day long….I didn’t say “no”.

Jess: People I’m close to passing away.

Elizabeth: My bipolarness sets me out of control. If I’m trying to do something and it doesn’t go my way, it flips my switch.

Kaili: When someone lays hands on me. I can’t control myself.

Solomon: Drama usually. When people make up stories or threaten to destroy something you love.

Cowboy: Myself. We have the choice to let people affect us or not affect us.

Dealy: Me…I’ll keep it at that!

Tamika: When people want you to do drugs.

Eddie: Drugs and alcohol. I was a major druggy. I’ve lost a good job, almost my license to doing drugs. I’ve been sober for almost 4 months.

Interview with Charles and Amanda

April 4, 2009 | By | No Comments

Charles and Amanda attended a Dry Bones weekly Bible study at a home for about a year in 2007. A strong friendship was built between us over those months. This interview gives the couple’s perspective on becoming homeless, living on the streets, encountering good friends and eventually Christ there, and finally finding their way out.

I appreciate this interview each time I read it because it introduces us to one of hundreds of stories of how young people end up on the streets.  Thanks to Charles and Amanda for boldly sharing your story with us.

Charles and Amanda have both been off of the streets since 2008.  We are still in touch with Charles.  Amanda – if you find this old interview, send us a message!  We would love to hear from you.

Nikki: What was the chain of events that led to you being on the street?

Amanda: My mom and I got into a heated argument and my mom told me I had two choices to make and one of those choices was to pack up and leave or leave Charles and I wasn’t going to do the second one, so him and I said the only other choice is to leave.

Charles: We packed up even before she said to leave. We packed up everything we could and threw it out a second story window in the back and left.

Nikki: What has your relationship with your mom been like in the past?

Amanda: My relationship with my mom has always been stressful from the time I was like six on. With her working and not knowing what’s going on with me, and pots and pans being thrown at me, and just different things.

Nikki: Would you say that she was abusive?

Amanda: Physically, no, but emotionally, yes.

Nikki: Did you come straight to Downtown Denver?

Charles: We kind of piddled around (our suburb) for a few days. Then we went to the police for help but they wouldn’t lift a finger to help.

Amanda: (Our hometown) police are the type of police that don’t care, so we came downtown. The downtown police actually cared. There were cops that told me to keep warm.

Charles: One night (a guy) was messing with us. The police had us identify him and told us to wait right where we were because it was the warmest place; it was out of the wind. Then two hours later a security guard came by and boots us out with no reason. We told him that the police officer told us to stay there until it got warmer, until the next morning when we could leave.

Amanda: But I didn’t want to cause any drama or get in trouble. He could have arrested us. I didn’t know what he would do so we just left and walked the streets for six hours that night.

Charles: We walked down to The 16th Street Mall, slept on the Free Mall Ride for two hours until the driver told us to get off because he was taking the car back to the garage.

Amanda: And that’s when we found that there was a church that we could go to that might tell us where to go.

Charles: The day before we had gone to Trinity United Methodist Church and there were two weddings going on. One had just ended, one was about to start and the wedding coordinator knew of Jenny at Urban Peak [a shelter for homeless youth]. She called Urban Peak, and they told us to go to Urban Peak to get an intake. When we got there, a police officer was there which scared us. So we went to 7-Eleven where we met a guy who offered for us to stay at a motel room that he had. We stayed with him for a week, but he was really bossy so after that week we decided to go back to Urban Peak.

Nikki: So how did you feel during those three weeks on the streets?

Amanda: Scared…scared.  We didn’t know anybody, we didn’t know where to turn, just really scared.

Charles: We had turned to the police to try to get hotel vouchers. They would do it for Amanda but not for me. The laws are crazy when it comes to the homeless.

Nikki: How long were you on the streets?

Charles: Three weeks.

Nikki: What was life like on the streets?

Amanda: We were scared of not knowing what was going on day to day.

Charles: Finding a place to sleep.

Amanda: We met some friends that said we should go to Urban Peak and that Urban Peak would be the best place for us to stay right now. And it kinda was. There was a lot of people who helped us in hard times.

Charles: While we were on the street, there were people telling us where to go and what to do during those three weeks. We were lucky we had the cell phone I had which saved our lives. We used it to call the police one night.

Nikki: Describe “the hard times.”

Amanda: Beating each other up, saying, “You caused this. Why are we here?” Just emotional beating up.

Nikki: What time of the year was it?

Amanda: October. It was getting colder. It hadn’t really snowed yet. But it was really cold. We didn’t have sweatshirts.  We didn’t even have blankets.

Charles: We had thin jackets. We had all of our luggage.

Nikki: Describe some of the places you slept.

Amanda: A closet type thing, but not really. A parking garage. It was the exit to the underground parking garage. There were concrete blocks that came out on a ledge. We slept on that and tried to pass the time away by playing cards, reading, talking…

Charles: . . . trying to calm each other down, lift each other’s spirits. It was hard. For just people new to the streets, it was just hard.

Amanda: We didn’t know anybody. I didn’t know the state of Colorado well enough to be on my own, to be on the street. I just knew the Denver International Airport area. I knew how to get going wherever in that sense. But as far as getting downtown or Westminster Mall or whatever, I didn’t know.

Charles: The little money we had we spent on food.

Nikki: How did you get your money?

Charles: Left over money from my cash advance and a bit of left over money from the last job I had before I came out here.

Amanda: That caused us to have like $200. So it was like, eat and…

Charles: This one lady that was addicted to crack, smoked it, she let us spend over night in her apartment.  Then, she stole $50 from my wallet.

Amanda: and a $100 from mine and that was the money that we were supposed to have to eat.

Nikki: So what did you do?

Amanda: What could we do? We left.

Charles: The lighters we had for any cigarettes we did have for me, she used up all of those. She spent all night smoking crack. She even ripped a lamp out of her wall and went down to sell it and buy a dime bag of crack.

Nikki: So what did help look like for you?

Amanda: The most useful help was Urban Peak. If it hadn’t been for the people we knew at Urban Peak, we would still be on the streets now. They gave us food, shelter, a place to sleep, tips to learn hygiene, case management. They did so much.

Nikki: What brought you into contact with Dry Bones?

Charles: Mandy (a girl that was attending the Monday night Bible study) told us that there was a Bible study that Dry Bones was doing and that there might be people that we could come to for advice. And the first time that we came to the Bible study it was like… I knew that there was so much help that you guys could offer spiritually that we couldn’t do by ourselves. And then after that first time we just constantly went. We just kept going.

Nikki: What brought you to the place in your life that you decided you needed a change?

Amanda: I knew that the street life wasn’t for me. I knew that if I wanted to be on the streets, I could still be on the streets. We needed a steady place to stay.

Charles: I didn’t want to worry about knowing where I’m going to sleep next, where I’m going to eat, and a million other things you have to worry about when you’re on the streets. Drugs, alcohol, it just wasn’t a life I could live. It wasn’t the life I was raised to live. I was raised in a happy home. When I was back at home, I thought…homeless…I’ll never be homeless. And then when it hit me that I was homeless, I was shocked. I decided that we had to find help somewhere and we’ve got to do it now. So we made that extra effort to have my cell phone there with us so that we could call if we needed help. We ate a couple meals at the Denver Rescue Mission. We tried to get into the Samaritan House but they were full. A lot has happened since we hit the streets.

Amanda: I was getting so stressed at Urban Peak. So Jenny put me into a room by myself with a pen and paper and told me to write my thoughts. When I started writing my thoughts it turned into poetry.

Nikki: What brought you to spiritual change in your life?

Amanda: I knew I had to do something with my life and I had that grasp of “You need to either sit down and talk to God about this or you need to close up.” I didn’t want to close up so one night I knelt down and I said “If there’s another way, show me.” And God showed me by bringing us to the Catholic Worker House [where they were living at the time of this interview], keeping us fed, keeping us clean, and just making sure we were safe.

Nikki: What did Christ have to do with your decision to change?

Amanda: Every time I’d go to sleep…You know that feeling of someone watching you but you can’t see it…He would be like you need to wake up, you are in trouble. So I knew that He was watching and that He was there. He was pushing me.

Nikki: What are your vision and goals for yourself over the next few months to a year?

Amanda: Getting an apartment and having a healthy kid (Amanda is four months pregnant).

Charles: Finding steady work. That’s been the biggest thing right now.

Nikki: What has been your spiritual journey since you’ve been on the streets?

Amanda: Trying to find God. I’ve explored witchcraft, I’ve done Wicca; I’ve tried it all. But they were never satisfying to me. There is power in witchcraft, there is power in Wicca, but there is so much more power and Love in Christianity. I’m following God now, not anything I’ve ever tried in the past. I’m following God and the Bible. If I have any questions, I go to God or to a pastor. I don’t follow all these different pathways because that is what the devil is trying to get me to do. There’s just not enough love and power in Wicca or witchcraft that can satisfy my need.

Charles: God was the only one I followed. I may have fallen away from Him, but I have always put my trust in Him.

Nikki: Is there anything else that you want to share?

Amanda: People don’t understand. It’s just trying so hard to get off of the streets, to pick yourself up, to say, “Look there is another way, you’ve just got to do it.” No one is going to do it for you.

Charles: You have to find that help on your own, but once you find it you have to let people help you.

Amanda: Dry Bones gave me assurance that there is spiritual help out there and knowledge that if something goes wrong, you can look to a higher power and ask for help. God’s not going to take a look at you and turn the other way. And that’s what Dry Bones has not done is look at people on the streets and turned the other way. Street kids can always call; they always have the staffs’ phone number. No matter who they are or what their religion is, Dry Bones has not turned their back on people. They don’t push the Bible down people’s throat like [another church]. Dry Bones knows that they are working with people from Christians to Wiccans. There’s a huge difference there, and Dry Bones did not turn their back on any of these people. And that is what I like about Dry Bones is you can connect or just get away from day to day life but be your own self. You don’t have to hide things from the Dry Bones people. They don’t preach down your throat. You guys never turned your back on us. That’s why I respect Dry Bones and what they’re doing, because it’s not another church and it’s not another youth group. That’s why I always go to Bible study every Monday.

Charles: Being a Christian has been hard all my life. Knowing people that are Wicca or pagan or into witchcraft. I was always persecuted. I came out here and wanted to find a church or people I could relate to, spend time with, be with, make friends with and Dry Bones has done that. They relate to our generation. It’s not like any other church I’ve ever been to. Dry Bones is about God and love. They love everyone.

Street-views

February 1, 2009 | By | No Comments

Here are a few questions and responses from several of my friends who are currently or have recently been houseless.

This interview was included in our Winter ’09 paper newsletter. Please sign up for future newsletters HERE.

DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY….
Plague: I’d be in the mountains on a sunny day with no people and no problems. Or I’d be on a boat in the middle of the ocean.

Robyn: No police contact and good panhandling.

Crystal: Carton of cigs, 12 pack of Corona, watching Wrestle-Mania.

Mystika: Wake up in the morning – I’d be married, have kids, cook breakfast (blueberry pancakes and bacon). Pack kid’s lunches and send them to school and work. Cook treats all day. Work in my backyard garden that I designed myself. Take pictures of my kids when they come home. Have family time. Do homework together. Just a bunch of stuff a family does. Put them to sleep. Read them a book. Watch them sleep.

Nacho: Waking up, going to work, having cigs, and having no debt. Relaxing at the end of the evening and then going to bed.

Keri: Spending time with kids; paradise; no war; no poverty; no starvation; no death.

Richie: Waking up next to a beautiful woman. Being at the right place at the right time. Working and then enjoying an evening after work with friends and family.

Roberta: Getting up, making breakfast for the kids, sending them to school, going to work, coming home, cooking dinner, family time, putting kids to bed.
DESCRIBE WINTER ON THE STREETS IN A COUPLE OF WORDS…
Plague: Not copasetic.

Robyn: Loneliness, harsh, unforgiving.

Zillionaire: Drink as much water as you can to stay alive, wear as many layers as you have or else you’ll freeze, and they get dirty.

Tino: Cold and uncaring.

Crystal: Very, very cold and no sleep – hard to sleep when you are that cold.

Nacho: Long, cold, lonely.

Keri: Hell, straight up hell. Cold, lonely, harassed, “Move you’re a**!”, “Get away from that heater!”

Mystika: Freezing, scared, shelterless, always on the move, cuddle with people to keep warm.

Richie: Cold, insecure, doubtful, suicidal, alone, wishful, ambivalent, unaccepted.

Roberta: I don’t remember anymore. Ha – I must have been crazy!

WHERE’S THE MOST INTERESTING PLACE YOU’VE EVER SLEPT?
Roberta: In the basement of the old abandoned Silos. Me and John drug a couch down there. Urban Peak heard that we were down there and came to check on us.

LaDawn: (laughs) Outside.

Keri: On the heater grates on Stout Street by the Convention Center.

DO YOU SEE OR EXPERIENCE GOD ON THE STREETS?
Plague: Yeah, everyday

Robyn: All the feedings and help for the homeless is sponsored by churches/people who help. I’m not as violent as I use to be since I’ve become a Christian.

Tino: A smile and an encouraging word.

Crystal: The other night when I got stranded, friends helped me out and I got to stay at a church.

Nacho: Every day, whenever I see people getting along. I experience God whenever I go somewhere and I get this feeling that I shouldn’t go and then I find out something bad happened where I almost went. I experience God when I see people getting along.

Keri: I asked God, “Where are you?” and He was there for me. He directed me where to go. He sent me to the police department.

Mystika: I’ve noticed that in my bad times, I have more strength than before I knew God. When I’m down I ask His guidance, and I feel myself getting stronger, and I feel warmth within my body.

Richie: I think that God is looking after me because after everything I’ve been through, He hasn’t necessarily provided me with a security blanket, but he’s provided me with the resources I need to survive.

Roberta: I met this guy downtown once. When he found out we were sleeping in the Silos, he took us to Biggs and bought us sleeping bags, lights, food, and warm cloths. He even gave me a job. I worked for him for months.

LaDawn: When I attempted suicide, He brought me out, and now I appreciate life more. I was 17.

WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES YOU OPEN TO TALK ABOUT GOD TO SOME PEOPLE, BUT NOT OTHERS?
Robyn: It takes a personal relationship.

Zillionaire: Anyone that’s intelligent and not condemning.

Tino: Dry Bones or Scum of the Earth Church because they have taken the time, energy, and effort to build a relationship with me and not just condemn, criticize, and judge me.

Crystal: If it’s a conversation where I don’t feel targeted.

Nacho: People who actually want to talk about God and don’t want just to argue their point. Someone who’s open to God, not just their concept of God. I don’t want to argue about your concept of God! I want to talk about how God loves us.

Keri: Body language. I won’t talk to people who resent us the whole time they are trying to help us.

Mystika: The approach that they take, like with Dry Bones, they let you know God in your own way, at your own pace. You give us time to find God. Other people just throw Him at you. You are always there to answer questions and help us to know more about God.

Richie: I’m open to talk about God with people, but I have a problem with people who try to argue a point of view and are ignorant and aren’t open-minded.

WHAT DOES THE WORD “CHRISTIAN” MEAN TO YOU?
Roberta: I don’t know exactly. The word “Christian” used to scare me. You guys really opened my eyes to a new way of looking at Christians. Now it’s what I strive to be.

Keri: Christ-like; a loving lifestyle.

THIS IS GOING OUT TO PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT DRY BONES AND WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT GOES ON HERE IN DENVER. DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY TO THE PEOPLE READING THIS INTERVIEW?
Robyn: The immenseness of their love is amazing. Keep up the good work.

Plague: Thanks for all your help!

Tino: Thank you so much for supporting an amazing ministry.

Crystal: This is a great place to hang out and if you ever need help, you guys are the ones to go to.

Nacho: Dry Bones does a lot of good for a lot of people. Dry Bones is a good place to start to get help. People shouldn’t take advantage of these guys.

Keri: Thank you! You are REAL Christians. You are not Rice-Christians. You guys really care about us. You are like family to us! [Rice-Christians, according to Keri, are, “…those who just serve you a bowl rice and say, ‘God bless.’ They aren’t willing to be your friend on a deeper level.”]

Mystika: In the beginning, when I first came to Dry Bones, I was a wreck. I was depressed, alone, angry, enraged, withdrawn, and addicted. After coming around the people of Dry Bones, I started little by little to love myself. By loving myself, I was able to open myself up to trust people and let myself be helped. I was able to come back to God after I had doubted Him for so long. Without you guys, I wouldn’t have made it this far…I really mean that.”

You guys are loving and caring. You are God’s angels to bring His lost ones home.

Interview with JC and Carol

April 2, 2008 | By | No Comments

Nikki: Carol, tell me your story:
Carol: I have an older brother, then we were adopted out. We were adopted out by a couple from Texas that adopted both me and my brother. My brother messed up and went to prison. I got married and had two kids. My husband was very abusive. I left him, came here. So that’s my life.

Nikki: Why did you come to Denver?
Carol: I fled. My husband beat me up really bad, and I left at two o’clock in the morning with my kids. I came to Denver because that is where my adoptive parents were. We still talk every now and then.

Nikki: What about you J.C.? What is your story?
J.C.: I’ve lived in Denver my whole life. I went through the 11 ½ grade. If I had busted my butt for the last four months, I would have graduated.
I have a brother and two kids and my parents live here. My kids live with my parents, so I see my kids.

I want to see my kids when they are 21; I want to see their kids. I don’t want to give up. Life’s too short to just give up and roll over.

So we’re trying. Both of us want our kids back eventually, but they are in a better place than I can give them right now.

Nikki: Do you have a good relationship with your parents?
J.C.: Kind of. I guess. …They would rather me do better than what I’ve accomplished in life.

Nikki: Where did your story lead you to being homeless?
J.C.: I was told to get a job or get out when I was 18. So I traveled a lot, decided to come back home, met Carol.

I traveled to Georgia, all up the South, pretty much anywhere warm. If it was cold, I wasn’t going. So – like Georgia, Florida, Louisiana.

Nikki: Were you homeless there?
J.C.: Yes, but that was not a good time in my life. I made a lot of mistakes. But when you’re young you make mistakes. If I had listened to my parents and never went to Georgia, I would have been safer staying here. I came back here with a felony and was homeless. I lost everything in Georgia. I picked up a record there.

Nikki: How does a felony affect your life?
J.C.: It’s hard. Like a lot of businesses do background checks, and when it pops up they start looking at you different – like, “Why didn’t you tell us? Because I don’t tell anyone!” It’s nobody’s business. I like companies who don’t ask and I don’t tell.

Nikki: How about you, Carol – how did your story lead to homelessness?
Carol: I came to Denver and saw a lot of street kids on the streets and I took them back to my place and started housing them. The street kids that were staying at my place stole over $2,000 from me. That is what I was going to use to pay my rent. My next-door neighbor called the cops and the cops were being really rude and said, “Do you have a permit for running a shelter?” And I said, “I’m not running a shelter, you know, they are just staying with me for a couple of days. They are trying to get back on their feet.” And they saw my kids, and social services were called, and they said that my kids were not in a safe place because I had all of these street kids with me and they didn’t know if they were mass murderers or something.

I became homeless after they took my kids. They kicked me out of my apartment. I lost my kids. I lost everything. So I just gave up for a little bit.

Nikki: What is it like to be homeless? Describe the street life.
J.C.: Cold. The police mess with you.

Carol: You don’t sleep.

J.C.: You really don’t get much sleep.

Carol: …I’m worried about who’s going to take my shoes; who’s going to take my stuff? Am I going to wake up to the cops holding their guns out at me? So you really don’t sleep.

J.C.: It’s scary. It’s dirty.

Carol: It’s hard; it’s rough. You have to worry about the cops messing with you during the day.

J.C.: …Messing with you at night. You have to worry about the cops pretty much all of the time.

Carol: There’s some good things about it because you know you have your freedom.

J.C.: I can go anywhere every day. I like being free. My soul feels so much better when I’m free. I’m just a free spirit I guess. I’ll go anywhere in a second. They call that bi-polar though. Seriously though, I’ve been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder for that very reason. Because my mom couldn’t figure out why I could be distracted so easily.

Nikki: What are you looking for when you are looking for a place to sleep?
J.C.: Anything that blocks wind, the weather, the elements, the cops.

We used to squat down on Broadway so we got to know the cops really good. They were good – district four has some good policeman. District six, I understand why they aren’t so nice, but district four, they were good about letting us sleep where we had to sleep. They didn’t mess with us unless you were like starting stuff with people.

Carol: They used to let us sleep on the grates outside of the city courthouse because of the heat that came up from the grates. You would stay warm. If it snowed you wouldn’t be able to feel the snow because of the heat rising up from your sleeping bag or your tent. Him and I had a tent that we put up on the grates in the snow. They are uncomfortable because they were metal, but you could put cardboard over them.

J.C.: That was one place you could sleep and not get messed with because they had an all night security guard that would walk around the building. The city would let us sleep there, but there got to be a lot of homeless sleeping there. A lot. So they had to kick us off. I think that is why they don’t like the homeless here. Some of the homeless are kind of rude; they don’t care about nobody.

Carol: But we used to wake up to a really rude security guard. Every morning he would kick us to wake us up. Literally kick us. He would yell, “Get up! Time to get up!” He didn’t have to kick us. He could have just told us nicely to get up, but…

Nikki: What are people’s reactions that you’ve seen towards the homeless?
Carol: There are always the people that will lend a helping hand. Then you have the people who will tell you to get a job or to “F-off” and they are just rude.

J.C.: They don’t even give you the time of day. They act like they don’t hear you.

Carol: They just look at you like you are a piece of trash – like they are better than us.

Nikki: How does that make you feel?
Carol: I don’t care what they think. The way I see it is that if you help out somebody, it will come back to you ten fold. It’s like last night, this lady came up to me. She had a black eye and a busted lip. Her husband had just beat her. She asked me if I had any change. I gave her all the money I had. I said, “This is all the money I have. Good luck. I hope you get to where you are going.”

I just don’t see why people have got to look down on us. Sometimes I see where they are coming from. “Get a job,” but it’s kind of hard when you have felonies to get a job.

J.C.: And when you sleep outside, that’s another thing that makes it hard to get a job. They think it’s so easy to get off of the streets, but all the shelters…you’re too scared to go to because people rob you there. I would rather take my chances outside.

Nikki: What do you see for your future?
J.C.: Hopefully off of the streets, hopefully have my kids back. Hopefully with Carol as long as she stays with me. …She’s doing more than I’m doing.

Nikki: What kind of role has church played in your life in the past?
Carol: I was raised in church because my dad was the minister at the local Church of Christ. So, we were forced to go to church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. When I got married I fled away from church, but I have come back since then. My dad was just really really rough on me, you know, “Go upstairs and read your Bible and get ready for church.” He wouldn’t let me go out with my friends because I needed to be reading my Bible. He was just really hard and I was really rebellious.

Nikki: How did the church respond to your divorce?
Carol: Well, they kind of looked down on me because I was divorced and a single mother. They looked down on me and were talking about me behind my back, so my dad resigned and went to Oklahoma. That’s one of the reasons why I fled because they were judging me and I was like, “Who are you to judge, when you are preaching about don’t judge? Let God judge.” So I think that is why I left church for a little bit.

Nikki: What do relationships mean to you?
Carol: It depends on the person. Like with me, I’m a people person. I love to help out people and talk to people. A friendship relationship is cool. But the relationship that J.C. and I have, I’m just happy in it no matter what. So, relationships mean a lot to me because I didn’t get that when I was little. Relationships help me cope.

J.C.: I would be lost without them. Some of these people I’ve known for 10 years. They are good people. Carol’s been with me for a minute. I don’t know what I would do without her. I would just get frustrated.

Nikki: Is it hard to develop trust in people?
Carol: Yeah, it is!

Nikki: Do you remember the first time you met Dry Bones?
Carol: About two years ago. My friend had told me, “Look, there’s this church group that feeds you and does fun stuff on Thursday nights. This is when y’all were feeding down by the Platte River. I just saw a lot of people that were willing to help. And I saw street kids that were actually happy. That’s the first time I met Dry Bones. I just started coming around more and more and more after that.

J.C.: I started coming to play pool. That’s where I first met you guys.

Nikki: What does having a relationship with an organization like Dry Bones mean to you?
J.C.: You guys brought me back to my belief.

Carol: It shows that somebody’s actually out there that cares and that wants to help and not just mess with our heads. Some people say, “Oh yeah, we can help you,” and then help us for a little bit, and then whenever we turn a certain age, they give up on us.

Nikki: What are your views on God and your relationship with Him? How have you seen Him work in your life?
Carol: I just think He’s awesome!

J.C.: He’ll burn you if you do dirty, I’ll tell you that!

Carol: I’ve seen him work through my three-year-old son. He was supposed to be dead, but now he’s off of his feeding tubes and he’s walking. He was never supposed to walk or feed himself. He was suppose to be fed by tubes and go to the bathroom with tubes and be a paraplegic for the rest of his life. My family and I were just praying. Then about a month ago, my son’s caseworker called me and said that my son was off of the tubes. He’s walking and talking and very healthy. So, that’s how I’ve seen God work.

J.C.: God helped me get clean. Cause that was not easy!

Carol: Getting clean. Praying to God almost every night and going to church.

J.C.: I’ve seen Him a lot. The more I go to church, the better my life is getting. But once I do mess up, it comes back to bite me.

Carol: We have a choice to listen to what God wants or to shrug and flick Him off our shoulder. I see that He’s a caring Father and that He wants us to do right. I mean, if we pray for something, He might not give it to us right away. He might give it to us in little portions. When He sees that we are doing something right, I think that He is just going to explode and give it to you right there.

Nikki: How have you seen God work on the streets?
Carol: Down by the Platte River with my street brother and J.C. My street brother had swallowed a very hot crack pipe. It almost killed him. Now all he talks about is God, because he says that God saved his life.

J.C.: God saved his life, seriously.

Carol: It went scalding straight down his throat. Made his throat swell up. They had to put him on a breathing tube. He says that God was showing him that this is not the life I want for you. And now, he just walks around and talks to people about God. God works wonders through people.

Nikki: Is there anything that you would want the people to hear?
J.C.: We’re not different.

Carol: Yeah, we’re not different and don’t look down on us. We’re trying, it just takes us a little bit longer and it’s harder.

J.C. I know that I’ve done things to myself to get me into this situation.

Carol: We’ve made mistakes and served our time and now we are just trying to make a life. When people look down on us, it just makes us want to give up sometimes.

Nikki: Anything else you want to say?
J.C.: Go Dry Bones! You guys rock. It’s good to know I actually got some people who care. Not all of these organizations care. So it’s good to know that you are there. I want to tell everyone out there, that Dry Bones is really good folks. I’ve good friends here.

I found out how much you cared for me just the other day when Robbie came to check on me. He came just to see me and talk to me for a little bit. It was just awesome. I deeply appreciate that you guys truly care. Y’all sincerely care. Y’all are good people.

View a 2010 interview with JC (Nick) and Carol HERE.