Ron Hall didn’t plan to write a book. In fact, his formerly homeless friend Denver Moore pushed him into doing it together. In the beginning, no one wanted to publish it—38 submissions and 38 “no’s” from publishers later, they had to publish it on their own. Who would’ve known their book Same Kind of Different as Me would sit on the New York Times bestseller list for 3 straight years? What single thing could take this story and spread it to so many people … and change so many hearts? Only the latent power of kindness, and the lives it changes forever.
He sold paintings worth millions of dollars. He was living the good life. So good, and yet he walked down a path that almost destroyed his marriage. Against all odds, his wife Debbie forgave him, and God slowly restored their broken marriage.
All this led them down a path to the story he wrote. He owed his wife. Big time. One night, God gave Debbie a dream of a “poor, wise man who would change their city.” It was more than an ordinary dream … it unsettled her and she couldn’t get it out of her mind. She even saw the man’s face in her dream.
The next day, they drove around their city to search for this man from the dream, Ron was in tow, and after hours of driving, they stopped at a gospel rescue mission. Everything around the building was run down. No one cared much for this area of town, or the people that hunkered down here. So many without a place, or people, to call home.
Reluctantly serving these people alongside his eager wife at the mission led them to what happened next. A man busted in kicking and screaming. Ron cowered behind the food counter. Yet as the angry man walked out,
DEBBIE CRIED OUT, “THAT’S HIM! THAT’S THE MAN FROM MY DREAM!
Ron, you have to talk to him. That’s the man from my dream!” Ron would have preferred never seeing the man again.
Slowly, after months of effort, and Debbie’s fiery persistence, Ron was able to talk with the man from Debbie’s dream. His real name was Denver he said. No one had known his real name in many years. Such was the life on the streets, life in the shadows.
Their unlikely friendship grew and grew, and eventually Ron and Denver would call each other their “very best friend in the world.” Ron had given many a check to help the poor, but this was different; this time he gave himself in friendship. That was something more valuable than gold.
Denver found in Ron and Debbie people who truly cared for him in way he hadn’t experienced in his whole life.
Eventually Denver did get off the streets, and carried on Debbie’s passion to help those in need. Slowly, but surely, just as his own life was transformed by the power of kindness, he in turn played a key role in transforming his city, and providing hope for many on the streets. He convinced Ron to write their story down, which is why you are reading this today.
Here are 4 practical ways we can start changing the life of one:
1. BRING A GROUP FROM YOUR CHURCH TO SERVE AT YOUR LOCAL RESCUE MISSION OR SHELTER.
Let’s make sure the forgotten people are forgotten no more, and that someone wants to know their name and their story.
2. PICK ONE NEEDY PERSON IN YOUR COMMUNITY TO ENGAGE IN RELATIONSHIP
Remember, there are about 1-2 homeless people for every 1 church in America. Your church may not be able to do everything, but you can help one!
Share a meal with one person, and hear their story, and simply listen. Simply listening could change a life forever.
Begin to look for ways to stay in touch with one person, and provide in smalls ways for their practical, social, emotional and spiritual needs. You may not know where to start, so just take it an interaction at a time.
As your friendship with one person develops over weeks, months or years, work with the local shelter or rescue mission to help in any way you can as a local church or group, to help get shelter and a job if the one you are loving and serving is capable to move forward.
3. BRING A GROUP FROM YOUR CHURCH TO SEE RON AND DENVER’S STORY ON THE BIG SCREEN
“Same Kind of Different As Me” is releasing in theaters nationwide on the weekend of October 20.
Plus, it will energize, mobilize and move you to tears what God can do when we reach outside our comfort zone’s to the life of someone in great need.
You can also access, free materials for a 4-week church-wide campaign.
4. LOOK FOR SIMPLE WAYS TO SHOW KINDNESS, AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE
After watching Ron and Denver’s story, look for other ways to do a “simple act of kindness” to other people in your city, whether they are homeless or not.
We never know how far we can all go, until we step out and touch the life of another.
Join in the “Make a Difference Day” this month by doing a random act of kindness, and share your stories using #SameKindMovie.