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HomeCommentaryProve It Clarksville: Day Ten: Crayons and Copper

Prove It Clarksville: Day Ten: Crayons and Copper

An exercise in homelessness.

Clarksville, TN – The biggest event of this day was that I got to take a shower. It was the first one since last Wednesday night, and trust me that it was a worship experience in itself—not to mention using a real toilet and not feeling rushed. Oh, the things we take for granted.

You know, there are a lot of talented people riding the bus, living in shelters, or even sleeping in tents and under bridges. Yesterday morning at the bus stop, I noticed a young man with a sketchpad and pencils.

Cabin’s crayon-and-wood-scrap art.
Cabin’s crayon-and-wood-scrap art.

As we waited for the bus, he was working on a drawing, but I couldn’t see what it was. After we got on the bus, another passenger started a conversation with the young guy about art and said that he, too, was an artist—a photographer.

Both guys showed me some of their work. (The young guy was drawing a horse with a man kneeling beside it, praying.) I invited them both to be in an event Manna Café is having at 635 Frosty Morn Drive (the building where we want to launch the full-time shelter) on August 2nd — it’s called Color Me Cool.

It’ll be an art show with a hippie-dippy twist: music, ice cream, and an auction. We’ll have artists from all over showing off their craft. A few have traveled the world, making and exhibiting their art; one is coming all the way from Chicago.


Another artist in particular comes to mind. His street name was Papa Smurf, and the last time I saw him he was living in Tent City in Nashville. He would take pieces of driftwood and copper wire and make these cool crosses and then sell them to make some money. He gave me one for my birthday one year, and I bought two more, one for our home and one to put in our very first Manna House. Everyone who sees them wants one.

Vicki and I have also bought some things from a homeless artist in Savannah who takes scrap pieces of wood, melts crayons in the sun, and then draws these amazing pictures. His name is Cabin, and every time we go to Savannah we try to look him up. (Yeah, even on vacation we hang out with the homeless.) And by the way, I’m going to have both Papa Smurf’s and Cabin’s work on display at Color Me Cool.

Tomorrow (or I should say “today,” since you’ll read this on the 24th) is a big day for Vicki and me—it’s our anniversary. I met her four years before we ever started hanging out. I remember seeing her at a worship gathering one night. She seemed to have her life together and was so full of Jesus and joy.

I remember praying and asking God, “Why can’t I find someone like that?”—but I knew I didn’t have a shot. Heck, at that time I was living in a corner of a warehouse as a missionary; I had nothing to offer.

Well, six years ago today, we snuck into a garden with a fountain close to Music Row in Nashville with our pastor and a few witnesses and got married. God heard my prayer, and He didn’t just give me someone like her, He gave me her.

Prove It ClarksvilleWe’ve done some crazy stuff on our anniversaries—once we served a meal in Tent City, and once we did our first Mobile Pantry, and tomorrow from 2:00pm–4:00pm we’ll stand on a street corner together, holding Prove It signs. We said we didn’t want to get married unless our life together would make a difference. So it just seems right that we prove it.

Peace out.

One way you can “Prove It” that takes less than a minute: sign the petition to show your support of a full-time transitional homeless shelter:


Kenny York
Kenny Yorkhttp://www.mannacafeministries.com/
Kenny York is the founder of Manna Café Ministries,  a faith-based organization devoted to meeting the needs of homeless and low-income families in Montgomery County via hot meals, food boxes, and emergency shelter. In 2014, the organization distributed 1.3 million pounds of food to the hungry and provided beds for fifty-plus individuals via a warming shelter during the winter season.

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