Missionaries in foreign countries often create the opportunity to share the gospel with people by first meeting the physical needs of the people they are trying to reach. They go in and offer food, medical care, and shelter to those who are lacking. They share God’s love for them in tangible ways and then tell the people of God’s love and the sacrifice that was made for them through Jesus Christ.
Why does this practice seem to be limited to foreign missions? There are many homeless and struggling people right here in the U.S. who could use the same tangible expressions of love from the Church. Would someone not be more open to hearing about God’s love for them from someone who just showed them love? As Christians, we must realize that loving people by caring for their needs is not separate from sharing God’s word with them. In fact, the two should be inseparable. We cannot do either fully without the other.
For those thinking that the homeless situation in the U.S. is not real, or that it only pertains to alcoholic men, read this article from the Santa Maria Times in Santa Maria, CA. It suggests that many of the homeless are single women with children. How can we ignore them?