By Kelsey Linden
With winter approaching and the temperature dropping, it’s nice to have the luxury of sleeping in warm, cozy beds. But, for some, a warm bed is not always an available option.
To fully understand the feeling of being homeless, Delano High School juniors Margaret Kittock and Kristina Wilkinson decided to sleep outside (in a tent) for 30 days in representation of Love INC (Love in the Name of Christ) Heartland.
While the girls have been sleeping out, people have been donating funds to Love INC. Money collected will be used to keep the ministry going, said Terri Harris. She said a second, new fundraiser will take place in spring, and will be more of a celebration. To date, $10,059 has been raised.
“We are so very grateful for the generosity of our communities,” Harris said. “We still are significantly shy of our $40,000 goal. Many donations trickle in after it is over. We started and ended a little early, so we are not dismayed. We are confident God has the finances we need.”
Wilkinson and Kittock, along with a group of others, began sleeping out Oct. 20 and continued until the 30 days were up.
For Wilkinson, this time spent alone and outside has been very humbling.
“I think it really puts it into perspective what it’s like to have to do that every single night,” Wilkinson said. “That’s what I’ve been needing to make it more real for me.”
Agreeing, Kittock added, “I, in some ways, wanted to make a statement.”
Kittock said it was also a good experience, and said she thought, it’s a fundraiser, she’s young, so why not?
“There are the mornings where I wake up tired because I didn’t get a good night’s sleep because of the rain, but I’m fine. I survived,” said Kittock.
When asked why the girls decided not to use a heater in their tents, Kittock replied, “We opted not to have a heater because we wanted to identify as much as we could with the homeless.”
While sleeping out, the girls have felt more at peace with the world and with their faith.
“I think this whole thing has just given me time alone with God. This has helped me clear the fog,” Wilkinson said.
Kittock added, “One thing that I really like is the stars and the sunrises I’ve gotten to see over the last 20 days. I’m just in awe over the beauty and design of the world.”
Quoting the Bible, Kittock put it all into perspective by saying, “For we brought nothing into this world, we can take nothing out.”
Always close to her faith, Kittock has expressed interest in youth ministry in the future.
Kittock said not she’s trying to focus on serving God where she is, putting Him first, and the rest will come later.”
Kittock has encouraged others to look into the meaning of life and what their purpose is in this world.
For Kittock and Wilkinson, expressing their faith can be a challenge.
“It’s not so much the rejection issue, it’s the fear of rejection,” Kittock said.
Both Kittock and Wilkinson remain strong Christian friends. Back in ninth grade, when the two first met, they hit it off right from the start.
Kittock, who was home-schooled prior to high school, recalled, “I was still trying to get to know people, but I remember Mrs. (Barb) Roy had us pair up for an activity, so I saw Kristina sitting alone and I remember thinking that she had really cool pants. And she had several pairs of amazing pants. I remember seeing her every day and thinking about those pants. I went up to her that one day and we worked together and it just sort of took off from there.
“In second semester, we had the first three blocks together freshman year. We were pretty much joined at the hip like Siamese twins.”
Both girls enjoy Bible quizzing, drama, and reading.
When it comes to future goals, Wilkinson is unsure, but said, “My plan for the present is to get closer to God, follow what He wants me to do, and listen to him.”
Kittock emphasized, “I guess I want to show people that there is hope in a completely hopeless world.”
Both girls feel there is a great deal of hope in their church, especially Wilkinson, who joined the church two years ago.
“It’s been very grounding for me, said Wilkinson. “Keeping my head out of the clouds. The church is like a second home to me.”
Agreeing, Kittock said, “Everyone is so loving. In some churches, people are afraid of judgment and people being judgmental, but our church is very warming and welcoming.”
Also sleeping outside are Patrick and Steve Johnson, Dan Wendell, Chad Booth, Hans Wamre, Cody Mathisen, Jon Krieg, Joy Krieg, Cody Krieg, Scott Johnson, Parker Johnson, Brooke Mather, Sam Fisher, Megan Anderson, Anna Bulthuis, Molly Hutchins, Amber Forster, Ashley Beyer, Jeanine Johnson, Faith Johnson, Carol Johnston, Matt Christians, Kartsen McGowan, Andy Christians, Michael Yahnke, Kathy Workman, Terri Johnson, Lee Johnson, Phil Carlburg, James Carlburg, and Rev. Jim Beard.
Love INC truly tries to greet each and every person with that warm and welcoming feeling in hope that perhaps they, too, will feel secure in themselves to express their faith.
As well as charity projects, Love INC does many clothing drives. The organization is also willing to take automobiles.
If you are interested in contributing to the Love INC fund or volunteering, feel free to contact Terri Harris at (763) 972-6547 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.