Archive for June, 2009


Reflections from the Death of Michael Jackson

Yes, Michael Jackson is dead. Everywhere I turned to today…twitter, facebook, tv, etc. They were all awash in talking about Michael’s death. I don’t really want to sound 100% jaded, but I really don’t care….and here’s why: over the past 10 days, 3 people died in the streets of Seattle and they will never be written about in any newspaper or broadcast on any television channel.

You see, I wish people cared a fraction as much about my friends who have died in the streets in the past 3 weeks as they cared about Michael Jackson. Their lives were just as important to their friends as Michael’s was to his friends. Yeah, yeah, Michael is the king of pop and “should be immortalized forever”, but why, just because my friends were sleeping outside does that mean that they should be forgotten forever? Why shouldn’t they be immortalized too?


My friend James….Part 2 (the one you didn’t hear)

The day after the interview below James was called in for an interview at a seafood processing plant within walking distance from Nickelsville. James was excited about the idea. He had previous been accepted to do the same work with 2 friends in Alaska but when it came time to ship out, the company had told him that they did not need as many workers and he would have to stay in Seattle as his 2 friends went ahead.

James was dejected. His friends gone. His main job prospect gone…

After interviewing with the company, James was very confident that the job would be his. Finally the call came….he had gotten the job! But there was a problem. I knew James didn’t have any type of work boots, owning only a pair of clogs and tennis shoes. He new the job would be wet and cold but insisted he would be ok. A few days passed before James would start.

I went to Nickelsville to check in on James and see how his first day went. He was like a kid at Christmas, feeling overwhelmed at the blessing he had received. He had the job he had wanted and he didn’t even have to go to Alaska to get it! And he was amazed at how nice everyone was and how they let people have radios and that he could work overtime if he wanted! You would have thought he had found the best job ever! And for him, he had!

There was a problem though. Later on, he pulled me aside. “Dustin, I’m worried. I stood in water and ice all day. My shoes are still cold and wet.” He had stood all day in freezing water and ice in only a pair of clogs. My heart sank. “Dustin, is that offer still on the table? I tried looking all around the camp to borrow some because I no one has anything that will fit. Can you find a way to get me some shoes? My feet were frozen today…”

Off we went to Payless. James knows that I don’t get paid for what I do and have no job myself. He insisted that we went to Payless because he thought it would be cheaper than Fred Meyer. We purchased a nice pair of waterproof boots. Payless was running a buy one pair get the 2nd one half off sale. I told James to get a 2nd pair. At first he refused, not wanting me to spend anymore money. I insisted. His response, “Dustin, do you think I could get a pair of shoes for church? I’d like to own a pair of dress shoes so that I can look nice for Sunday.” The ones he picked out had a price tag that read $17. They were half off that.

It may not seem like much to you or me, but on Sunday, James will walk into church with a new level of self respect. On Monday, he will not have to spend 12 hours standing in ice all day in only a pair of clogs.

This is my everyday life. This is ONE4ONE. I love, I listen, I marry people, I bury people. I visit the sick and take them to hospitals. I wait there with them and make sure they get treated well. I am there when its snowing and they don’t have a blanket or a jacket or even a pair of socks. I am there when women need to find a safe house because of domestic violence or rape. I am there when they are hungry or thirsty. I am there when they fall in love, I am there when they separate. I am there when they find out they’re pregnant. I am there when they lose custody or miscarry. I am there when they become clean. I am there when they start using again. I am there when they get off the streets. I am there when they feel alone. I listen when no one else will. We laugh together. We cry together. We celebrate together. We encounter God together…This is my everyday life. This is ONE4ONE.

We need your support. You may not be able to make this your everyday life, but you can help make it ours. ONE4ONE has launched. We MUST raise at least $70,000 over the next year to make this happen. We need you…people like James need you…

All donations are tax deductible.


My friend James…

This is the story of my buddy James who lives in Nickelsville.  Good guy, good heart, and a good friend.  We should all be fortunate enough to know people like him.

Thanks to Mark Horvath for documenting stories from some of the most beautiful people I know.



A few ways to help out our brothers and sisters in Christ during their time of need:

1. Send out an email or a phone call encouraging them to let us stay!

Governor Christine Gregoire
360-902-4111 or email at

Paula J. Hammond, Director Washington State Department of Transportation
360-705-7000 or email at

2. Bring out water. There is no running water on site.

3. Bring out food donations or prepare a meal for the camp.

4. Tents are greatly needed. The more tents, the more people there are who don’t have to sleep outside. April-September are the toughest months to find shelter.

And the most radical method…..

5. Get involved! Come out and meet my friends, hear their stories, share yours, journey through life alongside them. Be a presence. You do NOT have to be arrested but you can come and show your support if and when the state does come in to disband the camp. Your presence is a HUGE impact! Show the state that the Nickelodeans have a right to exist and a right to shelter.



June 2009