We were called to the church office where we met with William a man in his 60’s with a concerned look on his face. Sitting in a private office William began to explain he is a successful businessman living in the Santa Barbara area with a brother living in a local park. William’s brother Ted was suffering from a diagnosed case of schizophrenia. Ted, a man in his late 60’s left his family and chose to live as a homeless person. William explained to us that he would make available anything we need to accomplish the goal of getting Ted off the streets.
Our first contact with Ted was later that day in the local park. He was sitting in the shade of a tree stuffing cardboard in his shoes. We could see both shoes were worn out; his holey socks were very dirty. His belongings were stuffed into a black plastic bag that he held onto while we were there. He also had a small scalp wound that was bleeding.
We introduced ourselves and Ted immediately ask what we wanted followed by leave me alone. We explained to him his brother had sent us to see if we could help him. “You must be church people. I don’t like church people. My brother doesn’t go to church. Leave me alone”.
We ask if he needed anything he quickly replied, “Give me some money”. We told him we don’t have money to give but if he was hungry we had food and water. “Leave me alone” was all he said. We said we would be back and that we would pray for him.