Opening Up Their Hearts and Their Home
If you saw the movie, “The Blind Side,” you’ve had a sneak peek at Chris and Sheryl Solberg’s story. It started with a sermon at their church. “The pastor talked about ‘outlandish love’ where you identify a need and just overwhelm it with love,” recalls Sheryl. “The message I heard was to love those who might not be easy to love, like prostitutes or people in jail, the way Jesus did.”
Afterwards, the pastor made a bold request to the congregation: Who would be willing to sign up to help people in our community who need a place to live for a season? Someone who has maybe lost a job or a teen in crisis with no place to go…
“Chris and I looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s do it,’” says Sheryl. “And shortly after that, guess what happened: The church called us!”
“Can you take him in?”
Pastor Rory from their church had come across a young man, Kevin, alone at a Jack-in-the-Box restaurant on Christmas Eve. “Kevin had been bouncing between homeless youth shelters, churches, and generous folks’ sofas,” says Sheryl. “He had no real place to land or just ‘be.’ Pastor Josh asked us if we could take him in for awhile.”
They said yes, and it seemed like divine intervention. “I’m certain the Lord felt we were ready to grow,” says Sheryl. So Kevin moved in, and their lives haven’t been the same since.
We had no idea what life was like for these homeless kids. – Sheryl Solberg
“We’ve learned so much about life, about things we had only read about,” shares Chris. “For example, we went with Kevin to get a ‘stash’ of his clothing; a suit, tie, dress shirt and dress shoes that were carefully wrapped in a big rain coat and stuffed under a tree downtown in what can only be called an ‘urban closet’. Kids will do that, then ride a bus all day, not knowing where they might sleep from one day to the next. Honestly, we had no clue what the lives of these kids were like, kids who are friendly, excitable, and bright, like Kevin.”
Chris and Sheryl were determined to teach Kevin some basic life skills and to get him off to a fresh start. “Really we mainly want to love him as Jesus teaches us and Holy Spirit guides us,” says Sheryl. People in the community stepped up to provide clothes, dental and medical services, a phone, and a computer.
Kevin is also getting counseling through Friends of Youth, an organization that serves homeless youth, and Sheryl and Chris enrolled him in a driving class (paid for by donations). “We see that as a part of his future to live independently,” says Sheryl, “though I must say he’s taught me a lot about the bus system!”
“We are on a journey of healing and our hearts are cautioning us from giving too much, rather than having him earn his way,” adds Chris.
In the meantime, they say, “We are trusting God for the answers, it is to His glory that each step of our ‘walk’ continues. He has amazed us so far; why would we think that will change?”