Author: Jeremy Reynalds
Author: Jeremy Reynalds
A Sheltered Life: Take It to the Streets will change your view of the homeless. This memoir by Jeremy Reynalds gives the reader an inside look at what life is like for people without walls for a home as it chronicles his own journey from being broke and homeless to running the largest emergency homeless shelter in New Mexico: Joy Junction.
Reynalds’ life growing up in Great Britain was no joy junction. At school he was bullied and his family was a center of conflict. When he was a young man, he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior quietly in his room while reading a book written by an Anglican clergyman. Shortly after, he felt called into full-time ministry—having no idea how that would actually play out in his life. With only $50 in his pocket, he boarded a plane and came to America. He had a place to sleep, but no food and no way of earning money since he could not legally work in the U.S.
The day came when Jeremy Reynalds was, as he wrote, “just a broke young Englishman stranded in the American Southwest. I had made it to the New Mexico-Texas border but ended up standing in the blazing sun for hours. Cars sped by, but none stopped. As the hours passed, I was getting more and more tired, so I left the highway… I saw a restaurant that was about to close for the night. It didn’t matter, because I had no money for food. I saw that behind the restaurant there was a storage shed filled with odds and ends, and I looked for something to sleep on. The only thing that looked suitable was a piece of fiberglass, and that was my bed for the night.”
This experience provided him with compassion and understanding for the poor and homeless that would not have been possible otherwise. Today, Dr. Jeremy Reynalds holds a master’s degree in communication and a Ph.D. in intercultural education, and he is the author of several books.
Joy Junction is unique in that it keeps families together. It is common for shelters to accept the mom and children but leave the dad out in the streets. Families who don’t want to be separated end up staying in parks or under bridges—or if they’re lucky, in their cars. Joy Junction goes beyond providing hot meals and beds for people in emergency situations. They offer a nine month training course, the Christ in Power Program, that equips people spiritually, emotionally, and educationally to succeed in life.
My favorite part of this book are the stories about real people at Joy Junction. Here we learn how people get into this type of situation and what it takes for them to move onward and upward with their lives.
Even though I thought the book lacked transitions in some places, and in spite of missing chapter numbers, I recommend it for its insight into a segment of our society that should not be ignored or left without solutions. As Reynalds poignantly points out, all are precious souls in God’s sight.
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