Seeing a group of 20-somethings roaming the West End of Dallas in the evening is a pretty common sight. Seeing them stop and chat with strangers is another thing, especially when those they are conversing with are homeless.
26-year old David Miranda doesn’t find this as unusual. He and a group of friends, many recruited from nearby Dallas Baptist University, make it a habit to camp near the West End DART Rail station and reach out to the residents, and those without residences, of that area of town.
It all started when Miranda, who was born in Sulphur Springs, TX and now runs a interpreter/translation business in Dallas, was inspired by his encounters with I am Second to use the movement’s t-shirts to reach people in Downtown Dallas’ West End. Finding this tool to work, he soon involved DBU students, most who are 3rd generation Hispanic, to join in his adventures. They utilize both I am Second and Yo Soy Segundo gear/materials to start conversations in both languages.
With supercharged energy, the work of the group soon expanded from Sunday night sojourns to planting a church that meets on Sunday morning that provides food, clothing and worship services. The impact on the community as a whole is growing, and the new West End Church, as they call themselves, is as diverse as you’ll see. What can be found in these unexpected places? Jesus.
Recently my husband and I headed out for some dinner and conversation. On a “whim” we chose to go somewhere we’d never been before. It was a cool place – part bar, part restaurant.
A few minutes after we arrived and were seated, an older gentleman came in and sat a few seats away from my husband at the bar. We continued our conversation while the gentleman sat by himself.
Then, clear as day, I heard: “talk to him.” My husband heard it too, “talk to him.”
I fought it, but the message on my heart was insistent. “Talk to him.” Finally, my husband reached over and introduced himself to the man. He was receptive and mentioned that he was a former helicopter pilot for the Marines. We had a nice chat, but it didn’t seem important, yet. Then, the elder man’s son and daughter-in-law arrived. The son had waist-length, jet-black hair and wore shades indoors. The woman was dressed in a suit, but also had wild hair, piercings and tattoos. They sat next to us and we exchanged introductions.