Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America

Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America

4.6 75
by Mike Yankoski
     
 

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5th Anniversary - Updated & Expanded Edition
With foreword by Francis Chan


Ever Wonder What it Would Be Like to Live Homeless?

Mike Yankoski did more than just wonder. By his own choice, Mike's life went from upper-middle class plush to scum-of-the-earth repulsive overnight. With only a backpack, a sleeping bag and a guitar,

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Overview

5th Anniversary - Updated & Expanded Edition
With foreword by Francis Chan


Ever Wonder What it Would Be Like to Live Homeless?

Mike Yankoski did more than just wonder. By his own choice, Mike's life went from upper-middle class plush to scum-of-the-earth repulsive overnight. With only a backpack, a sleeping bag and a guitar, Mike and his traveling companion, Sam, set out to experience life on the streets in six different cities—from Washington D.C. to San Diego— and they put themselves to the test.
    For more than five months the pair experienced firsthand the extreme pains of hunger, the constant uncertainty and danger of living on the streets, exhaustion, depression, and social rejection—and all of this by their own choice. They wanted to find out if their faith was real, if they could actually be the Christians they said they were apart from the comforts they’d always known…to discover first hand what it means to be homeless in America.
   Mike and Sam's story is gritty, challenging, and utterly captivating. What you encounter in these pages will radically alter how you see your world—and may even change your life.
 




From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Yankoski's parents were right: It was crazy to live as a homeless person in six American cities for five months; fortunately, this crazy idea makes for quite a story. Yankoski, a Christian college student, challenges the reader to learn about faith, identify with the poor and find more forgotten, ruined, beautiful people than we ever imagined existed, and more reason to hope in their redemption. The journey begins at a Denver rescue mission and ends on a California beach. Along the way, Yankoski and a friend learn the perils of poor hygiene and the secrets of panhandling. They meet unfortunates like Andrew, who squanders his musical talent to feed his drug habit, and hustlers like Jake, who gives the pair tips about how to look and sound more pitiful to get more money. Yankoski tends to moralize: If we respond to others based on their outward appearance, haven't we entirely missed the point of the Gospel? Still, the book features fine writing (I awoke, rolled over and saw beads of sweat already forming on my arms. Saturday, early morning, Phoenix) and vivid stories, authentically revealing an underworld of need. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-As a college student in Santa Barbara, Yankoski was comfortable with his life. However, listening to a Sunday sermon one morning, he began to wonder whether his faith would remain as strong if his privileged upbringing and typical college existence were taken away. So began his decision to put his faith to the test. After discussing his plans with his family and various advisors, he and a friend took a leave of absence from their studies and their middle-class lives to enter the world of the homeless. They spent five months in 2003 on the streets of Denver; Phoenix; Washington, DC; and other cities. Playing their guitars and panhandling, they relied entirely on charity. The harshness, hunger, dangers, and indignities they faced are reported in detail. They formed friendships with other homeless people and watched many of them struggle with alcoholism and drug addiction. Yankoski steers clear of preachy or patronizing tones, and his dry sense of humor makes the book thoroughly readable. Teens will appreciate the frankness with which he approaches the day-to-day challenges and his personal struggles.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Library System, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
Praise for Under the Overpass

“The Scriptures are filled with images of a God who is casting down the mighty and lifting up the lowly, of the last becoming first and the first last. In relentless nonconformity to the patterns of our culture, the Christian call is not to move away from suffering but to move toward it, so that we can bear some of the burdens carried by our brothers and sisters. Here is one story of the downward mobility of the Kingdom. It is a story that dares you to move closer to the margins, to the suffering, to the pain. . . and to meet Jesus there—in His many disguises.”
—Shane Claiborne, best-selling author, activist, and recovering sinner

“Under the Overpass is a captivating, terrifying, encouraging, motivating, saddening, amazing account of a young man who died to self with the assurance that God knows best. Rarely does a book move me this much. Mike Yankoski doesn’t have a little liquid fire in his heart; he is consumed by it. Let his book ignite your heart and soul.”
—Ryan Dobson, best-selling author of Be Intolerant and To Die For

“Every once in a while a book comes along that is so raw and revealing it proves to be a catalyst for cognizance and conviction for multiple generations. Under the Overpass is such a book. Mike and Sam’s five-month journey through the underbelly of America was not a brazen stunt by bored college students but a quest born out of guilt and curiosity thatbecame a Christ-fueled passion for the poor and dispossessed. I know Mike and am inspired by the fact that his zeal has intensified over time. He lives what he learned on the streets. Be careful as you read this timely book; it could radically change your perceptions and maybe even your calling.”
—John Ashmen, president, Association of Gospel Rescue Missions

“Often it’s hard to understand why God calls us to do difficult things. But when we’re willing to answer His call, our lives are forever changed. Mike and Sam were willing to say, ‘Here I am, Lord,’ and I have no doubt that their story will change you too!”
—Brad Meuli, president, Denver Rescue Mission

“Everyone with a beating heart will benefit from reading this book. Leading through example, Mike Yankoski takes readers on his amazing journey through the forgotten streets of America. Into the darkest places where most choose not to look, Mike chose to go. This book is so deeply moving that emotion is soon overrun with an honest desire to make a difference for what our dear Lord calls ‘the least of these.’”
—Kim Meeder, best-selling author of Blind Hope and Hope Rising

“Mike Yankoski hangs out with alcoholics and drug addicts. He panhandles for bus fare and eats from dumpsters. Yes, he has guts. But he also has faith.”
Dean R. Hirsch, President, World Vision

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307563439
Publisher:
The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/21/2009
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
110,025
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

MIKE YANKOSKI and his wife, Danae, are both graduate students in theology at Regent College, Vancouver, Canada. Mike is a board member for World Vision, and a frequent speaker for World Vision, Compassion International, Union Gospel Mission, and colleges across North America. The Yankoskis make their home in a community house on Vancouver's east side where they seek to live authentically among people in need.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Read an Excerpt

FOREWORD TO THE UPDATED AND EXPANDED EDITION
by Francis Chan

I would like to write a few words about Mike Yankoski, and then I’ll give some thoughts about his book. . . I am a very
skeptical person, and I struggle with cynicism. Like most people, I have heard so many lies that now I have a hard time trusting. I even struggle when reading a good book, because in the back of my mind I’m wondering if the person who wrote it is for real.
   So what is it about Mike that inclines me to trust him? The sacrifices he has made.
   Sacrifice promotes believability.
   The apostle Paul defended his ministry in 2 Corinthians 11 with a list of hardships he endured. It was his suffering for the sake of the gospel that gave credence to his message. Paul showed that he genuinely believed what he taught. Why else would he suffer as he did? His argument in 1 Corinthians 15 is similar as he explains the foolishness of his lifestyle if the gospel isn’t true.
   While there are many who say they live for eternity, Mike and his wife, Danae, are among the few I actually believe. Their actions have shown me that I can trust them. You can too.
   Now about the book. . .
   I was warned when entering seminary that if I was not careful, a dangerous habit could form: I could learn to read
the Bible and do nothing in response. I still remember our seminary president warning us that study to the neglect of
action becomes easier and easier with each occurrence. We should be terrified if we have mastered the art of becoming convicted and doing nothing in response. Don’t read Mike’s book if you’re not willing to change your attitude and actions toward the homeless.
   As a person who considers himself sensitive to the needs of the rejected in our country, I learned from this book that I still have a ways to go. I look forward to seeing the changes God will bring about in my life because of it.
   Mike shows much grace in pointing out weaknesses our churches may have in caring for the poor. It is embarrassing
to admit, but I have often struggled with pride when encountering the homeless. I can’t say that I usually see them as having equal worth with me, much less consider them as “better” than myself (Philippians 2:3). Like many, I have found myself at times working to avoid rather than seeking to engage.
   Far from condemning, this book actually causes me to look forward to my next encounter with those living on the
streets. I believe it will do the same for you. As I followed Mike’s journey and tried to put myself in his shoes, it caused me to love Jesus more. As I thought of what a struggle it would be for me to leave my comforts, it stirred a greater adoration toward my Savior, who emptied Himself to dwell with us.

      This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid
      down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our
      lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions
      and sees his brother in need but has no pity on
      him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children,
      let us not love with words or tongue but with
      actions and in truth. (1 John 3:16–18)

   I pray that the story of Mike and Sam’s five-month journey causes you to eagerly anticipate your next encounter with a homeless man or woman, created in the image of God.   —FRANCIS CHAN




From the Trade Paperback edition.

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