Christian's Struggle: Caring for a Homeless Encounter in Guangdong's Winter Chill

A picture of where homeless people sleep
A picture of where homeless people sleep (photo:
By Ruth WangDecember 27th, 2023

After December 15, the temperature in many places dropped by more than 10 degrees: in a little over a week, Shanghai went from 21 to around zero degrees, and Shenzhen went from 27 to 15 degrees, causing many people to fall ill.

Recently, Brother Xu, who lives in Guangdong, saw a homeless man on an overpass near his home on his way to work every day. Having experienced such a sharp drop in temperature himself last week, Xu couldn't help but worry about the homeless man, wondering if he could stand the cold living outdoors.

"When I left home this morning, I saw the man huddled there as I passed by." On the evening of the 20th, Brother Xu shared how he was feeling upset and wavering inside. On his way to work in the morning, Xu would leave the homeless man the breakfast he had just bought, feeling that it was okay for him to skip a meal, and when he walked by in the evening after returning from work, he would check to see if the homeless man was still there. Xu thought hard about whether to send the man a mattress and a quilt. If he did not see the man there, Xu would start to feel worried, but at the same time, he would consider that it would be nice if the man could find a warmer place to stay.

After listening to Xu's troubles, a sister in the church made a good suggestion: there are many low-cost workers dormitories in the area that rent for 100 to 200 yuan per month. If Brother Xu decided to help this homeless man, she could sponsor him and provide the necessary quilts so the homeless man could stay warm for one or two winter months.

With the encouragement of the people around him, Brother Xu finally made up his mind to give it a try.

On the morning of December 21, a "cold orange warning" was issued for the entire city of Guangzhou. That day also happened to be the winter solstice, and according to the Guangdong Meteorological Department, it would be the "coldest winter solstice" in Guangzhou in the past decade.

- Translated by Joyce Leung

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