Book Review: “Under the Overpass” (Mike Yankoski)
Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski started off with bang, and ended in an all-out fireworks show. I was hooked from page one until I finished it in a matter of maybe 5-7 hours max over a broken-up period of about 4 days.
Mike answers what He believes the call of God on his life, seeks godly counsel, prays for guidance, finds a partner, then sets off to live homeless on the streets in a half of dozen main cities all over the United States over a 5-month time frame. Facing the elements, stress, hunger, danger, and loneliness of the streets, Mike and Sam seek to gain a better understanding of the homeless community that is ever-present all around us. They’re goals are to survive, grow (or at least hold on to) their faith, and spread the love of Christ to those they come in contact with.
Mike gives detailed accounts of different circumstances he and Sam encountered along the way. The book was very well written, with jabs of humor strung here and there throughout the chapters.
I so very much enjoyed this book – I found it hard to pry out of my hands on several occasions. I was so engrossed in the events that had taken place in Mike and Sam’s lives, that I felt as though I was right there on the streets with them both.
Christians –and even non-Christians– don’t normally know what it is to really “want” something (and by “want,” I mean it in the “need” sense of the word). Even if life isn’t exactly how you would like it to be, the truth is that if you have a roof over your head, clean clothes, and a warm bed to sleep in at night you have been blessed beyond measure. We take too much for granted these days.
I was enraged at the so-called “church” at several points along the way in this book. I was shocked and appalled to read how Mike and Sam (the truly “needy” in the family of God) were ignored, shunned, and even removed from their presence by Christians. Of all people who should be helping the homeless, it’s the church! Christianity in general has failed in so many areas, and I fear this area is no exception.
I was encouraged and challenged by Mike to engage in my community – through my church or local rescue missions – and show the love of Christ by my words and actions to those who often go overlooked. On my way to work in the mornings I’ll sometimes pass homeless people. Those who I once drove by without so much as a second look now cause my heart to squeeze in pain for their situation. No one is above falling. Everyone needs Christ… and “everyone” includes the drug-addicted, alcoholic, smelly, ragged, forgotten homeless people.
I highly recommend this book to anyone willing to read 200+ pages of engaging, heart-wrenching, challenging material. You will gain a whole new perspective about one area the church has neglected to take part in. You will walk away encouraged, challenged, and changed for the better.
Posted on January 8, 2011, in Book Review and tagged Books, Christian Service, Church, Faith, Homeless People, Mike Yankoski, Ministry, Reading, Under the Overpass. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.