Ruth Joshua is 26 and the wife of a Pastor. Giving comes easily to her because she knows what it feels like to receive especially when you are down and out in the city.
My mother was a cleaner in a wet market in Kuala Lumpur. We were poor but she always had something for someone in need. She will always be sheltering people in our house in Penang and providing them with whatever food she had in the house.
Giving was something I learnt from her as a kid. Sometimes one of my schoolmates would have no money to pay RM24 for school fees, my mother would quietly dig in to her pockets to hand me the money.
My parents are of different faith so there was always tension in the house. But I kept faith with my mum and developed this desire to help the homeless. For the past year and half my husband and I have been opening our home to shelter 10 homeless people. In the early days I used to be on my feet the whole day cooking and washing for them and my family.
After a while I got tired and frustrated and sent all of them back on to the street. I told my husband I never wanted to shelter anyone again. But I couldn’t rid myself of this nagging concern for them.When I met some of them on the street again,I noticed how they have deteriorated physically.
I cried and I knew I had to give them another chance. This time my challenge was to pace myself and have a better control over the situation. I told them that they must help me out with cooking and washing.
Today we are a happier “family” and these homeless people staying here are helping us to cook for the homeless on the streets of Kuala Lumpur. We do not have a lot of resources so we need to stretch our funds (which is mainly from our own income) by going to faraway markets for the low price goods.
What keeps me going? When I was pregnant with my youngest son, my husband gave up his job as a taxi driver to be a fulltime pastor. One day I had only RM4 to feed my 4 children and myself. I told them I was going to buy roti canai to share among us. As I stepped out the door, a neighbour came up with two huge bags of groceries of rice, vegetable and chicken. I was so grateful and this is how I know what it means to receive. Giving to the homeless keeps me going.