KiraWith tears in my eyes, I just said goodbye to one of the kindest men I have ever met. I spent my last nine months volunteering as an intern at the Gateway Center. In the time not spent there, I studied as an exchange student at Candler.

During the last semester, I had the honor of leading an LGBT Safe Space group. We were a small group, talking about life in general and about how our sexual orientation or gender identity impacts our everyday lives, inside and outside of the Gateway Center. The attendees shared with me that the safety of the group was incredibly helpful to them. We rejoiced together over achievements and fortunateness, as well as comforted each other when life was not looking as bright.

I felt like the impact this group had on my life was so much bigger than any influence I could ever have had. It taught me so much about the cultural context of the U.S., the intersection of not fitting the heteronormative scheme and being homeless and about life in general. Even though I have been on the way into ministry for four years by now, this group helped me find my call more concretely. They showed me what my spiritual gifts are and taught me a great deal about who I am. Finding teachers, ministers and incredibly kind people at the Gateway Center taught me to listen more and to look for what the other person can teach me.

So, the next time you want to shut a door, look the other way or judge someone for who they are, you might want to consider that they could be the teacher you need to grow.