About Mike and Sam:
Mike and his wife Danae live in Vancouver, B.C. with their dog, Elliott, and are both studying for their Masters of Christian Studies (MCS) degrees at Regent College. Their passions include backpacking, hiking, running, tea, growing veggies, good books, and connecting with people of all sorts. Mike serves on the board of directors for World Vision US and the board of advisers for Kilns College. He and Danae just released a new book called Zealous Love: A Practical Guide to Social Justice.
Sam Purvis just married lovely Christine on Sept 21. 2010. Sam and Christine both work at a coffee bar called BARISTA in Portland, OR. They are involved in a small house church community seeking to live out a belief in God, a love for each other and a commitment to the city they live in. Outside of work Sam and Christine enjoy life in Portland, the variety of people, food, music and art that comes with a city enamored with thought, culture and design.
Seven years post-travel with Mike, Sam's ideas about living in relationship with those in obvious physical need have been forever changed and are still being shaped. If you were to ask Sam today if he feels like he has found a place where the more privileged life that he leads as a result of color and generational privilege has collided with the lives of those lacking these temporal privileges, he would tell you that he still feels caught in between and is trying to grow in to a way of living where he is walking in obedience to Christ's heart for those less fortunate.
Under the Overpass Specific Bio:
Several years ago Mike Yankoski took off a semester from college between his
Sophomore and Junior years to do something a little uncanny.
He was homeless. For five months, in six different American cities, Mike and a friend
named Sam intentionally ate from trash cans and Rescue Missions, slept under bridges,
and panhandled in order to survive. They chose to do this not only in order to better
understand the plight of the American homeless, but more specifically to observe how the Church and Christians were interacting with this despised corner of American society.
Mike's book Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America
(Multnomah, 2010) captures his journey on the streets and relates the people and
experiences that forever changed his life during that five month journey. Today, Mike
has a passion to push Christians to live an active and out loud lifestyle of faith, directed
by God's will, centered on His Word, and engaged with the surrounding world. He is
excited to use the story of Christ's love and calling in his life to captivate and motivate
Christians into deeper faith and bolder action.
Living in Vancouver, B.C., Mike and his wife Danae are studying for their Masters
Degrees at Regent College. When they aren't buried in books or writing papers, their
hobbies include running, hiking, and backpacking. Their new book, Zealous Love: A
Practical Guide to Social Justice (Zondervan, 2010) helps readers respond to eight areas of global need in light of Christ's great love.
Mike also serves on the Board of Directors of World Vision US and the Advisory Board
of Kilns College.
About the Book:
After meals from garbage cans and dumpsters, night after night Mike and Sam found their beds under bridges and on the streets. They were forced to depend on the generosity and kindness of strangers as they panhandled to sustain their existence. 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. This is their story. Through Mike’s firsthand account, Under the Overpass provides important insight into the truths of the street and calls the younger generation of believers to take great risks of faith to bring Christ’s love to the neediest corners of the world.
Mike Yankowski answers God's call on his life and takes a daring road-less-traveled approach to experience and understand firsthand the realities of a life on the street. Through his personal experiences he gains a more thorough understanding of God's call to serve all people regardless of their social status or outward appearance. His own internal struggles and revealing of the church's shortcomings are a strong reminder where we lack application of what Jesus taught his disciples and us through his lessons in the Word.
Christians as-a-whole grossly lose focus of what is important in our lives by focusing on our own personal comforts and desires rather than attending to the real needs of those around us. Mike shares a couple of examples of real people that no matter how meager their possessions, they have the heart to serve their fellow homeless people in need. Hopelessness is an ever-present theme in many homeless people along with mental illnesses, addictions and physical challenges. Mike helps the reader see the homeless as people with names. This is something he refers to in the book that he gives as an example of how people are able to ignore those in need that they encounter by not even acting like they are people with names.
Mike and his partner on the street, Sam, while learning the hardships, simple joys and experiencing the relational loneliness of life on the street, find a way after their experiences to apply what they learn to be a better Christian witness with their own lives.
I did enjoy this personal account of life on the street and know Mike was holding back some of the even more brutal realities of his experience but I believe this book does a great job of challenging us to come back to the basics of serving God's people in need.
I want to thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers and the Blogging for Books program for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.