Shannon Warren was surprised to look at his phone to see his friend and employee Wayne Moore calling late at night.
“Brandi and I got tired of seeing people hurting in the street and only praying for them,” he said.
Moore had asked if the Warrens, who started Extreme Entryway Stone and Brick Works in 2001, had any work. Warren gave Wayne small jobs at first, then more and more work as it came up, eventually hiring him fulltime.
“You never know what a person’s like,” he said. “People think, ‘Oh, he’s homeless, he must be lazy.’ We don’t want to label people like that. Wayne’s one of the hardest worker’s I’ve ever had.”
So when a quarrelling couple in Moore’s tent village started lighting each other’s clothes on fire, Moore was ready to leave, he said, and he called the Warrens for help.
Warren had some reservations, but he and his wife decided to take Moore into their home.
“I don’t recommend it for everybody, but God just put it on my heart to go with it,” Warren said.
Moore was surprised when Warren offered him a place to stay in their home, and a little apprehensive. He had been homeless for two years — moved from shelter to shelter across East Texas, struggled with a meth addiction, panhandled occasionally to buy food.
“When they first took me in, I was scared to adjust to that lifestyle,” he said. “But it’s nice now.”
Warren’s 12-year-old son gave up his bedroom, taking the couch so Moore could sleep in a bed, Warren said.
The Warrens were working with Mission Tyler, a faith-based nonprofit, to raise funds for a small, transportable house for Moore that they planned to build on their property. On Friday, Warren learned of a woman who was selling campers, and Moore will move into one on Saturday. Church Under a Bridge donated the funds to purchase the camper, Warren said.
Moore was recently baptized at Church Under a Bridge.
“I was tired of being homeless,” he said. “The first step is to give your life to God.”
Church Under a Bridge is a congregation that meets underneath an overpass in North Tyler for those who might not be comfortable in a traditional church building.
“The cool thing to me is that this is cooperation and unity at its best,” Travis White, executive director of Mission Tyler, said. “Wayne’s coming and serving at Church Under a Bridge now. None of this would have happened without any one of those people. Now Wayne has not just a home, but now an eternal home.”
For the Warrens, it’s just a small way they can exercise their faith’s command to help those who are less fortunate. They hope that business will pick up so they can help more.
“We want to get these guys working so they can help themselves,” Mrs. Warren said in an email. “It’s hard because so many need help. One man who was living in his car needs a $75 part, another one needs a bus ticket to Arlington so he can take care of a ticket so he can get an ID. So many are willing to work yet can’t find anything.”
The family has been impacted by Moore as well.
“It’s not just a Band-Aid, like, ‘Here’s some socks,’” Warren said. … “We’re trying to show him that he’s human and deserves as much as anyone else. God’s blessed us and we want to pass it on … Wayne is a blessing to our family. It’s a win-win for me, and it lets him see that I’ve got scars too.”