Calvary Chapel wraps homeless with love during cold spell


By Kyle Mooty

LPR Editor

As many as 17 people were in Calvary Chapel on North Main Street in Lockhart as temperatures dove below 20-degrees on three consecutive days earlier this week in hopes of getting warm as well as enjoying a warm meal.

Pastor Pete Arciniega Jr. said the homeless population, an ever-growing population in Caldwell County, had between eight and 15 volunteers helping at the church with food, clothing, toiletries, cots, blankets and first-aid kits. Arciniega also said prayers were provided for support.

“Generous people always step up with food, clothing, and donations,” Arciniega said.

The need for shelter during dangerously cold days perhaps put a spotlight on an issue Lockhart recently addressed in a public discussion regarding the homeless.

“They brought up statistics,” Arciniega said of the meeting. “It showed what I already knew. I asked them what was the number they thought were homeless in Lockhart. They threw out numbers like 20 and 17; one man said 50. I said, ‘No, try more like 100.’”

What concerned Arciniega mostly from the meeting were words used to describe the homeless such as “nuisance.”

“My problem with them saying that is these are people made in the image of God,” Arciniega said. “They went around the room. They said a lot of these people don’t want to be warmed, don’t want to be helped, don’t want to be fed, don’t want to be clothed. I’ve run into two people that refused to come into this place to stay. One of them you could just tell he’s been tormented. He’s been through a lot. We gave him a coat (Monday) and gave him a backpack. We said, ‘Look man, we have food.’ He couldn’t even look up at us. He was so ashamed of his situation. They are human beings. It’s the demons are just dominating their lives. Who knows what’s going through their head.”

This is the third year Calvary Chapel has provided a warming center. All of volunteers are people from the church.

Arciniega said the town’s drug problem, like many others, revolves around methamphetamine. However, he said, there are other issues, too.

“We have a meth problem in this town,” Arciniega said. “We have a witchcraft problem. We have satanism. They’re not dumb. They’re smart. They’re folks that probably went through some tough times. Maybe they tried it and now they can’t get away from it.

“It’s all tied in together… Satanism and drugs. They use it as a way to worship. These people are recruiting. We see demonic oppression. It’s all linked to drugs.”

Calvary Chapel is open 24 hours a day during the extreme cold conditions. Arciniega struggles to understand how so many raise so much for the local animals, yet don’t help their fellow man.

However, Arciniega said those who take advantage of the church’s offering must bring respect, too.

“I tell these folks if you’re gonna stay here we’ve got to keep this place clean,” he said. “I tell them you can come in here but you can’t come in here acting crazy. You can’t come and do drugs and then go back to your place. This is not a place where you can just come in and act any way you want. It’s come in, respect, and understand.”


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