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.
"I Am Disgusting."
Mike Yankoski's life went from upper-middle class plush to scum-of-the-earth repulsive overnight. By his own choice. From the United States capital to San Diego, Mike and his traveling companion, Sam, journeyed as homeless men for five months. Not for a project or even in response to a dare. He needed to know if his faith in God was real--if he could actually be the Christian he said he was apart from the comforts he'd always known.
So with only a bag on his back, a guitar in his hand, and Sam by his side, he set out. And like any traveler in a foreign land, he returned a different man. Mike's unusual, captivating, and challenging story will rock your own world...perhaps even change your life.
Pull out quote/sidebar/starburst:
"Thoreau said, 'Simplify, simplify, simplify!,' but at that moment I couldn't help wondering if I had gone too far."
Endorsements: Please leave room for one more.
"Mike Yankoski hangs out with alcoholics and drug addicts. He panhandles for bus fare and eats from dumpsters. Yes, he has guts. But he also has faith."
Dean R. Hirsch
President, World Vision
"Everyone with a beating heart will benefit from reading this book."
Bestselling author of Hope Rising
Story Behind the Book
"Faith is more than just an emphatic 'Amen' at the end of the sermon on Sunday morning. Frustrated with the feeling of having strong convictions and yet not being able to do anything about them, I began to understand Paul's promise of contentment in Christ 'whether with everything or with nothing.' What would it look like to give up the comfortable life and live homeless? Is God enough to sustain me? Is He trustworthy? Is He worth staking my life on? What happens if I die? Will I even survive? Such questions rang loudly in my mind as we decided to lay down everything in a full embrace of the homeless life. Some experiences were uncomfortable, some shocking, some disturbing, some hilarious, and still others frustrating, but five months of life on the streets has left us, our faith, and our lives forever changed."
Yankoski's parents were right: It was crazy to live as a homeless person in six American cities for five months; fortunately, this crazy idea makes for quite a story. Yankoski, a Christian college student, challenges the reader to learn about faith, identify with the poor and find "more forgotten, ruined, beautiful people than we ever imagined existed, and more reason to hope in their redemption." The journey begins at a Denver rescue mission and ends on a California beach. Along the way, Yankoski and a friend learn the perils of poor hygiene and the secrets of panhandling. They meet unfortunates like Andrew, who squanders his musical talent to feed his drug habit, and hustlers like Jake, who gives the pair tips about how to look and sound more pitiful to get more money. Yankoski tends to moralize: "If we respond to others based on their outward appearance, haven't we entirely missed the point of the Gospel?" Still, the book features fine writing ("I awoke, rolled over and saw beads of sweat already forming on my arms. Saturday, early morning, Phoenix") and vivid stories, authentically revealing an underworld of need. (Apr.)
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March 30, 2005
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