I once lit a homeless man’s ONLY sweater on fire. It’s. The. Sad. Truth.

Sometimes common sense evades me.  I don’t know where it hides.  Obviously not in my noggin.


Well, I am sure I have you wondering, “How, Brooke?  How could you possibly light a homeless man’s only sweater on fire?”

Let me tell you.  I did it.  It’s possible.  And here’s the story behind it…

Perhaps you did not know that my husband and I started a non-profit in Poland for homeless, poor, and people in general need.

Well, we did.  It all started with 3 cups of tea that my husband served to 3 homeless men at the main train station in Poznan.

Okay, Brooke—that’s all great.  But HOW did you light a homeless man’s sweater on fire?

I’m getting there.

Well, those 3 cups of tea took off!  Pretty awesomely, I might add.

And then Rich and I decided we could do more.

So we started inviting random homeless people to our flat (mieszkanie in Polish).


Here I am visiting under a roundabout in Poland…

Yeah.  Not sure that was our wisest decision—but it was definitely God-protected.

Random homeless started gracing our home.  We started making them dinner.  We had Bible studies together and general merriment.  Honestly, we bonded.  It was all good.


Trouble was…our stove.  Our stove dated to the WWII era.  A gas stove that I had to light with a match.

Now, that doesn’t actually sound too bad does it?

No.  Except you should know that I had to remove two bricks at the bottom of the stove, lift the lid, turn the gas, and chuck the match into what would become the burning inferno.

Brooke + Fire should NEVER be friends.  Never.

Sigh.  Again.

Anyhow—It was a typical homeless dinner night and one of the nice gentlemen was in the kitchen helping me prepare the meal.

I had not yet perfected this brick removing, lid lifting, gas turning, match-chucking skill.

And let’s just say that this VERY UNSUSPECTING homeless man did not realize my lack of gas turning-match throwing talent.  So as he bent down to help me remove the bricks and lift the lid, I did it.

I chucked the match.

Yes.  It just so happened that this was the ONE evening where I turned the gas on a little too strongly.

And I threw the match a little too accurately.

And a big explosion went “Poof!” up in our faces.

Well, our faces were spared but his sweater—his one piece of warmth—caught the wrath of my match.

And, yes.  It caught on fire.

In my kitchen stood a homeless man that I was trying to feed.  Burning.


So, I did what I could…I took a towel and beat that fire out of his sweater.

Spared his skin—got the sweater.  Got the sweater real good.

I’d like to say that I gave him one of Richard’s sweaters, but I honestly don’t remember.

I remember beating the fire out of him.

I remember the hole.

Believe it or not, he still stayed for dinner.  But did I dress the man in a new sweater of warmth?

I cannot recall.

I wonder if he remembers the crazy American lady that invited him up 4 flights of stairs into her flat for dinner, being lit on fire, and beat with a towel?

If he does, maybe he can recall if I ever replaced his sweater.

I think I’ll end with…I hope so!

Sometimes good intentions can DEFINITELY go up in flames, eh?


Friends, my hope for you is that your good intentions end with people being properly clothed!


Question of the DayHave your good intentions ever gone up in flames?