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Under the Overpass

Under the Overpass

Written by Mike Yankoski

Narrated by Mike Yankoski


Under the Overpass

Written by Mike Yankoski

Narrated by Mike Yankoski

ratings:
4.5/5 (29 ratings)
Length:
4 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Apr 15, 2005
ISBN:
9781608144198
Format:
Audiobook

Description

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 audio 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.
Publisher:
Released:
Apr 15, 2005
ISBN:
9781608144198
Format:
Audiobook


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What people think about Under the Overpass

4.3
29 ratings / 21 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    This is a book every Christian and especially those in Church leadership should read. What hearts were displayed in It! Not just the authors but so many others.
  • (5/5)
    I read this book shortly after it was released. I enjoyed it and wanted to read it again. I need to buy a copy for my library
  • (5/5)
    Great book about a genuine experience with the love of God.
  • (3/5)
    Finished this book wondering if I might have gotten more out of this book then the author??

    Ok, maybe that's being slightly self-righteous, but this book was pretty much a warm feeling-cold feeling (love and hate being too strong of terms) experience for me, with Mike Yankoski = cold feeling and idea = warm feeling; that's probably a bit too harsh too.

    I recognize that humans are, even when they have the best of intentions, flawed, so since Yankoski wasn't inspired to write the next book of the Bible, I should probably cut him some slack, but then I have to think "where is all the money from this book going?" to another middle class guy who just happens to notice homeless people? He's using his experience with homeless people to make money?

    Maybe he just needed some time to let the whole experience ferment a little more, but the end of the book didn't show him very inspired. Did he learn anything, except maybe that he doesn't want to end up homeless? It's not that I want to pigeon-hole him as "the homeless guy", but he wrote a book on the subject, thus claiming some kind of authority on the subject; so shouldn't he be doing something?
  • (3/5)
    The idea behind this book is noble, but from my work with the homeless I don't think it is realistic. Yes, perhaps the way they were treated sometimes, but unless the authors can experience mental illness, addiction, abuse and other issues, they will never really be able to know. However, kudos to them for making much more of an effort than most people. Anything that brings positive awareness to the homeless and advocates for change is good.
  • (4/5)
    I really liked this book. It was fast paced, and I enjoyed the structure of the book. Its chapters were set up by which city they stayed in each month. I liked reading all the new insights he learned along the way. It gives you a new perspective on street life and those who live there. It helps you appreciate a lot of things we often dont think of.
  • (4/5)
    Review of Under the Overpass by Mike ZankowskiI was hesitant when I began this book, fearing that it would simply be another rant. I was pleasantly surprised. It is a heart felt work stemming from a heart felt quest. I think what I find particularly endearing is the way in which the author honestly and openly shares the story. It would be easy for someone in his situation to be overly pious in a “holier than thou” sort of way. Instead, he is quite open about his own failings during his weeks on the street. I like the way he admits his naiveté at the beginning as well as his frustrations with the very people whose lives he was sharing. In the end you know that he and his compatriot could take off that life in the same way that they would shed themselves of their street rags. The story, however, is something which they can never shed. Nor will you, the reader be able to leave it behind. I recommend this book and look forward to using it in the future with young adults.
  • (4/5)
    I pulled this book off the shelf while visiting my brother-in-law and was surprised that it kept me turning the pages. The premise is simple: a guy decides to see what it is really like to be homeless. He heads for the streets for 5 months with nothing but the clothes on his back. For 200+ pages he keeps you interested with his story of survival via panhandling, eating out of garbage cans, and the few (and far between) kindnesses shown by strangers. I'm really glad I read this book. I thought I was sensitive to the homeless population, but I will never look at a person at the side of the road the same way again. Don't worry-- I won't be giving out money to drug addicts. (He advises against monetary donations.) But I'll offer food and --best of all--affirm human dignity by eye contact and tone-of-voice.
  • (4/5)
    “Under the Overpass” is the story of two people who deliberately challenged themselves to enter a time of extreme suffering, and seeing how their beliefs--and especially actions--were affected by that experience. The author (and his cohort) honestly describe what life is like for people who live on the streets, as they share and/or witness the special challenges of people living with almost nothing. The author’s voice is clear and engaging, and the narrative develops smoothly, with a nice balance of sympathy, sadness, joy and humor.The story is a compelling one, even outside the author’s focus on his particular Christian faith; he and his friend are simply people willing to subject their compassion, and the resilience of their beliefs, to an unusually extreme test. Their example, and the experiences they describe, are useful for anyone interested in expanding their understanding of human suffering in our supposed land of opportunity. File it with “Nickle and Dimed,” which is a more famous documentation of someone who went to great lengths to experience the world of the powerless.
  • (4/5)
    Under the Overpass is a powerful book that speaks to the very real homeless problem in America. With honesty and courage, the author shines a powerful light on the real life of the poorest among us. In a culture where suffering is shut away and pain is minimized at all cost, this type of book is a needed corrective. Bracing and gripping, Under the Overpass gives readers a glimpse into a world that is so near yet so foreign.
  • (5/5)
    Read Under the Overpass and you will look differently at the homeless problem in America and your heart and soul will forever be changed.Mike Yankoski did more than just wonder. By his own choice, Mike’s life went from upper-middle class plush to scum-of-the-earth repulsive overnight. With only a backpack, a sleeping bag and a guitar, Mike and his traveling companion, Sam, set out to experience life on the streets in six different cities—from Washington D.C. to San Diego— and they put themselves to the test.Mike and Sam’s story is gritty, challenging, and utterly captivating. What you encounter in these pages will radically alter how you see your world—and may even change your life.Find out more about Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski and download a sample chapter of the 5th Anniversary Edition at WaterBrook Multnomah PublishingI was lucky enough to review a copy of this book and jumped at the chance. I have always had interest in the homeless. I have many questions that just hang over my head that I wanted answers too. How do people become homeless? Why and how could they live on the street year after year? Why does the church that teaches up to be good Christians and treat others with only love and compassion not help these people? Reading this book has filled this need plus so much more and it has truly been a life changing book for me. After reading Under the Overpass I have now learned what the homeless really needs most and it is not food and shelter. Read the book and find out.Mike gave up everything he had going at the moment in his life when God called him. Even though his family did not approve he knew this was his calling and something he needed to do. Mike gave up every comfort he knew and found Sam who did the same and they placed themselves in danger and never knew when their next meal would be. They lived among those who walk our streets every day for six months. How many of us would do this? Would you give up your comfortable lifestyle to do this? You might say well I have worked for what I have. Homeless people don't work or care to work. There are so many excuses you could use to not help those who need it most. One of the poorest excuses is I pray for the homeless or I will pray for them. Be still and listen is God calling you to do something for the homeless.I found Over the Underpass to be moving, informative and an eye opening experience and a book for the young and old alike. Since reading Over the Underpass I have chosen to give my time and myself to make a homeless persons life a little brighter.
  • (3/5)
    It is appropriate that Francis Chan wrote the foreword to this book. It is a challenging book in the vein of Chan's own [Crazy Love]. As Mike experiences his self-imposed homelessness, he begins to live out his Christianity in a new, perhaps more authentic, way. The book raises some interesting questions about how Christians interact, view, and witness to the homeless, poor, addicted, and mentally ill. Are we living authentic Christian lives in our comfortable homes with three meals a day if we ignore those desperately in need? It is an engaging and thought provoking book.
  • (5/5)
    This is a great story of challenging the comfortable American lifestyle and literally walking in the shoes of the homeless. Mike's story is full of faith, truth, and conviction. Not only is his story incredible, he doesn't stop there. He went out, along with his friend Sam, and learned what it means to be homeless. Instead of simply internalizing all he had learned, he did something about it and has devoted his life to making sure that people get help. This is something us Christians should learn to do, not everything is about reflection and personal growth. How is it that we can call ourselves followers of Christ without doing anything?
  • (5/5)
    In Under the Overpass Mike Yankoski gives a first-person account of the experience of living homeless in America. While an undergraduate at a Christian college Yankoski felt called to test the promises of God’s Word, particularly that God could, and would, sustain him in any and every circumstance. After much prayer and discussion with family and friends he decided to embark on an intentional journey as a homeless person. He did service work in a homeless shelter, received some coaching from people working in street ministry and recruited a traveling companion, Sam Purvis. And then they went on to the streets.The book chronicles their journey of five months, taking them through five cities – Denver, Washington, D.C., Portland, Phoenix and San Diego. Outside of the order in which they traveled to the cities his account is not so much chronological as it is told in the manner short accounts of the people and experiences in each location. He describes their gradual adjustment to life on the street, where they gradually became able to easily do things that were incomprehensible at the beginning, such as retrieving food from dumpsters. Similarly, they learn to endure personal hygiene and sleeping conditions that give them, and us as the readers, a completely different lens through which to consider those people that we can so easily pass by as we walk our streets.Ultimately, this book is a journey of faith. Yankoski is a Christian and his identity as such is first-and-foremost in the journey. He shares story after story where he experienced both rejection and compassion from those who call themselves Christians and also from people whose faith, if any, we do not know. Similarly, as he makes relationships with others on the street he does so as a Christian, as one who believes that being a disciple means to take seriously the teaching of the Bible and to live as a person who can give God’s compassion and love to others through the witness of life. He is a homeless man struggling on the streets but still able and willing to share what little he has because he believes this is the call of the Gospel on his life. And in doing so, he come to learn through his experience that God’s Word and the promises contained in it are completely true. And for those of us who read this account he invites us to really consider the profound ways that God may be calling us to serve him, and to step out in faith to advance the kingdom of God one step at a time. Soli Deo gloria.
  • (4/5)
    Mike Yankoski and his friend Sam decided to take time off from college to live on the streets like a homeless person in order to learn some of the problems the homeless face. They chose 6 different cities across America to stay for 3 weeks to a month. The stories of things they encountered on the streets were very convicting and help middle class America realize that they too can help the homeless. Stories of mental illness, hunger, filth, thirst, drug addiction, and an unwelcome attitude by churches and Christians in general are heart-rending. While they didn't get the full experience of homelessness because they could always leave, they help us to understand some of the challenges facing ministries dealing with problems in the inner city--and give a battle cry for middle class Christianity to reach out.
  • (4/5)
    And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me (Matthew 25:40).They are part of the urban landscape, often in our midst, and yet they are invisible to us-- or so we would like them to be. They are the homeless, and it is always easier to blame those involved or to ignore them than to do anything else.Mike Yankoski, however, was convicted to go out and try to understand what it was like to experience homelessness in America. Thus, he and a companion spent five months in six major metropolitan areas (Denver, Washington DC, Portland, San Francisco, Phoenix, and San Diego), living on the streets and by panhandling. His story is chronicled in Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America, in a new five-year anniversary edition with a foreword, an interview of the author, and his further reflections.The story is very compelling. All kinds of characters are met. Many are consistent with the stereotypes-- drug users, mentally ill, but also a lot of people just down on their luck. There is violence but also attempts to take care of one another. And then there is the reaction of the rest of America-- some stories of blessing, but a lot more of contempt and derision.The author does well at balancing love, compassion, and mercy for the homeless with the realities of the sins that led many of them to their present condition. He forces Christians to get uncomfortable about the types of "growing pains" that they tolerate among fellow Christians (e.g. sanctimony, arrogance, etc.) with those they do not tolerate (e.g. drug use, etc.), not in an attempt to justify any sin, but to show just how far from Jesus' attitudes which too many believers have strayed. He also suggests many ways that believers can be of service and can help homeless people.A very telling aspect of homelessness is the author's description of loneliness-- sure, one might be among other homeless people, but the exclusion from the rest of society is quite difficult for many. Sometimes the best thing that can be offered is to sit down and just have a conversation with the homeless. It doesn't always have to be just about food.The book is most certainly worth consideration, as are the homeless. We would all do well to learn how to show compassion on those in need while being wise as serpents, and harmless as doves!*-- book received as part of an early review program
  • (5/5)
    A beautiful book describing two young, Christian men that want to explore the homeless condition in America up close and personal. These guys not only take their faith seriously but live it out. Every pastor should read this especially those that oppose social justice. These guys live out Jesus.Along their journey you'll have their answer to the question should I give money to panhandlers? You'll also hear their critique for churches that don't respond to Jesus' question 'where were you when I was hungry?'My favorite quote: "Love can't cover wrongs if we let frustration keep us apart." This was Mike's response when they decided to revisit a church that kicked them out but responded with grace the second time around.
  • (4/5)
    The journey that Mike and Sam take through the streets of several US cities, in a bid to experience homelessness and to gain a better understanding of Christ's place in their lives, is both eye opening and convicting. Too often I recognize my own behaviours in the actions of the passersby and the unwelcoming church members, rather than in those of those who truly express Christ through their actions. With a strong basis in Biblical references, "Under the Overpass" pushes the reader to stretch beyond their comfort zone and reach out to those broken souls who populate the streets of every city in North America. If you are looking for a book that will challenge you to become a more open and action oriented Christian, as we are called to do, this may be the one for you. The lessons learned by Mike and Sam are clearly expressed in such a way that you too will hear the call to act.
  • (4/5)
    Firstly, this book is about a Christian "experiment": two Christian young men head out to live on the streets as homeless people in order to... (well, not sure what the overall point was - they don't try to change anyone and afterwards they are not shown "ministering" with this new knowledge). So... it would be kinda of pointless to complain that this book has a Christian tone to it - i.e. each section ends with a Bible verse.It's somewhat enlightening to read about their experiences as homeless people, but you have to keep in mind that the authors "sanitized" the experience (they admit they've left out the foul language) and that neither of these two men suffer from the "real" reason why people are homeless: addiction and mental illness. So how "true" is an experience if you only live a portion of the reality?The authors tried to present the story as an insight into the hypocrisy of many people/religious groups: individual Christians (not that they met many of them on their journey) would/might help them, but often when they turned to a church, they were treated as less than deserving, and yet (according to the authors) the churches are supposed to welcome such homeless people. Of course, we have to keep in mind that while these 2 men were pretending to be homeless, they do not represent the addict or the mentally ill - people who would not be able to be helped by these churches - and we are never told of any churches' previous experiences with "helping" a truly homeless person.Over all, it is an interesting look at homelessness even though the purpose/usefulness of such an investigation remains unclear.
  • (3/5)
    I read this book because someone suggested it as a good source of information on homelessness in the US. It is less that than a memoir of a religious experiment. Mike, a Christian college student in theological studies, decides to spend five months homeless as a part of a spiritual quest. He prepares for some time, gathering a group of senior advisers to help him plot his course, and connecting with another young Christian, Sam, who chooses to take the foray with him. At first, the naiveté of their decision and the references to the will of God and Christ’s call put me off; I am not comfortable with this sort of clubby, fundamentalist Christianity. However, as Mike grows and changes, I do, too. His willingness to reach out to others who are suffering, to care for them even though they do not accept his beliefs, and to let the experience teach him, speaks well for the quality of his faith. His honesty in the face of disappointment with his own Christian brothers, who are often selfish and dismissive of those who suffer on the streets, as well as his commitment to his mission on the darker days of a difficult journey, are worthy of respect, and by the end he has won mine.
  • (3/5)
    This is a compelling book however I was a bit disappointed to see the heavy religious ties throughout. Interesting to read about how someone would go to this extent to ultimately find themselves and find their faith. I wouldn't recommend it for in school reading because of course you would not want to offend any of your students of other religious backgrounds.