Friday Night on the Coast
Our week 'off' is coming to an end quickly. Sunday we expect a crew of 22 to come in, and then more in the next day or two. So the relief effort will take off again, and we look forward to offering a blessing to our community. Margo and Mary are back and ready to run the kitchen for us. The many people who have come to Central to offer service to the community have made a huge difference. Thank you for your prayers, your trips down, and your love for strangers. It was a serious surgery, but a full recovery was more than expected. Assurances had been given by the surgeon and doctors. A two hour operation became an eight hour operation. Now several days later it looks as if she is not going to make it. They are talking about putting her in a nursing home. Her prospects seem dim. She is in her mid-40s. Her husband is going out of his mind trying to understand ... figure out what to do ... comprehend how his world has been turned upside down. Living in a FEMA trailer park in a camper, there are very few reminders of life before the storm. But there are enough reminders of the wife he loves who now lies in a hospital bed that he can barely stand to stay in his camper. This is not someone to whom we can offer sheetrock or hang up some doors and help them make progress. This requires that hearts meet and that encouragements and prayers are offered. Pray for Johnny in his struggle, and for the comfort of his beautiful wife. As we head into the weekend I am mindful that in the past two weeks we have had two young people to perish in our community. One, a young lady in a horrific automobile accident. The other, a young man I met a few years ago. Joe was one of those kids who was street savvy, even though there was no street. He lived out in the county. He had a swagger and a confident presence that made all the teenage girls like him. I liked him because we had talks about keeping life on the right track and making good decisions. Joe was baptized and had a bright flame ...for a time. But the same old friends and the same old habits caught up to him. We would see Joe occasionally at church ... coming a few weeks here and there .... then disappearing for long periods of time. Some of those times he was in jail. Some of those times he was in a program for troubled teens. But every time I saw him he affirmed to me that he was going to turn his life around. In today's paper I read Joe's obituary. The word is that he died from a drug overdose. I don't know if that's true. I do wish Joe had one more chance to get his life turned over to Jesus. He was 17. Every day we are surrounded by the Joes and the Johnnys of our community. The hurting and the helpless ... the addicted and the left behind. They are often overlooked either because their pain is so great or because they seem not to care. Lord open our hearts to the people around us who need you so desperately. Remind us that our need for you is a desperate need.