Out Here Hope Remains

There is hope for the helpless ... Cry Out To Jesus. -- Third Day

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Never Homeless

Most often, I do not go to the dining hall during meal time. We usually have so many mouths to feed, that I feel the cooks shouldn't have to feed me also. But I do recognize that by not going up there I am missing out on some great fellowship time with those who have come to help us out. I talked with David Kilbern some today about the struggle to do both my ministry work and to be available to serve in the hurricane relief effort as well. So today I went to the dining hall at lunch time and offered to help serve lunch. I wasn't needed for that, so I got a cup of coffee and visited with John Loper and Tex Nolan, and ended up having some discussion with Shane Ellett - who had just arrived. I'm glad I went, and I'll try to get up there more often. One of the things that David and I have observed is that we never know where God is working in all of this effort. He shows up in the oddest ways ... connections are made when there seem to be no connections. Things happen that we could never have predicted! The story I'm about to tell you is one of those. The names have been changed because this story isn't over, and there are parts of it I really cannot divulge here. And the truth is there is much more to this story that I do not even know. A week ago I was hearing about a lady in really bad shape, and her son was with her. We had allowed them to spend a few nights at our church building. Because of various circumstances, it was a couple of days before I set my eyes on her. I've known Sharon for a long time. She has come to our building for years to pick up a bag of groceries. I have enjoyed talking to her and consider her a friend. But I didn't know she had a son. Sam is 19 but he looks 14. Sharon was really in bad shape. She has always had a respiratory problem, but now it was much worse. She had been evicted, she wasn't taking the medicine she needed, and she wasn't herself. I spent some time talking to her and praying with her, but it became obvious that she needed more help than we could offer. Sam had been labeled as mentally disabled when he was just a child. He was not raised by Sharon, but by his grandparents and an aunt. Not too long ago his grandparents passed away and he was sent to a school in North Mississippi. Sharon was recently hospitalized and he came to the Coast to care for her. As it became more obvious that Sharon would have to be placed in the care of a facility, there was much concern for Sam. In discussions with him we did not find a mentally disabled young man at all. He is even conversant in calculus. I never had a class in calculus! He is a hard worker, and has worked shoulder to shoulder with the teenagers who came in to do work this week. He started off very quiet and sober, but now has a big smile on his face. And Sam caught the attention of one of the famlies here from Ohio. The heart of a Christian is a wondrous thing. This family began to inquire what would happen to Sam. If his mother is in a care facility, what would happen to him? A man stood before me today and asked, "what if Sam could come live with us?" This is not just wishful thinking, it was the heart of a servant wide open to the will of God. After some discussion we recognized that his school situation was a good one, and would last the next seven months. The Christian man said, "On breaks you can come stay with us, when school is over you can come live with us. We'll help you get going in a Christian college if that is what you want. As long as we live, you will never be homeless." Never be homeless... I can only guess that these words were powerfully beautiful in Sam's ears. An Ohio family comes to the Coast to rebuild a home and in addition offers a home to someone they just met. Again I have to assert that we have met the grandest people the Family of God has to offer - those who would give up their time and money and energy to help people they've never met. In case you didn't know, God has whispered the same message in your ears. As long as I live, you will never be homeless. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting