Monday, January 09, 2006

A shoulder to cry on

Roger, formerly one of our outreach friends from State Street, now our Day Center manager, shared a touching experience with me one morning in November. He volunteers with Pro Labore Dei serving a meal and passing out sandwiches on Fridays and Saturdays. He took a box of hats, gloves and scarves donated here for the homeless to pass on to those in need. He noticed that one of the young women who came up for a hot meal in Peace Park had no gloves, hat or scarf. He sorted through the box to find the ones he thought she would like the best and took them over and offered them to her.

She was amazed and questioned, "Are those really for me?"

Roger held them out and answered, "Yes, I thought you might like this color."

"But why would you give them to me?" she protested.

Roger answered, "Because Jesus loves you."

Tears spilled out of her eyes and Roger gave her a fatherly shoulder to cry on, his own eyes now filled with tears too. He came away with his sleeve all wet and his heart full.

How wonderful it is to see those Jesus has touched and set free, now touching others and beginning the process in their lives.

Turn of the compass

Usually this time of year I'm busy getting ready to head for India and our work there in the state of Andhra Pradesh. This year the Lord has other plans. He's keeping me here at home. I broke the news to Pastor Daniel in his phone call from India yesterday. He asked that I pray for the church, the women especially, since they were very disappointed and cried when I was not able to come in September-Oct. of 2005. We set the trip back to Jan. - Feb. of 2006 waiting on the Lord for direction.

December 15th was the deciding point and the lack of funds for plane fare was one of the clear indicators that the Lord was not sending me to India with a team in January. Other indicators that the Lord brought to mind were things that He had spoken to me much earlier while I was in India at this time last year. One I had forgotten, probably mostly because I had questioned whether I was hearing correctly, but now He brought to mind the words "You won't be going back for 2 years". The other was His direction that Pastor Daniel needs to visit us in the USA before we return to India again. This has not happened. So now we are tentatively planning and hoping that the Lord will provide for Pastor Daniel to visit us here in Sept. of 2006 (and maybe Esther too?).

Richard's Christmas

Richard was among a few of our Peace Park outreach friends (and now a volunteer) invited to my home for Christmas. He said he'd have to let me know, that he wanted to be wherever the Lord wanted him for Christmas dinner. I didn't see Richard on Christmas. He came to the office the next day all excited to tell me about his very special Christmas experience.

Richard is intelligent and caring. He served in the military as a Navy corpsman, about like what would be called a physician's assistant in the civilian world. He felt the Lord drawing him to volunteer at the VA Hospital on Christmas day as they are always short staffed then. They chose to put Richard on duty with a crotchety old man who spends his days complaining and swearing up a storm. The nurses have had their fill of his behavior. So Richard sat with the old man for a couple of hours listening to his complaining and swearing. Then there came a silence.

After a couple of minutes the old man turned to Richard and asked, "Richard, do you think this God thing is real?"

Richard answered, "I know God is real."

The old man thought for a minute and then said, "I haven't been to church since Henrietta died. I can't even remember how to say the Lord's prayer."

"Well, if you want to say the Lord's prayer you can just repeat it after me," Richard offered.

The old man ascented and they began. They never reached the end of the prayer, though, for the old man died before they reached the end. His last breath was spent in prayer -- all because Richard was right there where the Lord wanted him on Christmas day.