It was Saturday evening, we were having camp meeting services at our church and I was rushing around trying to get ready and get the kids ready so we could make the service on time. Andrew had already left for church, because he was ushering and had to be there early. The doorbell rang and Megan went to the door. I was in Noah's room and saw through the blinds, a young black man standing on the porch with a small backpack on his back. I automatically assumed that he was selling something, and I was not interested and didn't have the time to deal with it. Megan came back into the hall where I had walked into, and said that he had asked if an adult was here. I told her to tell him that I wasn't interested in buying anything and we were in a rush. She didn't want to tell him that, so I stepped to the doorway to talk to him. He started out by saying that he was homeless and was trying to mow the yard a few houses down to make some money to get a room for the night and wanted to borrow our lawn mower if we would let him. Well, what would you think if this were to happen to you? What would you do? Well, I started telling him that my husband wasn't here and we were running late to meet him, and that I couldn't let him use it because we were leaving and wouldn't be there. But if my husband were home and we were going to be there, we would let him use it. In my mind, this is partly true. I would like to think that we would help him out. But then in the other part of your brain, you are thinking, I don't know this guy, what if he is telling a big tell...then I think, what would he do with the lawn mower? Anyway, I couldn't bring myself to say to him that I was trying to get ready for church...I was pricked in my heart...I was trying to get ready to go to church, to worship God...and what? And refuse to help someone in need. I was going to dress in my church going clothes, drive my air conditioned car to church to worship God, when this homeless person without a car or home, needs a place to stay and is trying to work to make some money to find a room, and I can't take the time to help him. Is that Christ-like? WWJD Do I honestly think that God will accept my offering of praise that I offer if I can't even help someone in need. But because of safety and the fact that we were leaving and Andrew wasn't home, I couldn't do it. I apologized to him and said that if my husband were there, we would, but I just couldn't under the circumstances. As I closed the door, he thanked me for opening the door for him. I begin to feel conviction...my heart was not just pricked, but pierced. As we begin to pull out of the drive way an hour or so later, a truck pulled out of the driveway several houses down, and I caught sight of the young man sitting in the back of the truck and he waved and smiled at me as he passed. I couldn't enjoy the service because I felt so terrible about what had happened. After service, I told Andrew all about it and how terrible I felt about it. I said a prayer and asked for forgiveness as I went to bed that night.
Sunday, around lunch time, the doorbell rang. Andrew went to the door and there he was. He had come back... So Andrew filled the lawn mower with gas and told him to go mow the woman's yard. After a while he went to check on him and took him a bottled water. Some time later he rang the door bell again and Andrew went out to talk to him. His name is Jewl, he was raised in foster homes in the area and at 18 was turned out into the world without any help. He had worked several jobs, but was down on his luck and was without a place to live and a job. He had a car, but it broke down on him and it was parked at someone house in North Little Rock. He told of going from house to house looking for work and sometimes having to ask for food. He said that he never asked for money, without working for it, and if someone offered, he usually told them to take him somewhere and buy him food instead. He wanted to be on the up and up and not have people think that he was just looking for money to by alcohol or drugs. As his story came out, my heart begin to ache. I couldn't help thinking how blessed we were, even though we are having struggles, we are extremely blessed. There is an old saying that I always repeat at times like this; "except for the grace of God, there go I"
So, after he finished mowing the yard for the neighbor, I fixed him a big bowl of lunch. And Andrew sat outside with him, while he ate and talked more to him. Since he didn't have a way to go, Andrew cleaned up one of our bicycles and gave it to him to use. He told him that as long as he needed it, he could have it. He also gave him a few items of clothing to wear. Monday morning Andrew picked him up and took him to work with him. He gave him a day labors job. He took him to sign up with a temp agency to hire him through so he could get paid daily instead of waiting a week or more for a paycheck. Here is the thing...he is staying in a motel, he said that so far, he hasn't had to sleep outside since he became homeless. But the cheapest room he can get cost $44.00 a night, and he is making $56.00 a day. And he won't be working on Sat or Sunday, so what does he do those nights? How does he ever get ahead, gain independence and become a part of society again? I am currently trying to find somewhere that he can get help. Somewhere he can stay for a week or so until he can get enough money saved up to find a place to live, get over the hump and start living again. But I haven't had any luck yet. What do you do? How do you help? What are the answers for someone in Jewl's situation? I just know that we must help him, we have to find some solution. He has a job, and is a good worker. But without some other help, he will remain in the same situation he is in now. Just working to have a room by the night. What if you were in his shoes? He is totally dependent on the kindness of strangers. Totally dependent on others help. And if we don't help him, who will? Is that not our mission on the earth, to help those in need. To feed the hungry, clothe the naked, help those in need...
If I had the money myself, I would go find a place for him to get an efficency apartment or a room for rent somewhere. A small apartment... but I don't have anything extra myself, we are struggling ourselves, trying to keep our heads above water right now. We are trying to sell our house, Lauren has just started working and we are still paying her car note, and insurance. And believe me, 18 year olds are expensive! So we are doing what we can...food, clothes, bike, job...
Since I don't have the extra money to provide him a place to stay until he can get some money in his pocket to pay his own way, I will have to do what I can to find some place, or some agency, or group that can help him. I am going to make some calls tomorrow to differnent organizations in the area that might know where to direct me. I can't let this one get by. He has no one else to help, no one else to fight for him, and right now he is unable to do it for himself. I just don't know where to start. I have never done this sort of thing before...I don't even know where to look for assistance, information or options for him.
If any of you have any suggestions, thoughts, or ideas, please feel free to share them with me. There is that part of me that says, well y'all have done plenty, don't worry about it, it isn't your problem...but then there is the part of me that says, WWJD? If I don't act, who will? If I don't have compassion, who will? If I don't do everything within my power to help this human being that cannot help himself, who will? If I truly want to be like Christ... I must reach out to people, and do everything within my power to help. I can't come before God with a clean heart, if I have turned away someone in need, if I haven't shown compassion...To feel compassion is an emotion without an action. To show compassion, is to act on the emotion. Jewl and others like him need people to SHOW; and action; a verb; compassion. This means to act to help change their plight. If I were in his shoes, how would I want someone to treat me, what would I want someone to do to help me? If I were living day to day, not knowing if I was going to have a place to lay my head each night, or food to eat each day, what would I want someone to do to help me?
I know that there are all kinds of people out there and you have to be very careful. You can never be too safe. But there are some people that are just down on their luck, life circumstances have not been favorable to them, and they just need a little help to get them back on track. I feel like Jewl is one of those. And he needs our help. So if you would, when you pray, say a little prayer for Jewl that God will bless him and help him out of this situation. And also pray for me that God will help me to remember that our mission here in this life is to share God's love with others and to bless others, in order for God to find my sacrafice acceptable before Him and not turn me away.