Filling in the cracks

Today I visited with several homeless people. I have been on the lookout for a couple named Carlos and Sunshine.  In the process I met Joey.  Joey is an amputee in a wheelchair.  He has a colostomy; wears a urine bag; is very dirty and stinks.

The type of person you would imagine Jesus ministering to.  Joey says he is drug and alcohol free as do all the homeless people I have met.  As soon as one homeless person leaves everyone that is left tells me, “Don’t believe that person.  They’re doing crack cocaine.”  I’m so naive. I want to believe that they all tell the truth.

I visited with Joey and learned that he hasn’t had a clean colostomy or urine bag in quite a while.  I think I could have deduced that on my own from the smell.  I decided crack addict or not, someone needed to help this guy.  I came up with at least ten excuses why it shouldn’t be me, but in my heart I knew I was that someone.  I went off to the local medical supply store (literally gagging as I drove thinking about the stench); bought colostomy bags and a urine bag that straps to the leg.  Next stop Salvation Army and then the grocery store.  I arrived the hero (at least in my own mind. God soon humbled me.) with clean clothes, medical supplies, soap, water, toothbrush, toothpaste and nail clippers.

“Joey, here’s the stuff you need.  (in my nicest tone)  I brought you three gallons of  water from the store so you can clean up.  I think your urine bag is leaking.”

Joey – “I know man.  Sometimes the wind blows just right and I catch a whiff of myself and it’s bad.”

“Just promise me you’ll clean up.  I kept the receipts so that you can’t return this stuff to the store for money.  Use it okay.”

Joey – “Oh man, I will.  Hey Terrell.”

“Yeah Joey.”

Joey – “I’m really hungry.  Stay and have dinner with me over at the McDonalds.”

“Are you offering to buy or do you need me to.”

Joey – “Dude, I only have a couple of bucks.  I was hoping you could get me something to eat.  I’m really hungry.”

“Okay man, let me see what I can do.”

Ten minutes later, I’m back with a bag of ten tacos and suddenly I’m feeding four homeless men and hearing their stories (I’ll share about Pat later).

I finally have to go to meet my own family.  I’m late for dinner and they’re (my family) eating without me.  I pray with the guys; hand Joey a pocket gospel, and pull away in my $30,000 company car.  The hot tears began to stream down my face.

Lord, I know you’re bigger than Joey’s needs.  How can I show him You in all of your glory?  All he wants is the next fix of crack and all I want is for him to know You can fix the “Crack.”  The big one that he is trying to fill with drugs.  The one only You can fill with You.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.


19 Responses to “Filling in the cracks”

  1. May 20, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    “How can I show Him you in all of your glory.”

    You just did…Praise God!

  2. May 21, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Thanks for sharing this story. Looking forward to hearing more about what God does with you as you continue to surrender. God Bless

  3. May 31, 2010 at 5:57 am

    I’m so glad Kristen sent us over here. Each time I hear examples like these it prepares me to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

  4. May 31, 2010 at 6:06 am

    What an inspiration! Thank you for sharing.

  5. May 31, 2010 at 6:40 am

    “Well done, Good and Faithful Servant!”

  6. May 31, 2010 at 8:18 am

    May Joey find the Lord and may the Lord continue to bless the world with your loving heart x

  7. May 31, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Keep doing what you’re doing. My father in law is a man like you. He has delivered food under the same bridge every week for a long time. It is so neat to see what a blessing he has been and with no big show, no big ministry credit to his name. Some of them will get out of that life and some won’t even come down from their makeshift shelter because they’re too high or too ashamed but send their friends to bring them back a meal. Just keep spreading the love and let God do the rest. He loves them so much more than we can.

  8. May 31, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    God bless you. You are fulfilling God’s word 🙂

  9. May 31, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Praying for these men who are faceless to me…and grateful that you are sharing their need and doing what you can to meet their needs. You are truly acting as the hands and feet of Jesus to them. And, I am humbled by your words and your actions as I sit in my comfy chair inside my air conditioned home, typing on the laptop perched comfortably on my lap. Thank you for what you are doing…and for sharing a piece of that here.

    Praying for you as you continue to serve the Lord in this amazing way. I agree with your wife. And, your heart is shining beautifully through these acts of kindness and generosity.

    God Bless You,
    Kelly Gerken
    Sufficient Grace Ministries

  10. May 31, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I loved reading this. I have a friend who is a homeschooling mom and wanted her children to see how blessed they were. She made some mini bread loaves and took them down to an area wher ethe homeless congregate. Her children just wanted to help. They talked for a bit… and then did a backpack campaign in their homeschooling co-op. They took backpacks filled with toiletries, snacks and bibles to these men and women and continue to do so. I think this is the greatest way to show God’s love… you’re a living example. I thank God for people like you that work His ministry without any showmanship.. just a pure heart. God bless you!

  11. May 31, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    I’m so glad your wife sent us here. What a beautiful act on your part! This is how we are called to live every single day, but it’s so hard. You set a wonderful example for your children, and for all of us. Thank you.

  12. 12 Krista
    May 31, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    God bless you and may this be just the inspiration I need to step out of my comfort zone and be more like Jesus.

    In christian fellowship,

  13. May 31, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Beautiful – thank you for sharing & being an encouragement to the hurting & broken. I feel like Joey sometimes – addicted to my own lifestyle, catching a whiff of my own stench of sin, tasting the bitter words I let slip or confronted with my own apathy. We’re all dirty – we’re all just dealing with different kinds of dirt. Bless you for reaching out.

  14. May 31, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    God bless you for helping Joey. I hope if given the chance I can (and will) do the same.

  15. 15 JD
    May 31, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    That’s the kind of Jesus we serve… thank you for being Jesus with skin on to these precious people, you may be the only true example of Christianity they ever witness.

    Following in His footsteps alongside of you…

  16. June 1, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Wow… God using a real person in a real way just takes my breath away every time. Bless you on the journey.

  17. June 1, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I’m not a religious person but I read Kristen’s blog because I love the way she tells stories. And now, I love the way you tell stories. What you did for Joey, most people would have never bothered. You are truly a good person.

  18. June 1, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I just wanted to encourage you. My younger brother Luke, 23 years old, started to reach out to the homeless in his community. I have numerous stories I could tell you! He simply brings them food, necessities, and just spends time with them talking and playing cards. He never wanted it to be about “religion” or church. He purposely made a point to NOT mention God. I know, crazy. BUT, they KNEW he was a Christian by his LOVE. Eventually they would ask for prayer and if THEY could pray.

    Here’s the encouraging part. Just recently one of the guys pulled my brother aside during one of his visits. He told him that something was happening in his life. He couldn’t explain it but he wanted a change. He was no longer happy just sitting in the woods being homeless (he use to say he was fine with that). He said another very strange thing was happening. His desire for alcohol was going away! He will be the first to tell you that he is an alcoholic, that he gets the shakes when he goes too long without a drink. But that day he only had TWO drinks!!!
    Don’t underestimate the power of God. We are called to simply love. Show God’s tangible love. He WILL show up!!!
    Thank you for being God’s hands and feet

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