|This last week, Kim and I ran some errands and one took us to a local pet store. As we approached the storefront, I noticed a young man crouched near the entrance and he was begging for support. I shook it off yet noted his youth and despair. As we shopped, the thought of the young man kept tugging at my spirit. We concluded our business and left the store.
As we walked back to the car the young man shouted, “Have a nice night”. I took another look back at him and announced to Kim that I thought God wanted me to talk to the youth. I went over and began an exchange with him. His name is John. He is 17 and left his home and was homeless. His story is tragic yet similar to many we serve.
John ran away from home and shared that his mom was having sex with men and doing drugs. This is a common theme for young men in the “system”. They run from trouble and usually to get in more trouble. John had been on the streets and with friends for 4 days. He left on Christmas eve. I asked him what he needed and he said food. I instructed him to wait for me to return and that we would help.
I got back to the car and shared the story with Kim. We drove home and I grabbed a back pack and stuffed it with jackets, a beanie, a scarf, and gloves. We also packed a bag of food and drinks. When then went back and found John wandering in the parking lot. He saw our car and came over.
I gave John everything and asked about his plans. We made sure he had a place to be safe that night. I asked him if he wanted our help finding a home. He said he wanted nothing to do with foster care and was waiting to turn eighteen so he could start his own life. We prayed with him and let him know that God has a plan for him … a plan for good and not evil. He gave us a hug and we said our goodbyes. We watched him walk off into the night.
I share this story with you to recount how God used the encounter to remind Kim and I about the “why” behind what we do. God has a purpose for each of us. We feel we are living ours in serving foster youth, the downtrodden and outcasts. In front of a pet store, we gave from our heart and it felt good. We attempt to live this at Covenant in a culture of lack and inferior resources. Yet, God still moves. How many more “Johns” are out there that are in need?
The encounter with John reminded me of a message I shared long ago about a woman in the Bible that wanted to bless someone. A man told her, “What do you have in the house?”. You see, giving and serving isn’t about dreams and wishes. No, it is about action. When you see a need, simply respond with what you have. Nothing more is required.
Friend, I share this with you as it was a great reminder to our family to give from what we have and not the desire or wish for what we do not have. My challenge to you is this: Give. Find an organization, a person or a group and give your best as you end 2015 and begin 2016. There are many “Johns” out there in need of your help.
The Lord bless you richly in 2016!
If you would like to support our work at Covenant send your financial gift to 1700 North Chester, Bakersfield, CA 93308 and we will credit the donation to 2015 if you send it soon with the date of 12/31/2015. If you desire to give online, go to www.covenantcs.net and click “donate” on the bottom of the page. You can also come into Covenant Coffee and give your check to our staff. If you don’t give to Covenant, find someone or something to bless as you end 2015!
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Thanks again for making a difference!
For King and Kingdom,