Who are the people in your neighborhood?
Does anybody remember that song from Sesame Street? 'Who are the people in your neighborhood...the people that you meet when you're walking down the street, the people that you meet each day.'
I had the opportunity today to meet the people in my neighborhood, or more precisely, in the BRDC neighborhood. (I like to think of that as my neighborhood.) A few of us were downtown working at the warehouse; sorting boxes and pulling groceries. I was looking at some paperwork when Barbara came in and told me there was a man there that needed to talk to me. I went outside to find two men waiting by the door. I introduced myself, shook their hands and asked how we could help them. The first gentleman told me that he had just gotten out of work-release (final phase of prison term) and was staying with a friend. He had a job lined up, and money that was coming to him, but for right now he was hungry. He said someone had told him that we were a church that helped people. He wondered if we would help him. I smiled and nodded. I asked his friend if he could use some groceries too. He nodded and said it would be appreciated. I asked the volunteers to make a couple of boxes for the men. Then we gathered together and I asked how we could pray for them.
The first guy asked for prayer that the job he has lined up would come through. When I asked the second man how we could pray for him he said, "I buried my wife on Sunday. She died on Mother's Day but it took us some time to get things together for the funeral. My daughter is in Baton Rouge General. She has sickle cell disease and cysts on both ovaries, but Praise God, she's being released today". It was all I could do not to weep. We joined hands and prayed for these precious souls. Before they left I ask them about salvation...not in so many words, but I had to know. Both assured me that they knew God. I told them that I never want to feed somebody's body and them let them go to hell. They smiled and nodded, thanking us again for the groceries. They both plan on coming to the Dream Center tomorrow to volunteer.
A short while later a man came up, pushing a woman in a wheelchair. They too had heard that we sometimes help people. The woman had just gotten out of the hospital and had prescriptions that needed to be filled. I referred her to some local agencies that help with that and asked if they needed food. They said they had been homeless but recently found a place to live. As the volunteers made another food box I told the woman about our support group on Friday mornings. She said she would come for sure. We all gathered together again and asked how we could pray for them. The woman needed healing in her leg and for things to get better. The man also needed healing, as last month he was shot by a security guard while on 'the boat'. We prayed for them and invited them back again tomorrow. Again, they both planned to come.
So, these are the people in my neighborhood: grieving widows, ex-prisoners, the lame and the walking wounded. I believe this is the exact neighborhood where Jesus would choose to live. I'm so grateful that HPC allows us to serve this community. All glory to God!