Monday, December 27, 2010
A few years ago, our friend "Big Mama" hit rock bottom and finally agreed to go to a transitional living program to get back on her feet and off of drugs and alcohol. Since then, she moved to a new program, graduated, and now lives with a couple who also went through the program and help to raise her two children.
I visit her and her kids almost every Wednesday to hang out and fit in a bible study when there's time. Every Thursday she comes out with us to the boulevard to spend time with us, attend The Refuge service, and see old friends. She worked security on the boulevard for years, so she knows everyone.
Last Thursday, we saw a friend "Jerry" who had recently lost his apartment and was back out on the street and struggling to keep his job. He'd been looking pretty down for several weeks and said he was ready to get into a program. We told him about the same program that Big Mama had gone to and he was very interested - even knowing there are many restrictions, that it's a Christian program, etc.
I brought him over to Big Mama so she could fill him in on even more details than I could. At a point I was able to step away as I had to attend to the laundry ministry ("White as Snow") that we do each month. When I came back, they'd arranged a ride for him from a friend of hers who could take him into the program.
When we all left that night, I was hopeful, but skeptical at the same time. People often say they want to go into a program to get off the streets, but then change their mind, get scared or just flake out. This last week when I talked to Big Mama again, she affirmed that Jerry had gone to the program and that she'd seen him at church that week!
Later that night, Krista (back from Hong Kong for a few weeks) came out and talked all night to a guy I'd never seen before, who we'll call "Chuck". He told her how he was lost, depressed, hopeless, had nothing to live for and sells and uses crack every day. He wasn't quite ready to give his life to Christ, or to get into a program, but Krista made sure to give him a few of the leader's contact info so he can get help when he's ready. As usual, Big Mama already knew him, and also made sure she had his info and was ready to help him get into the same program as soon as he was ready.
This is one of our big goals with Broken Hearts - to cultivate relationships and commission disciples to disciple others. I wish I had the time and ability to help everyone, but I don't. That's why we're called the body of Christ - we all have our part to play. Big Mama is still learning and growing in her faith and being discipled. But as she goes through experiences, she's able to help others. She did far more for Jerry than I could at that moment, and may again for Chuck.
It's a slow process, but these moments remind us that God IS working, changing lives, and expanding his Kingdom in the broken city of Hollywood.