This day was different.
I had an uneasy feeling...
It was a strange anxiousness I felt in my gut...
Really haven't had the feeling before...
But yet it had a familiar sense to it...
The day was Wednesday and my team of Men of Valor Men and I were going out to see if we could bring hope to some of the folks on the streets of Nashville - just like we do every Wed.
But Today I had "this feeling".
I didn't want to go to the same ole places - A camp in the south of town - a camp in the west of town - the park in down town... The feeling was steering me away from those easy targets for us.
When the men were loading up in the van they all asked "JR where are w e going today?".
I simply answered "I don't know" and I didn't know.
Earlier I had driven by a group of homeless men sitting near their south of town camp , so I swung the van by their hang out - handed out some Mac D's and a couple sleeping bags - but that only took 20 minutes. We still had an afternoon to work the streets.
I started driving down town and the questions still persisted - "Where are we going"?
I didn't know...
We drove in silence for a few miles.
My mind spinning trying to think of a different place to go today.
The uneasiness rumbled again...
Why - why or what was weighing on my soul.
Then it hit me.
Earlier that week I had helped a new couple on the streets get back to their camp.
So the thought hit me to take them to dinner with us.
Settled on that plan o f action I turned the van towards their camp.
The camp is a dump site inhabited by a few tents in the middle of the piles of trash dumped over the years. We parked and headed into the woods at the dump.
One man was outside his tent.
"Have you seen ?"- and I named the couple's names -
The man told me that they had moved out that same morning.
OK then why were we here? - I thought.
The uneasy feeling that I had had subsided once the decision was made to take the couple to dinner but now they were gone... so I focused my attention on the man in front of me.
"What's your story?" I asked.
He told me that he and his brother moved to the camp when their mother died in July.
They lost the house - got into Meth - and had been on the streets ever since.
I listened to his story and when he finished I asked the question my spiritual mentor Bill Howard taught me to ask - "So how does God fit into your story?"
That's it - that is all you have to ask - it is a beautiful door that opens to expose the face of Jesus.
The man named Chad, started crying.
He told me that he and his brother were praying the night before that somehow they would be able to get off the streets and off drugs.
I told him that I could help him.
He hugged me and continued in his tears to tell me that we were an answer to prayer.
I believed him - remember I was not going to go to the same places we visit every week...
I asked if he was hungry - and I knew the answer - he was.
We invited him to go eat with us. His brother was out pan handling so I suggested we get him a meal also. Chad whet to dinner with us and refused to eat his food as he wanted to eat with his brother Jeramy so he could discuss the options I had suggested to him with his brother.
Back at his camp Jeramy was waiting for him anxious no knowing where his brother had gone.
Chad told his brother that we could help them and asked that we come back the next day.
The next day I stopped by the camp to pick them up - but they were nowhere to be found. I stopped in a couple more times but they were not at the camp.
A week later I saw Jeramy and he told me that they had contacted a relative in Texas who was coming to pick them up and take them to be with their family.
Jeramy with clear eyes thanked us for the hope were were able to offer them and assured us that they were going to be OK.
What was this all about?
There was no real effort we extended these brothers.
We bought a few burgers and fries...
We didn't enroll them in a Re-hab program...
Didn't do much at all.
I firmly believe that a force greater the me - kept me uneasy all day to direct me directly to Chad and Jeramy with one purpose.
To offer HOPE.
Yes don't wig out -
I believe that force was the Creator of the Universe God Himself who led us down that road - behind a vacant warehouse in a dump next to the rail road tracks to meet Jeramy and Chad.
What's more - I believe that they both needed someone to tell them that there was hope and that the God they prayed to was real and in the business of answering prayer.
We were able to do just that.
Sometimes that is all we need to do.
Offer HOPE to someone to day - it may change their life.
Activists for homeless - inmates and the poor of this world.