You Never Know


While out on Cold Weather Response I encountered someone different. He was well dressed and clean-shaven, probably about 22 or so, and wearing a thick heavy coat to protect himself from the cutting wind that was chilling me to the bone.  He came up and just stood near the truck. He watched expectantly but stood frozen. I did my standard greeting designed not to put off anyone in need but shy or reluctant: "I've got hats, coats, sweaters, blankets, snacks and would love to share them if it would help." He said, "No… I don't need anything." But he continued to stand right there. I served others and just waited to see what would happen next.

I asked him again, "Would you at least like a cup of hot chocolate?" He said, "OK." Then he proceeded to tell me his story…

"I have been out here taking advantage of street kids for two years. And I've seen you all that time. I never take from you because I'm a student and don't need it." He paused and tears welled up in his eyes. He fought them back and continued.

"I've been addicted to heroin all that time. And I've taken advantage of these kids. I would have them steal text books that I could sell at the local bookstore. I'd split the money with them. They couldn't do it without me, and I needed the money for my habit." He paused again.

"I'm clean now for several months and I've found Jesus Christ. I'm so different now, and I want to somehow make amends. Is there some way I could help you to help them?"

Naturally I offered that he can volunteer at any of our events: Monday Prayer time 11-12, Tuesday Bible study 2-4pm, Wednesday fellowship night 4:45-7:30, and Friday outreach 4-6pm.

"I want to tell them where I was with all that hurt but that I'm free from all that now. I want them to know I'm sorry and that they can get free, too."

You never know who you impact in your daily life. I never served this young man or talked with him. But the love shared between the ministry and street kids clearly effected him. And the love that Jesus has for him, accepted the way he has accepted it, has healed him. May we and everyone the ministry serves say the same and experience the same gratitude in our own time. Amen.

"To know, love and serve street dependent youth."
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