Saturday afternoon I visited a foreign country, at least it felt like one. It's just about 45 minutes from where I live. But I felt like I was a world away. A great guy and friend of Safehouse , Drew Sewell, puts on an annual event called Impact Fulton Industrial. This is an outreach to the people of the area who are impoverished, many of whom are prostitutes and/or drug addicts. My mother was going to represent a ministry she volunteers with called Wellspring Living. So I decided to go serve with my mom.
The days leading up to this, I wondered what I could possibly do to help. I got my answer: Nothing. Instead, I was so blessed by the people we met. The guy named Scott sat at the table next to me representing his outreach. He was such a peaceful presence. He has been clean 2.5 years. He used for 15 years and did prison time for a meth lab. Now he spends his time as the director of a recovery program. What an inspiration to listen to him and be reminded of what God can do. It encouraged my heart about my brother who is just three weeks into his prison sentence.
Then there was Daldred. Wow! The Holy Ghost is all over this man. He was also very peaceful and calm. He knew a lot of the residents of the area. He was such an encouragement to different ones who stopped by to talk about jobs. He talked to my mom and me about unity and healing of the hurting people all around us. He encouraged us to pray that the truth be uncovered, revealed and exposed so that we would be empowered to be the hands and feet of Jesus. He said if are all praying this same thing, the Spirit will be revealing the answer to all of us and we can work together. Thought that was interesting.
Last but not least there was Billy. Oh my heart! I had watched Billy throughout the afternoon. It seemed to me this boy, maybe 8, had some emotional issues. Once, he stopped in the middle of the bustling crowd, threw his head back and sobbed over losing something. Later he stopped by my table and commented on a heart-shaped balloon fastened to the tent. His voice had the sing-song cadence of a happy 4 year old. I loosened the balloon and said he could have it. I asked him how old he was. He grappled with his fingers a bit to show me that he was 8, no 9, then he gave a nervous laugh and said, "I don't know." I noticed his mom as she gathered free groceries and needed items. She was covered in blisters. Her eyes were red and swollen. The area around her eyes inflamed. There where sores around her mouth and her teeth were so rotten. I wondered if this was from drug use.
A few minutes later he sauntered over again to talk. He wandered off, but soon ran back to me and said, "Oh, since you were so nice to me and gave me the balloon, you can have this." He opened his hand and shared one of three pieces of candy that he had been given. I asked his name and his grade in school. His name is Billy and he says he is homeschooled. Oh boy! As a homeschooler I thought, "Really?" Billy said, "I had to do kindergarten again but my teacher said I could be in first grade in homeschool." He finally settled on his age being 9. He was very sweet and soft-spoken. His head was really round and his blonde hair cut very short. He reminded me of Charlie Brown. As we talked about his little sister, Nikki, his mom yelled for him to come back. I watched as he walked back to her. She fussed at him about needing his help and how he shouldn't run off. He picked up a big box of food his mom had been given and smiled at me as they walked away. My mom and I tried not to make eye contact. We were both about to lose it, but we were trying to hold back any tears 'til we got to our car.
As I searched the crowd for a final glance of this little boy I will probably never see again, I wished I had said more to him or talked about Jesus' love. But I just couldn't say much of anything because I was trying to smile and listen and not cry! I was blown away by his kind heart and desire to share what he had with me. I prayed that Jesus would put his hand on this child and guide the steps of his life. So when you think about Billy from time to time, will you pray for him too?