Archive for September, 2005

Henry

Today was a bit of a trial day. I am trying to get back into work mode and ready myself to leave this weekend for Portland to attend a friends wedding. My wife called me and asked if I would run an errand for one of our church members who just had surgery on her foot. She needed someone to pick up her perscription and bring it back to her. No problem. I jumped into my car and headed down to pick up her perscription.

Three of our members live in this apartment building. Pat, Eddie and Henry. Henry has a mental conditon and has been in state care since his mother died several years back, until recent. For some reason the stated moved Henry into the Cascadian apartments. As I strolled down the street, I saw Henry sitting out front on a bench watching traffic drive by. Dozens of cars not even seeing him, yet he watched everyone.

Henry is a funny guy, in that when you talk to him he repeats whatevery you say. “Hi Henry” I said. “Hi, Hi, Hi, Hi” replied Henry… “Are you having a good day?” Henry said, Good day, good day, yes a good day.” I told him I would see him later and went to meet Pat.

I arrived at her building which is an older apartment building in our town… You know, the ones built in the 40′s with the button you push so the tenant can let you in… After announcing my arrival, I headed for the elevator and pushed the up button. I jumped in and hit the ninth floor button. The doors shut and the rattle and squeeking began. I just had to laugh. I thought this would be a terrible way to die. I remember myth busters “busting” the myth that you could jump up just before the elevator hit the floor, so I prayed that the tired moaning box that carried me to the top would make one more trip. After that I took the stairs.

I wasn’t able to return right away to bring Pat her meds. My wife and I are having a baby and today was our first real Dr. appt.. We had to fill out all the paper work and wait for our Dr. since he had been called to the hospital. When he arrived back he met us and congratulated us on out fourth child. This would be the third child he would deliver.

When he checked my wife he placed the doppler on her stomach to listen to the heart beat… He couldn’t find it. My heart sank. He called the nurse in and asked her to get the ultra-sound machine so he could get a visual. I have to admit, I was scared. My wife and I had heard the heart two weeks ago just before I left for Louisiana, so this moment was tense.

He found the baby and said the baby looked older that what we had thought, so he has set an offical ultra-sound check up for tomorrow. He apologized for the scare and sent us down so my wife could get her blood tested. It nerved me a bit.

I gathered my kids and wife and got my car as the family went home I continued with my earlier expidition. I picked up the meds for Pat and ran home for quick dinner and would drop off Pats meds on my way to church. Around 5:30 PM almost 4 hours after I had talked to Henry, I returned to the sidewalk that lead to the Cascadian apartments and found Henry still sitting on the bench, watching the traffic go by.

“Still here Henry?” “Still here, still here” I said, “Are you enjoying the sunshine?” Henry replied, “Enjoying the sunshine, yes, sunshine.” I like how Henry sees things. It is always “good, good” or “great, great” He let me see how great it is when the world stops moving and ask, “how are you?” we can respond, “good, good.”

Later that night at church, Henry saw me and moved towards me and smiled big, as only Henry can. “Hey! How are you?” I’m good, I’m good” I said. “How are you Henry?” “Good, I’m good.”

At the end of the day, I know he is… and so am I.

Peace
johno~

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Update on Whitney

Today I called Brent Brady in Colorado to see how things were going with Whitney. Brent told me that Whitney stayed at his home for 3 days and then left for Chicago to meet with the father of the child she had given up for adoption six weeks earlier. Brent told me she and the father had planned to meet and work things out. Brent also told me that he had made some contacts in Chicago for her to help her on her way.

Brent said he didn’t think that the events of the last few weeks will go by the way side. He believed she was impacted by the “God” events in her life.

And so, this is the hard part. I may never see her or hear from her again on earth… However, God never promised me that. He told me to share what it looks like and just believe. I do. And so I will let God continue to work wonders in the lives of his people. I will continue to look for another opportunity.

Where ever you are Whitney, Gods speed.

peace.
johno~

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Stories from the road

What a wonderful day… Truly God works in mysterious ways. Today we arrived in Denver Colorado after a long nights drive through Washington, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. We were feeling the pressure of keeping a tight schedule since we were delayed in Wenatchee for about a hour. The only thing I could think of is God is doing something or sparing us from tragedy.

We arrived at Blake and Kim Hill’s home in Denver and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast, a chance to power nap and shower. Who would know what God was working on. After breakfast we gathered for a group photo and started to load up. I had remembered Jason Hill telling me there was a Starbucks nearby. Never passing up the opportunity of having a fresh cup of java, we headed to Starbucks which was next to a BP service station.My vehicle dropped me off in front of Starbucks and headed to fill up with gas. After getting a cup for myself and Bruce another member of the team from Port Orchard, I was walking to the BP station.

Coffee’s in hand and the task of leaving ASAP to get “back on schedule” I noticed a young lady sitting by a payphone looking very distraught. I at once felt the need to go ask her if she was OK. However, like every other youth minister who is behind in any schedule, I immediately talked myself out of it. I delivered Bruce’s coffee and went up to Tim who had also noticed the same young lady visibly upset since he pulled in to fill up with gas. I knew I had to go to her.

I approached her and asked her how she was doing and if I could help her. She said “I don’t think so.” I asked if she was from around here and she had told me that she was from Texas and had only moved up to Colorado a short time ago. She told me she had moved here for a second chance and the opportunity to start over. She told me she moved here to live with her sister and that she had blown that and was now not allowed back into here sisters home. She also told me that she had just given up her baby six weeks ago for adoption and now had nothing. I asked her what she wanted to do now and she told me it sounded crazy… I told her that I had heard lot’s of crazy stuff in my life and then she told me she wanted to hitch a ride back to Texas and that she wanted that person to have a gun and end her life. She then told me the next time her sister would see her would be to identify her body. I sat there looking into saturated eyes and thought, “Ugh!”

“It sounds like you have lost hope and I believe God has sent me here to tell you that there is still hope.” She told me she felt no hope and was losing here faith. I asked if she attended church, “nothing successfully,” she said. I asked her how old she was and she told me nineteen. I began to minister to her and share some of my life story and how God loved her, how Jesus died for her and how she could have hope in the resurrection. I then told her there were churches willing to help her if she was willing to start making changes in her life and letting God in. I knew I needed to connect her with a local church.

Lost! Sitting by a phone book with more churches listed and located than I could imagine I decided to call the Christian home that just served us breakfast. Kim Hill told me of the Boulder Valley church of Christ in, Colorado. I asked the young lady what her name was and she said Whitney. I told her to hold on and that I was going to get some help. At that time God sent into our conversation Chalon Osamu.

Chalon sat with the young lady and asked if she could pray with her. I went to make phone calls to the local church. As well as God’s timing was in crossing our path with this young lady, our timing in connecting with the church resulted in the lunchtime hour. However, a wonderful phone answering system provided a forward to the ministers cell phone.

I pressed zero and was excited to make contact with Brent Brady the minister at the Boulder Valley church… “Ugh!” another answer system. Well, doing with the best I had at the time and continued prayer for God to provide. I left a detailed message regarding this urgent situation and thought I send the message with UGENCY! So I pressed the asterisks (*) button and erased the entire message. Once again, I relayed the story and sent my message.I thought I would try to contact some other church members by opening up the phonebook again and looking for something to jump out at me when my phone rang. It was Brent.

I shared with Brent that I was a youth minister from the Northwest on my way to Louisiana and had come across a young girl named Whitney who needed help. I told him I would give her some cash to get a value meal at Mc Donald’s and a brief description, (the only person who looks like they had been crying for several hours). Brent Agreed and said he would meet her at Mc D’s.

I returned to Whitney and told her that Brent from a local church was coming to meet with her to give her help. I showed her a picture of my three children and told her of the one on the way. “I have no guarantee that I will see them again,” I said, “But, I have hope.” I told her about Acts 17 and that “God puts people in certain places at certain time so they might reach out for Him and grab hold of Him because He is not far from each of us.” I told her God is in the business of second chances and third and fourth and fifth chances times infinity.

Chalon returned with a bag of food, some cash and a women’s New Testament Bible and told her God can make a difference. We prayed together, hugged and said goodbye. Chalon and I went to our vehicles and Whitney to Mc D’s. I thought I would never see or hear from Whitney again. That’s OK you know… God never promised we would see how He works. He says, “Just believe.”

I shared the story with the guys in my truck and thought It would be a good time to take a nap. After a bit, Jess gently shook me awake handing me my ringing telephone. It was Brent Brady. Brent greeted me and asked me if I was a member of the church of Christ and how I got his information. I told him I had connection with some of his members, Cody and Tina Hill and that I had gone to collage with their Cody’s brother Jason Hill. Brent told me that he had met with Whitney and that there was a bit more to Whitney’s story. Honestly my first thought was, “what have I done to this poor minister who was trying to get ready for his Wednesday night class.” Brent told me that in his conversation with Whitney, he discovered she was nineteen. Brent told her that he had a nineteen year old daughter who was attending ACU in Texas. Whitney then said, “you mean Ailene Christian University?” Brent replied, “Yes.”

Brent became verbally excited as he continued to share that Whitney had known some of the people at ACU and that the son she had just given up for adoption she gave to the Christian Homes Adoption Agency in Abilene which is a church of Christ sponsored effort. Brent then shared that he told Whitney that he didn’t want to sound weird or strange but that he wanted to take her home to his family. He was calling me from his home and he and his wife have opened their home to Whitney. I don’t think God could have been more clear in this matter. To think, I almost got into my truck because I thought I didn’t have enough time. Thank you Holy Spirit.

I look forward to hearing back from Brent but most of all Whitney… Someday.

Peace.
johno~

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I am not ashamed

OK, I have started this post as a personal journal of listening to the Holy Spirit in my everyday walk. How many times have I been moved by the Holy Spirit and acted on it only to bless and be blessed. How many times have I not acted because I was afraid?

Although this is a personal journal, I welcome everyone who has acted on the opportunities placed before them by the Holy Spirit. I pray that I and others continue to “act” on every opportunity the Spirit gives us.

Give us today our daily bread, so that tomorrow we have to come back to you empty, hungry and ready to be filled for another day.

peace.
johno~

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