A man from the neighborhood stopped by the other day. We've been helping him pay for his diabetes medication. He's been in a bad way; he can't see well, he has almost no energy, he can't work because his energy level is so low he can't stay on his feet. We are very careful with giving out money because it's such a powerful tool. Through serious conversations we've learned that his story is reliable and we've actually gone to the pharmacy with him to pick up his meds.
Unlike most folks we help out he's repaid us every time and even given us a couple small gifts in gratitude. This is totally unprecedented activity and we love to see gratitude like that blossom.
Recently, he called Nathan (the leader of our work here) to borrow some money to pay for getting his apartment room unlocked. Nathan, in telling me this, related that he wanted to help him out in this situation but that he really just wanted to give him a whole new life. The guy is half dead from diabetes, he's got no job, his apartment charges him $25 bucks when he locks his keys in, etc.
So, the guy comes over, after having gotten into his room, and he needs the money for his diabetes meds. He has his VCR with him for Nathan to hold until he pays us back (wow!). Nathan says something like, You need a whole new life and the guy says I'm getting one (again, wow!). Nathan, after 5 years in Allendale has been fed many similar lines, is a bit skeptical and asks What do you mean?
This guy explains: he's been to a doctor to talk about his diet and how he can get this disease under control. He's changed what he eats and has gained 5 pounds. He's drinking green tea with Vitamin C and not sugar (not the favored drink of the urban black male). He shows Nathan his half-empty bottle of the stuff to prove it. He's got a job offer. The world doesn't dissolve into an indistinguishable blur when he takes off his glasses. The Lord is at work!