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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Charity is My Medicine of Choice

Last night was a major turning point for me. While in Tempe with my friend, we were on our way to Jack in The Box when two homeless men pleaded for us to buy them food. They even had some money but had been told by management that they were not aloud in the restaurant. We decided to pay for their meals and to hand the change back to them. 

While the food was being prepared, I decided to go back outside and sit on the park bench with my two new friends. We just started talking about some random stuff and laughing. One of the men then asked me if he could talk to me away from his friend. We stepped away for a little bit so we could talk. He began telling me all about his life, he told me how he is scared every night being in that part of town and how nobody cares about him. He gets beat up constantly. Fellow homeless people who he has bought food for have even beat him up in the past. He asked me what he should do and how can he get out of there. On top of all this, he is religious. He believes in God and he knows there is a higher power. One issue is, he has felt rejected from churches and various church leaders from multiple faiths. He prays every single day that God will take his life away. At this point I'm bawling and I'm just holding him on the park bench crying with him. I looked him in the eye and I said "God is not those churches. God is God and He loves you. We have all been given our challenges and you have definitely been given an extremely difficult one but I know you can do this." I then continued to tell him that I just barely met him but I know that he is awesome and I love him.

He looked at me and said "you are so kind, you have to be Christian. What religion are you?" I told him that I am Christian and I am also LDS. I don't know why I expected or thought I would get a negative response from him. I however got the complete opposite. He told me that he knew some LDS people growing up and he really enjoyed their company.

As our conversation went on we started talking about his past jobs and whether or not he would be interested in looking for another job. He got emotional again and pointed to what he was wearing. (T-shirt, and cargo shorts) He said that those were the only clothes that he had and that nobody is going to hire him looking like that. It was at this time that I realized why I hadn't taken my bags of clothes to Goodwill yet. I still had two huge garbage bags full of clothes that he would fit into. I told him that I would go get my car and bring it around and we could go through the bags and pick out clothes for him so he could get some interviews. My friend stayed with him while I got my car. 

When I came back to the park bench and we started going through my clothes, he was so pleased to be given a knit sweater and a hoodie because he had nothing to cover himself up with at night. I also gave him a nice pair of Levis and a button up shirt. when he finished looking through the bags he was emotional again. He told both of us that we were an answer to his prayers. He need to know that there were people who cared about him and here you have two complete strangers who are literally holding him while he sobs. I told him that I care about him and I love him. I made me so happy to be able to help him out that night. 

When we were getting ready to leave he grabbed us and asked if we could pray with him. Of course we agreed to that! So we stood there in a huddle right on Mill Ave. And I said a prayer for him. I asked God to keep him safe and help him get through the night and I asked for our new friend to know how much he means to us and for him to know that he is loved. I also asked God to help him remember to look into going to the Salvation Army. 

I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity I had to show somebody Christlike love when they felt like they did not deserve it. He felt like he was not worthy of Gods love and I hope I got the point across to him that we are all worthy of love, especially the love of Christ. We all have our challenges and our issues that we go through but those are what shape us into who we are supposed to be. It may take longer for some but thats ok. Please, lets all try harder to be less judgmental, be more loving, don't criticize, don't throw stones when you yourself are bleeding. We are here to love and to help our fellow man. I look forward to future opportunities I may have to serve like this. I walked away feeling so good on the inside! I know you all can too. 

Until next time,