It’s doesn’t happen this way everyday, but when it does, it sure is sweet.
I didn’t plan on spending much time on the streets Thursday. I was just going over to the low-end hotel a block away from our apartment to check up on our mission teams and take care of some minor business. As I walked over I was approached by three different friends from the streets with simple needs that I was able to address pretty straight away. As I arrived at the hotel, for some odd reason I took an alternate route to the rooms we rent which led me by the elevators. As I walked by them the doors were about to shut when the passenger quickly stuck his hand out to stop the door from closing. It was a man, Greg Henson, along with his wife, Kimberly, and one-year-old son, Jeremiah. He asked me if I was with the church he saw in the parking lot. I responded that I was and asked what I could do for him. He began to tell me his family’s story. Life was going along splendidly when the recession hit. His wife just finished her college degree and his hours at work began to be scaled back. His wife was able to find a good job, but it paid commission and it takes time to build up your customer base. They weren’t able to make ends meet. Soon he was selling their possessions, but it wasn’t enough, they would be evicted from their apartment. A local church agreed to put them up in a hotel (the one I met them at) for a week. Greg put their truck up as collateral for a loan from the friendly corner loan store that they ended up not being able to keep up with. Now their truck has been repossessed. Because the community the hotel is located in is full of drug dealers and users, they are nervous to leave the hotel often, usually limiting their trips to work and the store. They have done about all one can do in order to get out of the downward cycle of poverty. They have jobs, they receive government assistance, and they have done the leg work to get a government subsidized apartment in a nice area. What they lack is enough savings to make the deposit to get them in the apartment.
I have heard about every story. So I have learned to ask particular questions and look for particular signs to try and discern the truth of a situation. I talked with Greg for some time and felt pretty good about trying to help him and his family. But when I walked into their hotel room, saw Jeremiah, and heard that they refused to let him crawl on the floor of the hotel because of what might be on the floor leaving him to play on the beds all day, I knew they were done staying in that hotel. I told Greg to call the apartment and tell them that they would be moving in today. The manager of the apartment complex told him that the total for the deposit would be $393.29.
Serendipitously, one of the mission teams working with us this week informed us when they arrived that they had not brought any clothes or toiletries as donations, but instead would be making a $400 donation to be used in any way we needed to help the poor. I had a pretty good idea where it could be used.
I went to the bank to get a money order. As I approached the door I noticed the bank closed at 4pm. I entered at 3:59pm. As the teller prepared my money order I asked her if she believed in miracles. I then told her about the role she was playing in one. She immediately asked the manager to nominate Church on the Street as one of three non-profits to be supported by their branch.
As I was getting the money order a few members of the mission team was loading up the Henson’s belongings in one of their vans. When I arrived back at the hotel they were ready to go. We headed up to north Atlanta and helped to move the Henson’s into their new apartment.
It doesn’t happen this way everyday, but when it does it sure is sweet.
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