February 23, 2010
We want to share with you the story of Kurt [not his real name], a 26-year-old man who came to our attention after he found himself in a local jail after an accidental brush with the law. By the time Pastor Paul arrived at the jail, he had already been told that Kurt had just been casually informed by a jail employee that the mandatory intake bloodwork revealed Kurt to be HIV-positive. They had then tossed Kurt into his cell to be alone with this new knowledge.
When Pastor Paul met with Kurt, he could tell that in Kurt’s eyes, his world was crumbling. Kurt believed that when he left the jail he’d have nowhere to live, no job, and a new medical condition that he didn’t know the first thing about. Paul could also see in Kurt’s eyes that he thought this minister had only come to preach to him.
Instead, Pastor Paul let Kurt tell his story, and he comforted Kurt and asked him to come by the church office after his release so the church could see about getting him a job and a place to live. A week later Kurt was in the church office, and Paul walked him over to a local restaurant where he got an interview and a job.
Almost every week we encounter someone like Kurt. Someone who’s just lost something — or maybe everything. And every week we try to help them get it back. In the last year, Gentle Spirit Christian Church has helped three people find housing, five people find jobs, and one person overcome an almost lifelong addiction. We also feed anyone who shows up to the first picnic pavilion in Candler Park around noon on Sunday, and at the end of the meal we put all the leftovers in containers and send them home with the hungriest among us.
People give us looks when we tell them we meet outside year-round, but for us it all became worthwhile when Charles showed up last year. He joined us at the picnic table because he’d heard we had food, and he shared that he lived under an overpass and had an addiction. We invited him to eat with us again the following Sunday. Six months later he was celebrating his sobriety, and we’d helped him find housing and a job.
Next week we know there’ll be someone else who believes they have no one to turn to, and we’ll be there to assure them that they do.
It doesn’t take much to help someone get back on their feet. For instance, only $10 helps secure a bed for someone spending their first night off the streets. $17 helps someone afford a MARTA Breeze card to get to their new job for a week; $68 does the same for a whole month.
If you would like to help us continue this ministry, just click on the You Can Help tab above to learn how.
We are deeply grateful for whatever you can do, and we wish you many blessings.