People!

These last few weeks have been….interesting. People of every personality type and background stopped to walk and talk with us.

Crystal took her car into the shop and decided not to wait for the bus. She started to walk home and saw me up ahead. As she got closer, she wasn’t sure she wanted to pass me, talk to me or just linger behind. Finally she took a deep breath, stepped up her pace, came along side of me and said “Good morning.” We struck up a friendship right off the bat. She had stories to tell and I had time to listen. Over the next hour I discovered she was a Christ follower, a retired high school teacher and a person with lots of energy and a positive attitude. When we finally arrived at the place where she had to turn, we both felt bad. Neither one of us wanted to say good-bye.

It’s an unusual church and then again it’s not. It does things in a unique fashion but it loves people just like Southwest Community back in Olathe, KS. The ROC (Richmond Outreach Center) looks like a shopping center on the outside and a convention center on the inside. Its focus on people who have had issues with drugs, alcohol and the law. You see a lot of people with tattoos, piercings and black leather here. The ROC has a launder-mat, a thrift shop, a computer lab, a free medical clinic because people re-starting their life need a hand up with practical things.The man that took the time to tell us about The ROC and show us around is affectionately called “Doc.” He retired from the military as a physician’s assistant and now gives his time and talents to Christ through the ministry. Besides being a man of skills, Doc is the most excited person I have ever met. He bubbles over with the joy of Christ! They purposefully keep him away from the coffee pot. They’re afraid the caffeine will put him in orbit! Just being in his presence, lifted our love level ten degrees! Doc at the The Roc…if you ever get to Richmond, look him up but watch out…he’s a hugger!

Jake was worried and when he saw me he felt that God wanted him to stop. He has a court date coming up and he doesn’t want to lose his kids. He is in the midst of an messy divorce…are there any other kind? He knows Christ but has a hard time putting his cares into the Master’s hands and leaving them there. (Sound familiar?) He was seeking an answer when he saw me walking down the road. We spoke for nearly an hour and then we prayed together. Joint custody was all he asked for but we asked God that regardless of how much time Jake spent with his children that he would always be a father that exemplified integrity, strength, courage and love. AND no matter how tempted he might be….never say anything bad about their mom!

I had only walked 6 miles when a old rustyVW bus pulled up and a man that could have been Jack Nicholson’s twin got out. He came around and opened the side door and said, “I’ve come to get you.” Well, he got my attention but I wasn’t going to get into the bus! He explained that a friend of his had seen me but was on his way to oral surgery and couldn’t stop and so he had sent his friend to “get me” so he could talk with me. Just then, Lucy pulled up across the street. “Jack” asked us back to his house and so I said to Lucy,”Are you up for an adventure?” “Sure,” she replied and off we went following someone we didn’t know to a place we didn’t know. You always need a certain amount of discernment when you make these kind of blind decisions but remember when Jesus was asked to come…he did.

As it turned out his friend thought I was Buddhist monk. I guess he didn’t notice the cross I wear. This particular gentleman followed a religion called Sufism. He said he believed in the divinity of Christ but also believes there are many paths to God. Other people joined us that evening. Jack commented that drugs enhanced the spiritual experience and soon the atmosphere quickly turned to alcohol and pot and so we left. It was sad to see people who are lost and want to philosophize as they get high but won’t listen to the Truth even though they invited one of His ambassadors in.

Melissa’s tee-shirt had a picture of a pit bull and when I asked her about it, she told me she was an animal rights activist. The Pit Bull on her shirt had been set on fire! She went on to tell me tales of how horribly some of these animals are treated and as she spoke I could see the tenderness of her heart. As terrible as some humans treat animals and other humans, we must remember they are a twisted minority. There are many good and loving people like Melissa who do more than just care…they get involved. As human beings, God has created us to be stewards of this world; the land, the people and the animals.

Avarett is a man I would love to hang out with; he’s an original. He’s in his mid fifties, never had a television and never used a remote control! He’s the editor of the local paper. He is a thinker and has opinions on just about every issue. I agree with some and probably disagree with a few but he’d be fun to argue with because he makes you think! Some folks had called him to tell him “Moses” was walking through town and so he met Lucyah and I on route 360 just outside of Keyesville. We spent about an hour together before he had to leave. He was covering a political fundraiser that evening. It wasn’t too much later, Lucy got a call. It was Avarett inviting us to dinner…but he wasn’t going to be there! (I told you he was an original.) His wife Susan was delightful and we got to have dinner with the whole family. We even parked our RV in their front yard! Wonderful evening!