Nutbush Adventure

   What a night!  God was at work Wednesday night in Compassion Party on the Road.  This was only my second time going on CPR but CPR Sliderit was quite an adventure.  We first stopped at Methodist North Hospital to see a Nutbush native who faithfully drives a Jacob’s Well van and serves in the Clothes Closet weekly.  She was in good spirits even though she was struggling with COPD.  The next stop was a wooded area near the hospital where several neighbors live in tents.  But on our way we saw a gentlemen flying a sign in the median so we stopped in the turning lane, turned on our flashers, and gave him a bag of food as Jamey and the man had a brief conversation.  Then, seeing another of our friends heading to Circle K we pulled in there where we had conversation and shared food with three other homeless men.  After conversations and prayer, one decided to get off the streets and enter into rehab at Safe Harbor.  He had talked earlier with a guy from “The Gathering” who we are also connected with, so we next we went to this common friend’s home in Nutbush.

 We prayed with those in his house and then the four of us headed out to see a woman who wanted to go into recovery who was hanging out near the Family Dollar on Jackson.  When we got there we gave out some more meals and talked with the woman. She had also had a hurt leg, so we prayed with her.  A man who hardly spoke any English shared how Diablo was keeping him down through alcoholism and wanted a Spanish Bible.  We shared how the power of Jesus is greater than Diablo and prayed that the curse would be broken.  The Gathering will be providing a meal Sunday afternoon and will bring Spanish bibles with them.  As we were about to leave another gentlemen, Mark, heard we were going to Safe Harbor and he said he wanted to go and “get right with God.” So we hopped into the car and headed to Mapco where several homeless friends were waiting.  We only had three meals left so we passed those out, and the 7-8 people there shared them.  We also handed out some pillows, a jacket, and cards with scripture.  At Mapco Jimmy shared that Alec was under a bridge again and Elaine reminded us that her brother Carl had been missing for several weeks.  The homeless man from Raleigh told us that he knew where Carl was, near the Raleigh Mall.  Though we were all tired we headed out once again looking for the lost sheep. We didn’t find him, but discovered where he had been sleeping and the place he flies his sign during the day.  Finally we made it to Safe Harbor where our two new friends checked in and began a new chapter in their journey of recovery.

safeharbor checkin

After they were secure we headed home, then remembered about Alec who may be under the bridge. before the adventurous night was over we made one last stop under the bridge to check on Alec.  We checked but did not find him, which hopefully means he has found shelter for the night.

It was a crazy night and sounds like a scene from an adventure movie, but it was amazing and I loved it.  It hasn’t all sunk in yet, but I realized I wasn’t thinking about what the right thing to do was; I was just reacting to the needs around me.   There are so many problems in our world today–ISIS, refugees, racism, crime, poverty, and the list goes on–that we often get stuck or cynical.  On Thursday I was able to attend a pastor’s breakfast at Lafayette Music Room with Dr. John Perkins, the founder of Christian Community Development Association  (CCDA).  CCDA was promoting its upcoming conference in Memphis November 11-14.  Dr. Perkins said that the Church has made society’s problems too big, even bigger than God. Yet, Scripture tells us that nothing is impossible with God.  The Church is to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world, being ambassadors of reconciliation. On Wednesday night we met some ambassadors of this reconciliation and, hopefully, we were being those ambassadors of reconciliation, literally giving people CPR–trying to meet their physical needs as well as share compassion.

It was great to go with Pastor Jamey on Wednesday night.  I think Jesus was onto something when he told his disciples to go out 2 by 2.  To be honest, I was a little scared going under the bridge.  In fact I let Pastor Jamey go in by himself because I didn’t know who or what might jump out!  I sometimes think I can do it all by myself–this helping/serving thing.  I think I’m strong enough and mature enough as a Christian. But I can’t do it by myself.  Wednesday reminded me of that.  We couldn’t have done what we did on Wednesday night without one another, and all the Christians we met sharing their love and hope–sharing their dinners and information to help one another.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one . . . For if they fall, one will lift up the other.”  That’s what we are to be as the Body of Christ.
Matthew Bowles