Last September, I had the pleasure of meeting a gentle man who had come upon some unfortunate events and needed help.
Jimmy had been living in his car. During the cool fall evenings and nights, it was manageable, and while I cannot imagine having to live like that, this was Jimmy’s story.
Jimmy came to church and was beaming each time I saw him. I expressed concern for the approaching cold weather and wondered what he was going to do as winter set in. He graciously accepted help with food and extra clothing and a few dollars for gas.
A Place for Jimmy
On Thanksgiving Sunday, Jimmy again attended church. He was hungry and cold, but beamed as he joined in worship and fellowship with the people and declared through signing (Jimmy is hard of hearing) that he had angels watching over him.
It was a miserable, wet and cold weekend. The weather changed from cool to freezing. During those drastic drops in temperature, Jimmy had spent one night sleeping in his car on the church parking lot, without warmth due to a defunct heater and no money for gas.
I felt helpless, not knowing the community very well (having just moved here) and what resources were available. But I needn’t have worried. The Salvation Army’s Acton Community Church in Ontario was poised to meet the need in our community. People stepped up to help. I watched kindness in action as one of the congregants used his own resources to ensure Jimmy had a warm place to stay, a hot meal to eat and dry clothes to wear. But we knew it was a band-aid solution. What about the long term?
After one night in a motel and despite the seemingly hopeless reality of finding a place for Jimmy to be in from the cold, I made a phone call to a Salvation Army program with hope that there was space available for this dear man. And there was! We got him packed up from the motel and he headed to a very comfortable place of shelter.
A New Community
Jimmy has been faithful in attending our worship services. He has eagerly volunteered at the thrift store and loves to join in church fellowship times. The people at our church have been exceptionally accepting of Jimmy. And today, in our church service, a beautiful thing happened!
Jimmy enjoys the singing at the church. He signs through most of the service and, from where I sit, it is beautiful to watch him as he enters into worship with his signing.
As we were singing, I watched as he beautifully signed the words. I felt the urge to have him come to the platform and sign for the congregation. And he did so, willingly and beautifully!
What I didn’t know until after the service was that a young couple, one of whom is also hard of hearing, signed along with him, newcomers to our church.
God spoke through Jimmy to reach two other souls, so that they could follow His prompting and experience a new community. And as with Jimmy, we’ll continue to work with them, as well.
Who knew? God did!
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