I had my mind blown at today’s outreach at Peacemakers! It was towards the end of the event, and I was standing in the background talking with somebody. About 50 feet away my eyes met with another man who seemed to be smiling and walking towards me. As I focused in on his face, slowly it dawned on me who it was. It was Samuel! I had not seen Samuel in probably 10 years. To give you a little background, Samuel was someone that we had ministered to ALOT in the past on Chene St.
Samuel was a man who was completely lost in his addiction to alcohol. I am not talking about someone who just drinks every day. I am talking about someone who gets so drunk that he passes out in the middle of the street – is so drunk that he can barely talk – is so addicted that he cannot function AT ALL in society!
For a period of probably 5 years, we would regularly encounter Samuel. I personally had many conversations with him, and I remember driving around with him a bit for reasons I don’t totally remember. Suffice it to say, we knew Samuel very well, and had tried everything in our power to reach him for Christ.
Sometimes when we are trying to reach someone for the Lord, it can seem like a lost cause. All the prayer, love, and support in the world can seem like it is doing no good at all. The person doesn’t seem to be changing. Everything you do, say, and try seems to be like hitting a brick wall.
This was the situation with Samuel, the world would have certainly written him off as a lost cause. I hadn’t seen Samuel in many years, if you would have asked me I would have probably thought he was dead.
All of the sudden, today this clean cut, well groomed man walks up to me – in new clothes! In his hands were the keys to a nice car parked on the street. Samuel said he had been driving down Chene St and saw us all outside, so he decided to stop by and say “hi”.
Samuel went on to tell me that around 10 years ago he had a near death experience in a hospital. He said that he knew that God was giving him his last chance to change. Samuel made his decision for the Lord then and there, and hasn’t touched the bottle since! Since then, he has been blessed with a wife, and has bought a house by St. Johns Hospital.
What Samuel then said was very insightful, and I have heard the same thing quite a few times through the years. He said that “I might drive through this area, but I never stop. I don’t mess with these guys anymore. People around here will only try to drag you down back into their mess, so I avoid this area the best I can.”
What I have found to be true – is that some people that we have ministered to on Chene St for years suddenly vanish. We don’t know if they are dead – or just living in another city – or we might totally forget about them because there is always a new face and a new need right in front of you today to tend to.
But some of these same people – that seem to have vanished, have finally experienced something with God that has produced a real change. And what becomes important to them, is that they feel the need to stay FAR AWAY from the area that the devil was using to kill them. So, lots of people have gotten their lives on track, and then we don’t see them again. Or, like in Samuel’s case, we see them 5 or 10 years later, either by accident, or because they come back to thank us for what we did in that stage of their lives. Sometimes I hear a report of someone who has been “clean for 5 years” or something like that, but I don’t see them again.
Never, never, never give up on that person that you are praying for, or that person that you are reaching out to. You never know what God will do with the seeds that you have planted in their lives.