Many times we don't know what happens to the homeless people we minister too nor as Christians do we know how we are used by God at point of contact. But sometimes we get a glimpse of what God is doing within our midst (in this case on the other side of the country.)
The Potter's Work first success story was (let's call him) Lee. I first met Lee when I was asked to use my taxi to pickup a handful of homeless people in the area and take them to a Christmas party, where they would and did received a fantastic meal with all the fix-ins, presents and a Gospel Christmas message.
After the party I loaded my taxi back up with the people I brought and proceeded to drop them off at varies locations. They lived at parks, homes (where they slept in backyards and on couches.) I dropped Lee off last and had the opportunity to talk with him for some time, learning many things about him and his life (BEFRIENDING). I asked, (a question I always ask), "How did you get to become homeless?" And the answers may or not be true, but Lee said he lost his managerial job at a local Mexican restaurant.
Lee asked me to drop him off where I picked him up, in the middle this over pass on the side of the road (not as busy as when I picked him up.) To find out he had been sleeping in the cleft of the road, underneath the asphalt and I asked, "How long have you been sleeping here?" and he answered, "Over 5 years now." I was shocked! (understand this was one of the first homeless individual I had an ongoing dialogue with.)
Latter in the month The Potter's Work received a donated car and it needed to be washed/waxed, and the leather needed to be cleaned as well. I remembered Lee and our conversation and called him to ask if he would be interested in making some money and told him what I needed and the amount The Potter's Work was willing to pay. He agreed and I asked where I could pick him up. I proceeded to make my way to his location and arrived at the city library, where he told me he spends most of his time. And I can understand why... the library had WIFI, electricity to plug into, a restroom and it was close to a shopping/entertainment center, another place he frequented.
I drove Lee to where the car was (in my carport) and instructed him in detail what I wanted him to do and we agreed on the plan again and the amount of money he would get paid when he was done. I would come back every once in a while to see how things were progressing, encouraging him and at the same time always asking questions to see how to minister to Lee.
Lee finished the job and we found him shelter for the evening. Connie took him to get his belongings, and Lee asked if she could front him $20 in order to get some plastic ware and paper plates his foods stamps would not cover. She gave him the $20
The following day Connie picked Lee up for another task, but while getting supplies she could smell liquor on his breath. She took his sleeping bags and clothes to the laundromat and washed them. She found the receipt for the stuff he bought at the store and vodka was one of the items. This is when I realized the course of the ministry could not continue in this direction and we would only offer employment to those who have successfully completed a rehabilitation program.
I explained to Lee, the ministry would be liable for any injury or damage and as long has he had a drinking problem we could not continue our business relationship. He agreed.
After that whenever I was in the area of the library, I would drop in to see Lee and had many heart to hearts, reminding him that God loves, his children love him and need him.
What makes this meeting with Lee a success story: months went by and there was a outreach to the homeless with a spaghetti dinner and I called Lee to invite him. When he answered the phone, he told me, "I'm on the road, on my way to (another state) and going to be staying with my uncle.
That was such GREAT NEWS; Lee left his tragic life, out from under the overpass and
was on his way to a better life. We continue to pray for Lee that God would continue to work in his life.