The complete story of “Joe” from the last few weeks of FB posts. This is what God does! We love being a part of His handiwork and walking alongside those who need support. It has taken many hands to bring this all together for him. Now he is ready to start a new life. In order to do that he needs a place to live. Please read and let us know if you can help with a couple weeks of rent.
Sorry loooong read-
Today I was able to witness a compassionate act from someone that people think “lacks compassion”. Let’s begin 7 yrs ago when I met “Joe” in the woods while ministering (with SOUL ministries) to people experiencing homelessness. First encounter showed the little bit of wild in his eyes and a machete. (Don’t be so shocked. How many of you have a gun for protection at your house?) We knew from the surrounding ground around his tent that alcohol was his choice of substance. We talked a little about his work out regime if memory serves me correctly. We gave him some supplies and said our good-byes. Fast forward a couple of years to the beginning of Code Purple. “Joe” entered inebriated many nights. He didn’t speak much and made several people uncomfortable (including me most of the time, an oddity for sure) but our ministry is to save lives for the night so we did the best we could for all, including the difficult “Joe”. There were nights when his behavior got the best of him and we had to ask him to leave because he just couldn’t keep his anger in check. It’s never an easy decision but we have to keep a safe haven for all. You see, “Joe” has been experiencing homelessness for a very long time (probably close to 20yrs). Various people have tried to help him over the years but it’s never been a life change for him. He has been in Code Purple shelters off and on over the seasons, some years every night and some years just on occasions. When he started coming to our shower, lunch, and laundry days a few weeks ago, I have to admit that I was a little like “Oh boy” (I’m only human). Unfortunately, he has burnt every bridge that exists for him. One day he told me that no where else wanted him and his voice sounded very lonely and sad. Of course I understand why and how that comes about but it didn’t make me any less sad for the situation. This time around with “Joe” has been slightly different. I still have to ask him to chill (with that motherly tone I often use) but these past few weeks, he is listening. An understanding in his eyes that says “Yeah, Nikki, I can do that.” He’s been more pliable and asking continuously for help. He wanted to go to rehab. We attempted a couple weeks ago. He was taken to detox with detailed instructions for them to communicate with the advocate dropping him off before releasing him. Well this organization did not do that and just put him back on the streets. He came back and I was shocked. He felt let down again and went back to the bottle. *(We are not going to solve someone’s problems, that has been experiencing homelessness this long, with 7 days in detox!!)* Even though that experience was not what he had hoped for, he kept asking for help. Today things lined up for him again. We asked him if he was ready to go today. “Joe’s” momma happened to be with us for shower, lunch and laundry day. She was encouraging him to get the help he needs. He hesitated (because it’s not an easy step to take for someone fighting addiction) but he said yes. His momma was so elated that she started crying. What happened next will be forever etched into my brain. With tears in his eyes he put his arms around her and hugged her while patting her back, reassuring her that it would be ok. I was done. It was such a sweet moment that I wish I could’ve captured for all to see. This is a man that almost everyone has given up on. They think he is a hopeless case, never capable of positive emotions or love. But guess what? He was created by the same God as you and I were. There is the same Hope for him that there is for all of us. Never, ever forget that when you are dealing with another human being. I’m not saying be an enabler or a push over (believe me, I am no pushover lol) but be kind in your dealings with others. They have feelings whether you can see them or not. I believe that anyone asking for help in this way deserves to go, each and every time they ask because you never know if this will be the time that freedom happens for them.
Current situation for “Joe”:
He needed to be medically cleared at the hospital so a wonderful advocate (Phillip) took him there and helped him through the beginning of the process. He connected him to SUN and let them know that he would be arriving tonight. It was not an easy thing for the hospital or “Joe” as he can be cantankerous and the staff are not all equipped with how to speak to him or understand his mental condition. They also know him well, so they reach their limit of compassion so to speak (wish it was different but I do understand). However, thanks to Josh sitting with him until his release from the ER and delivering “Joe” to SUN and making sure he was settled in before leaving, he is currently in detox. I implore anyone that has read this through to the end, to PRAY for “Joe” to find true freedom and peace from his addiction!
Update on “Joe”. He has been released from SUN and will be on the streets until Monday. He has opted not to go to Gateway because he found out that you are not allowed to go outside or smoke. Now before you make any hasty judgements, imagine living on your own for over twenty years outside and the ability to smoke as you want. Then imagine while you give up alcohol you must also not smoke. I’m not saying anything against Gateway either, different places have different rules. This was just not the option “Joe” felt comfortable trying. We tried finding a place for him to stay through Monday but there isn’t anywhere. All of our options that we could think said there was no room for him. Please lift him up in prayer and ask God to pour out strength and hope to him. “Joe” is soooooo sad and hopeless feeling right now. Pray that God helps him not use any substances and help him show up for his appointment Monday. Pray that “Joe” would find the everlasting life in Jesus!
Update #2- Keep your prayers coming! “Joe” is still sober after being on the street last night! We have had a very gracious offer of a place for him to stay tonight and tomorrow night. Continue praying for him to feel God’s love through the people helping and from God Himself.
Update #3 “Joe” was blessed with a place for a couple of nights until he can get into a rehab. And as God blesses us, our room provider also blessed “Joe” with food and a tv. We are praying for Monday but sometimes (as we’ve seen) things don’t always go smoothly. I’m proud of “Joe” for sticking it out through this hiccup. I have never seen him go this long or want recovery this much. I don’t know how the story will end but I know that we will walk alongside him as long as he is willing to walk.
Update #4 “Joe” has waited patiently at a house that was so kindly offered for him to stay in until he could get check into rehab. He has maintained his sobriety, maybe partly due to being tucked away from his old stomping grounds but I think it’s more likely due to all the prayers going up for him. He was finally approved to get into Gaudenzia. They will take him tomorrow morning! Pray for Phil who has went above and beyond for “Joe” and has walked so faithfully beside him. Please continue to pour out prayers for his complete healing!
Update #5 “Joe has been successfully staying in Guadenzia and can be released at anytime. He has a job available to him and we are working on housing. We would like to raise $500 to help with his first weeks of rent until he can get paid from his job. Anyone that wants to help, please let us know and you can donate to LoveINC for this specific purpose. Thank-you!