Befriend Someone In Need
By Blanca Ayre
Our relationship with Jim began in a parking lot. And that’s where this story begins, too. A couple of years ago, my husband was filling the soda machine that sits in front of our business. It was late in the evening when he pulled up and noticed a man sitting in his car in our parking lot. It quickly became apparent that this man was living in his car. It was filled with all his belongings. My husband approached him and asked if he needed help. And that’s how our relationship with Jim started.
Jim shared how he had lived in Denver, but left a few days earlier with nowhere to go and nowhere to stay. So, yes, Jim was homeless and living in his car. My husband called me and, after telling me about Jim’s situation, said, “Honee, I want to put him up for a couple of nights in a hotel.” I agreed. Jim was surprised by our offer, and incredibly thankful!
Two days later Jim man called my husband’s cell phone and thanked us again. My husband asked him if he had found a job yet, along with other living arrangements. “No,” he replied, adding that he had applied at several fast food restaurants (thinking he could at least eat one meal there while he worked).
My husband suggested Jim come home with him and stay with us until he found a job and got on his feet. So, for a couple of months that summer, Jim lived behind our house in the camper which we had just spent all winter fixing up. He stayed with us until he eventually found a job and a place to live. Then we helped him get settled in. Before he left our home, Jim shared that, the night he was sitting in his car in our parking lot, he had been praying and asking God for help when my husband showed up to fill the soda machine.
I hope our story, and our journey with Jim, speaks for itself. No, we aren’t in the habit of inviting perfect strangers into our home. We’re well aware that we live in a day and time when it’s important to be cautious about taking strangers into our home. Caution is certainly a good thing. But at the same time, the greatest form of “heart disease” any of us can experience is a condition called “hardening of the heart.” It causes us to close our hearts and our eyes to the obvious needs of those around us. Caution is good when tempered with compassion.
Blanca Ayre is a free-lance writer and business owner in Hayes, Kansas, where she lives with her husband, Dyrek.