Prior to coming on as a full-time staff member with the Relief Bus I had the privilege of volunteering with the outreach in Newark's South Ward. When I began volunteering, another missionary, Jim Berry was running the Newark operation. Much has changed in that neighborhood over the past three years, but there was one gentlemen that I vividly remembered even then. His name is Fred.
Fred was chronically homeless, addicted to heroin, in and out of jail, sold drugs, and was known around that particular neighborhood as a "bum". Despite all of this, Fred regularly continued visiting us at the Bus. Always thankful to see us. For the past year, each week that Fred came, I would do the same as Jim had done each week three years ago -- offer hope. For four years Fred's response was always the same, "one day I'll give you guys a call.".
About a month ago, as I was leading the outreach in Manhattan, I got call from our base. Yaz, a fellow missionary, told me that a homeless gentleman had knocked on the door and was looking to get into a detox. Because we are based out of Elizabeth this is not an uncommon occurrence. Unfortunately, we couldn't get him into detox until Monday and it was Wednesday. Yaz asked me if I knew of a shelter we could put him in until then. I gave him some advice then hung up the phone, not thinking anything of it. Following the outreach, we returned to the base. To my utter shock and disbelief I saw Fred sitting in our conference room! After four years of seed sowing by Jim, myself, and countless other volunteers, Fred woke up that morning and decided enough was enough.
Having worked this job for over a year, there is only one other time have I seen someone as dedicated and excited about turning his life around. For the next three days Fred spent his time at the base with me in order to keep himself off the streets and away from the dealers. I'm happy to announce that after successfully completing detox we were able to connect Fred with a rehab to continue getting his life together!
Please continue to pray for our friend as God continues to unravel the years of addiction and hopelessness that has plagued Fred for years! Below the picture is an article that Jim Berry wrote three years ago about Fred, I hope you all enjoy!! Grace and Peace...
|Myself, Fred, and Jim about a month ago|
Freddie—was laid off from his job like many others at his job. He began to collect unemployment, but once his check ran out, unable to find more work, he became homeless. He’s been homeless at least 3 months now, struggling with feelings of shame and fear, he said, “I don’t smell, I stink! I can’t even get a shower, and no one will hire me because I stink. I’m embarrassed!” He’s tried going to shelters, but many of them have been unsafe because of the rising problems of theft, thus its been weeks since his last shower. His situation sounds hopeless, but I began to encourage Freddie that there is hope and to not give up. I prayed with Freddie and gave him some info on where he could go for help, a shower, and work opportunity. He doesn’t know God yet, but he is seeking after Him, please pray that Freddie would find a true relationship with God and that he would find employment and housing in these difficult times.
|Fred and Jim three years ago|