Sam (not his actual name) is a resident of a local homeless shelter. I serve as his mentor as an expression of my mission with tDf. Sam and I visit over dinner, typically every other week, to catch up and compare notes from our respective journeys. Sam is pretty amazing. No father in his life, raised by his mother, grew up in the 'hood, got in trouble with the law and spent a number of years in prison.
His mother, who was his one constant….his guiding light, passed away not long ago and Sam found himself alone and on the streets. (It’s almost impossible to get a job if you have a felony on your record, which is why
so many felons return to illegal means to make ends meet). Sam wandered into the shelter where a good friend, and tDf board member, welcomed him in the name of Jesus.
What I have a hard time putting into words, and what I love about Sam is this: He is deeply grateful and incredibly humble. Sam is not above any job that he is offered, no matter how menial, taking great pride in it. If it means holding a 'going out of business' sign for 10 hours outside, in the cold, he will do it with enthusiasm. If it means staying up all night as a night manager in a code-blue (emergency) shelter, he is grateful for the opportunity. He now serves as a staff member at the shelter, serving other men in a variety of ways.
Sam has children and would very much like to make up for lost years due to his incarceration. He would like to visit them over Christmas but, being in recovery, he is hesitant to return to his former neighborhood (and its temptations) where they live with their mother. When I recently asked Sam what it was that caused him to undergo such a dramatic course change, he effectively said, 'Jesus, and the people who believe in me.' He explained that until he arrived at the shelter, everyone in his world viewed him (and everyone else, for that matter) with suspicion and cynicism, never missing an opportunity to put-down and demean. In short, everything and everyone in his life was a downdraft. Sam went on, 'This is the first time someone believed in me' adding, 'At first I was suspicious, but with time I realized that they actually meant it.' Outside of his two youth football coaches (one of which corresponded regularly with Sam while he was in prison, never giving up on him) no one ever believed he was capable of anything but getting into trouble.
Please pray for Sam. He is an easy guy to love....and to pull for. One of the things that Sam and I have in common.... is our gratitude for you.