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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Day 23: July Food Challenge: $1/1/1 A homeless man named Elijah

For over a month, we've been looking for him.
Or someone like him.
The children made "blessing bags" to give to the homeless at their recent session at VBS this summer and have been anxious to share their gifts with someone in need, but we live out in suburbia, so homeless folks are never seen. Today; however, on the busy highway, we saw him as we sped past.
We turned the car around and pulled up near him, the 11-year-old rolling down the window cheerfully shouting, "Sir! Sir! We have something for you!"
He came over, a young man in his mid-20s with sun-bleached, crimped, tawny hair and wired red beard grown out and wind blown. His face was burnt and peeling and one of his front teeth was missing. His eyes were bright and blue. Sweat poured off him, as he carried a backpack, a sleeping bag, and wore several shirts, including his outermost layar of long-sleeved denim. Aside from his eyes, he was, from head to toe, varying shades the color of red clay dust.

We asked him what his name was. He replied, "My name is Elijah." We introduced ourselves and asked if he would pray for us and that we would pray for him. He said, "May I pray for you right now?"

And so he did. A prayer for both us and himself. For both our journeys. As he prayed, I hoped the cool A.C. from the car would blow his direction, and not the heat of the engine. We thanked him and handed him a little money and said that we'd like his lunch or dinner to be on us and that we hoped good for him. As I left, the car was somber.

"If he's lost his license, why can't he just go get a new one, Mom?"
"He's a good man, why is he homeless?"
"It's too hot right now to be tramping around. He needs to go rest under some trees and take a nap until it cools down later today."

Tonight, at bedtime, the 11-year-old came back downstairs and said, 'Mom, can we please pray for Elijah?" We went to our prayer corner and bowed our heads and prayed.
Prayed that God would grant Elijah a peaceful and safe sleep tonight.
That he would find kindness along the way
And mercy.
That redemption would be given and his license restored.

As far as what I spent on groceries or wonderful deals (which I did get a few today), those all pale in the lesson we learned in humanity and the humble, gentle prayers of a man who wandered.