This is likely the best kind. The kind where we are simply, without thinking or hesitation, getting a chance to show God’s love to someone.
Last Wednesday, Leonard was late to lunch. We always look for him and wait for him, he seldom disappoints. We have gotten to know Leonard over the fall/winter and these are some things we know about him:
- he resides at the Drop In
- he gets casual work from a liquor store
- he grew up on a Hutterite colony in Sask
- his late brother is an author
- he has an 8 year old daughter he hasn’t spoken with in over a year
- he has tried, twice, to quit drinking
- he is extremely likeable
- he enjoys playing jokes on us
- he LOVES our lunches. Once he was the only one there. That has never happened to anyone else.
Today we learned that his favourite verse is John 3:16.
Last week Leonard was late. When he finally arrived, he was the sickest that we had ever seen him. In hindsight we should have taken him straight to the hospital, and we would have if he had asked us to.
This week Leonard didn’t show up at all. Our good friend, John, had heard that He had been in the hospital. I called Peter Lougheed and they transferred me to ICU at the South Calgary Health Campus. The nurse I spoke with asked if I was a relative and so I explained who I was and she said he had been in a week but could not give me details. She sounded encouraged that we may come visit. I can’t imagine a week in the ICU with no visitors or family to call.
Dustin, Rachele, Kelly, Jonathan and I drove down to see him shortly after lunch. Once we located his room, the nurses showed us how to scrub up and put on the gowns, gloves and masks. Leonard watched from his bed in surprised expectation! He was definitely happy to have some friendly faces and company. We stayed quite a bit longer than I had planned, but the time went by extremely fast.
Leonard has severe bacterial pneumonia and was taken to the hospital by ambulance from Marlborough Mall where he had collapsed last week. He didn’t know what day it was when he came in or what day it was today. He has unintenionally been detoxing for seven days but didn’t even realize it, he said. If he hadn’t been brought in when he was, he wouldn’t have the second chance that he has been miraculously given.
We talked about many things. About rehab and choices and plans for the future. Leonard has a great opportunity now to make some changes. He wants to go to a rehab facility in St. Albert where he had a good experience. I think it would be good for him to go somewhere local that can set him up with housing afterwards in a place he wants to live. We need God to give the direction there.
Kelly challenged him and encouraged him to make some good decisions. Jonathan reinforced his many good qualities and then asked what his favourite Bible verse was. Leonard said, “John 3:16,” and quoted it. Kelly paraphrased it for him saying,
“For God so loved Leonard that He gave his one and only Son, that if Leonard believes in Him, Leonard will have everlasting life.”
Toward the end of our visit, we circled around him, held hands and Dustin prayed. We would love for you to join in that prayer.
- Pray for Leonard’s healing, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
- Pray that God will direct his path in choosing to make a different life for himself.
- Pray that we will be able to support Leonard in the way he needs us to, not with all the answers, but as friends seeking the best answers with him.
- Pray a prayer of praise for God sparing Leonard’s life.
- Pray that God will speak to Leonard in the quiet moments in the hospital.
We left Leonard with some TV to watch, his brother’s book to read and much to think about. We left our contact info at the nurses station, the only outside contact he has.
I can’t think of any better living out of Isaiah 58 that I have been a part of. It’s hopeful walking with God in these moments of ministry, and you are partners with us through your help with lunches, financial and emotional support as well as your prayers. Through the Calgary Church of Christ, God’s kingdom is becoming known right here.
“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Isaiah 58:6-7