A testimony from this past week for staff to pray into along with us. Yesterday as Leah and I packed up the Acorn House van with James’s belongings that we laundered for him as he recuperated for 3 nights, we were full of hope and expectation for the day that was laid out before us. Each meal that we took to James we encountered a different experience. We got a room with two bed for two men, yet James never left the room. Each time we came back there was a different man tweaking in the room while James laid in bed barely moving. Still from James having a temporary refuge, dependent upon us for meals, whomever was in proximity of him was blessed largely as well.
Each meal was a lavished meal that came with cold weather gear, new boots and provision. By the end of the 3rd night I knew that James health was in need of serious attention. A retired doctor from Lone Oak Christian Church joined us yesterday morning. While Leah & Connie focused on a guy named “ Boston” whom had squared in the room, getting him to move his piles of belongings to the street so that we could prepare to check out, doctor Tom began to give James a look over.
He has a hernia that’s 3inx6in and a few inches thick that protrudes from his hip to groin. He has bone decay on his right hip that makes each step excruciating. He has multiple broken teeth and frostbite on his hands. As we were loading up the van and proceeding to check out James finally consented to going to see a physician about his ailments.
As the room was inspected the manager was going to refuse the return of our deposit due to some damage and the dog the squatter had. However as we shared our heart and vision with her, she then in turn told her testimony of being homeless in Ohio and how she was taken in by the church and was placed firm back on her feet again. She allowed us to keep our deposit and shared hope with us.
We proceeded to Olive Garden where Connie Jenkins lavished everyone with food. Yet each bite was excruciating for James as tears welled up and run down his face. To sit and watch this 58 yr old man in a restaurant just weep in pain and possibly shame was much. We didn’t stay long before we knew that we needed to get him to a clinic asap.
I made it to Urgent Care, where the nurse practitioner informed us that she couldn’t do much for him and that he needed to go to the ER. The thing is that each time an ambulance or ER was mentioned over those past 3 days that he would begin to get volatile in his speech and mannerisms. Still I reassured him that I would be his advocate and that he would not be left alone. I took him to the JC Med Center and made our way inside. This is where he bags to make a scene little by little.
They took him into triage quickly and once they tried to take his blood pressure he got violent and began to cuss each of the nurses in the room. Next they tried to draw blood and he go up pushing furniture and stormed out. As I followed him the police officers on duty did as well. He continued walking across the parking lot cussing and screaming. I finally had to get stern with him to get him loaded back into the van. We proceeded to go back to the parking lot behind of the John Sevier Center.
As I pulled in there was a Second Harvest Food Bank truck issuing our food boxes and he instantly made his way over there. I began to unload his shopping cart and all of the new belongings folks from The Altar supplied him with. He then just laid our a pile of clothes, laid on the ground crying and covered himself up with a trench coat and wept. He laid there for hours & all I knew to do was just cover him up with a few more blankets. As I drover home I felt anger, grief and even grace wash over me.
I understand many will never return from the streets, yet I desire to have a place that they can find hope. Even in addiction I want to feed them and offer them a seat at the table. Even in their trauma and rage I want to give them a place to sleep for a few nights as they try and figure out what their next move is. We have a few places that offer services, but I know that there needs to be more.
Face to face in a warm outfit as they find the opportunity to heal, share their story and rest. To know their names, needs and what they once dreamed for. To connect them with family and find a home to be seen and heard is so desperately needed.
As Leah and I pray into the next year for The Acorn House and work with Bruce to share our heart we are now feeling the fire that our vision of The Acorn House was but a fragment of something bigger. This is our 4th year of homeless ministry and after this past week something is shifting. So today I ask you all to come along beside of use to pray, dream and believe that there is another 99 hat needs leaving and the 1 is right before our face.
Your friend & brother, Michael Turley