I have dedicated my life to prayer and ministry but there are rare moments where the two fall into my lap. But this is not a story about me. This is a story about a man named Andre.
Tonight I was leaving a meeting (a meeting I almost didn’t go to because traffic made me 15 minutes late) about homelessness in Baltimore County. It was at the Catholic church in Cockeysville and I stayed a little after with some folks from my church to talk about a soup kitchen project we are thinking of starting and some other ideas with the presenters. Then, we left out the wrong door.
I had parked in the front, so had the two parishioners I had walked out with but none of us knew this as we talked in the back parking lot. Just as we were leaving a man named Andre walked up. Andre is about 6’7″ and said that the church people had told him there was a boy scout meeting going on. I looked at the building there was a light on upstairs. “Maybe, but I don’t know anything about it”
“Oh,” he said, “I was just looking for somebody to pray with me.”
“Well I’ll pray with you, what’s going on?”
Andre then told us that he had recently lost both his parents and he moved up here with his 4 boys and were living with a friend. They could stay as long as he had a job. Tonight he was out of money and wouldn’t be able to get to work and would therefore be fired. So he left the house, hoping for something, anything. He walked to a church near where he was staying and knocked on the door. He heard voices inside and knocked louder. When a woman came to the door he asked if there was someone who could pray with him. She said no and told him to get off the church property.
Not knowing what to do now, desperate and alone, Andre started walking to the train tracks. He figured someone would take care of his boys if he were gone. He figured someone, anyone could do it better than him, so he was walking to the train tracks to kill himself. On the way, he say the Catholic Church we were having our meeting in and when he knocked on the church doors someone told him there was a meeting across the street in the Parish Hall.
The three of us prayed with Andre, we prayed that he stay safe, feel hope, for his boys and that for God’s sake he get some help. We pooled together our money (well my parishioners did, because I didn’t have any cash) it was all of $32. But it was enough to get him a bus pass for the week. One of my parishioners also gave him some additional information to get some help that was literally next door, a project the local churches support (http://ucanmd.org/)
I left Andre in the care of my two parishioners who were taking him to the Light Rail station to get him to work. But I’m worried, I’m afraid for Andre. I’m afraid it wasn’t enough, that he will give up anyway. So please, right now, please pray for Andre, pray that he is safe tonight, that he finds a way, that he lives to receive the help that is out there for him.