I have told precious few stories about the people in the street ministries I’m involved with or asked my readers to pray for individuals. It’s not that there haven’t been lots of needs out there – LOTS! – I just haven’t taken the time to share them. I’ll share one here, a particularly extraordinary one, with both terrific and tragic components to it.
Since he gave me permission I’m gonna use his actual street name and the picture I took of him at our last Bible Study where we sent him off to prison! I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll begin at the beginning, his new beginning I mean.
Kenai, who’s 43, had a radical conversion to Jesus a few months ago in Golden Gate Park. Though my friends and I had some small part in it, no one actually led him to the Lord. He was sitting in the park, furious at a friend who had done him dirty, musing about how to get back at him, when he “heard” God speak to him something like: “You need to forgive and love him. I love and forgive you, and your sins against me are way worse than his against you!” He says he didn’t hear it audibly, but he “heard” it. It wasn’t just a thought, but a voice!
That was the beginning of him finding Jesus – more like, letting Jesus find him. Since then he’s been clean and sober, has read most of the New Testament, got baptized at a summer camp for Christian nomads, and has shared his testimony with a bunch of others in the park who are just like him. It’s been terrific to watch him grow like a weed. He’s been going to church every week, attending this Bible Study that I teach for homeless people, served tirelessly doing repairs and construction at the Outer Circle house and the church building, and asking a myriad of questions about the Bible and how best to live for Christ. The last question he asked me was about fasting. How many new believers have fasting on their radar?
Some years ago, in violation of his probation, Kenai came out West on the lam from a Texas penitentiary. A couple of months into his new walk with Jesus he came to the conclusion that he needed to go back, turn himself in, and do the rest of the time he owed. Even though he didn’t know how much they’d give him, he just knew that the Lord wanted him to do it at whatever the cost. The pastor bought him a bus ticket, our Bible Study members laid hands on him, and off he went to the Amarillo prison.
When he got there just a couple of days ago, on his way to the Sheriff’s office, he had a tragic accident. He was on foot literally two blocks from the Sheriff’s office waiting for a train to pass. The train had been parked across the road for twenty minutes when he decided to climb in between two cars. All of a sudden it started up again and trapped his foot in the coupling, dragging him about 300 yards. His foot was so mangled that they had to amputate all of his toes on that foot and plan to take the rest of it, possibly past the ankle today. He made contact with the Sheriff from there, and as far as I can tell his legal status is on hold while he recuperates.
We’ve all gotten quite close to Kenai and have considered his experience with Jesus totally genuine and his passion to serve God and others an authentic result of his new love for God. We’re all quite concerned for him physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He’s been growing in his faith by leaps and bounds, did the noble thing by returning to pay his debt to society, and then this happens. When I called him at the hospital today he blew my mind with the spirit of peace he displays. Repeatedly he assured me not to worry about him and that he trusted that the Lord had a plan for his good! I don’t often hear seasoned saints talk with such spiritual poise.
Please pray for our brother to recover as quickly as possible – and beyond what’s possible. Over the last few weeks he never asked that we pray for mercy from the Texas court, but that God’s will would be done, whatever it might be. Nevertheless, especially now, I’m praying for as light a sentence as he can legally receive, for his faith to continue to be unshaken, and his body to heal quickly.
Will you pray with me for Kenai?