On Saturday, August 27th, I met a man named Charles.
We were at the Detroit CommuniD BBQ location. The lines were long and people were starting to get impatient. A few of us decided to grab some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and hand them out down the line to appease the crowd a bit.
I handed a man one of the sandwiches, to which he replied, “Hey! Where is the meat?”
I quickly fired back, in a humorous fashion, “Don’t complain, its free.”
“Hey!“ he said, a big smile crossed his face. “I like you.” This led to some fun conversation between him, a few others and myself. Eventually I continued to move back down the line. The barbecue was a success as usual. We fed around one hundred people and enjoyed the afternoon with our friends at the park.
Later that afternoon, as things were winding down, Charles walked toward his bike to leave. I came up beside him and thanked him for coming. “I really like how cool you are with everyone down here, you seem so real and genuine. Where do you go to church?” he asked. I told him. “So, you’re all religious people?”
“I don’t think that I am religious.” I responded. “I just have a relationship with God. I talk and pray to God all the time. I am not restricted to rules and regulations I just love Jesus and that is why I do what I do.”
Charles began to really unload on me. He started to share with me about addictions that he has and how he wants to be free from these addictions. He said he believes in God and Jesus but never really knew what to do with all of it. I told him that Jesus can free him from those addictions and change his life around.
I told him that I didn’t always live like I do now and that I have sin and struggles in my life too. I told him that living for God is a daily thing that we have to work at and commit to. I shared some of the testimonies of people in my life that I know that have been freed from addictions by Jesus.
“I really do want to be better,” he said. “But when I went to church a couple times it was so uncomfortable. I really didn’t understand it and how this Jesus thing works.” I asked him If I could pray with him and he agreed. Charles and I took each others hands and I thanked God for Charles and for his life. I thanked God for Charles’s desire to seek him. I prayed for the spirit of addiction to be removed from Charles’s life and for his heart to soften and open to the work God is going to do in his life. I asked God to give Charles ears to hear and eyes to see exactly what he wants him to see. I thanked God for our time together and for the work he is doing in mine and Charles lives.
“I want to thank you for something,” he said. “I want to thank you for showing me how to pray. If I got anything out of today it was learning to pray, thank you.” I told Charles that he can pray anytime and anywhere for anything and God is listening. I then told Charles if he wanted to he could pray right now to ask Jesus into his life. He told me that he wanted to. We joined hands again and Charles prayed for Jesus to forgive him and to come into his life. He also thanked him for his family and the things in his life. He told God that he wanted to do better in his life.
We finished, and with child-like eyes Charles said, “I can’t wait to pray tonight at home! And…and… I want to pray every single day from now on!”
He said he can’t wait to come back and tell me how well he is doing with his drug addiction. I told him that I pray the drugs begin to make him feel sick when he uses them and that the Holy Spirit convicts him when he has drugs around him. I also told him that I pray those people that he uses drugs with start to fall out of his life and good people come into his life to make him better.
Charles and I hugged and he rode off on his bike towards home.
-Story by Heather VanSweringen