JOSIE & GENE – AN UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP
Michele Jancola

Has God ever made it really apparent to you that you were supposed to reach out to someone and get involved in their lives, but it felt a little scary or uncomfortable? Maybe it was because they were not like you or maybe it was because you saw the real possibility of being used or rejected by them. Sometimes God does ask us to do things that are outside our comfort zone and maybe a little scary. For a biblical example read the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.  Here is a similar story that Josie Smallwood shared with me:

“Years ago, I became curious about a homeless man in Renton. I had seen this unkempt, old man, shuffling along carrying full plastic bags in his hands. I just said hello and gave him a little change. Little did I know then the plans God had in store. About a year after my initial encounter with him, I felt a nudge to find this man. This didn’t make sense at all to me. I hadn’t seen him recently and figured he had likely moved on or passed away. I battled these thoughts, and eventually decided  to “make a deal” with God. If I saw him in the next 24 hours, I would know it was God asking me to connect. And if not, then it was ok to let it go. Well, it was clearly God asking me to connect with this man, because I saw him the very next day. I sighed to God in resignation, “OK!!! I’ll do it!” I would not have befriended this man on my own, but I followed the Holy Spirit’s lead and introduced myself. Come to find out, this man was truly living in the dirt and was isolated from other people. He had no real connection to people or services that could help him. His name is Gene, and now he has a friend, me.

I don’t know what God’s ultimate plans for Gene are, as the hurdles seem to be insurmountable. But Gene was not forgotten by God and he used me to let Gene be known, connect him to resources, and have a safe place to live. He has come to church at Highlands with me and my husband multiple times now. I feel truly blessed to be used as the hands and feet of Jesus. This experience has grown my faith, as I now believe in a God that can do anything. We just need to submit to His authority in our lives, trust and obey Him.”

When we come across someone who needs our help, do we look at the person as a subject to discuss, a problem to be avoided, someone to use or exploit, a customer to serve, or simply another human being, created in the image of God to be cared for and loved?

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