Help one person at a time and always start with
the person nearest you.'
The date was DECEMBER 1, 2013.
I was late already.
I rushed down from the bus, quickening my pace as Church was two minutes away, when he asked ‘Please, sister, I need water?’
I looked at him. He was old, disheveled, a yellow dirty bag lay by his side and he was eating rice from a black polythene bag.
I looked at him and honestly, my first thought was to give him some money to buy water, but instead, I heard myself say, ‘Sir, where do they sell water around here?’
He pointed at a direction and I bought him a bottle of water. He smiled and said, ‘Thank You’ and God placed this question in my heart for him ‘Sir’, I said, ‘Would you like to come to church? My Church isn't far from here. It’s at city mall and the people there are really friendly and they would welcome you’. He looked at me, smiled and said ‘Yes. I would like to come, as soon as I am done eating’. I smiled and said ‘Thank you’ and hurried on.
As I walked into City Mall, I felt something holding my steps. I couldn't move.
This conversation was going in my head- ‘What if he comes and is turned away because he is not dressed like the rest of us?’ What if he forgets to come? What if he doesn’t find the church?’
I ran out of the gate as fast as I can, back to the old man.
He was surprised to see me again and I said ‘I’m sorry to be a bother but God wants me to wait for you’. He looked at me again; eyebrows raised, smiled and said ‘Ok’.
I stood beside him as he ate. A guy passed and asked if there were any problems and I said, ‘Oh, I’m waiting for my friend so we can go to church’. He shook his head and went on. Another friend from church saw me there and asked what was going on and I said ‘I’m waiting for a new friend so we can go to church’.
I called a friend in church, Collins and told him I was bringing a friend. I was so happy.
When he was done, he washed his spoon, drank some water and said let’s go.
I told him my name and he said ‘He is Christopher’. He could speak so well and I wondered what an intelligent, English speaking old man like that was doing on the streets.
We walked into church together.
When we entered into the church, due to the cold temperature of the place, his smell became prominent. Everyone turned back to look at us. I noticed that a few people were uncomfortable, maybe surprised, but some were really happy to see him.
Honestly, at some point, I became worried and thought ‘what if this wasn't from God?’ I noticed that he was coughing profusely and I worried that his cough was contagious. I also worried that he would harm us. But through the worrying, I still felt Gods peace. A son was home.
I sat with him and tried to explain what was going on.
But it was like he already knew.
My heart sang every time he sang along to the worship songs and knelt to pray, I praised God for him and prayed that He and God become friends again.
My church has this tradition where first timers were welcomed and he was really welcomed. The church family shook his hands and prayed with him.
After church, he was served some cake and he answered the alter call to receive Our Lord Jesus in his life.
My friend, Collins, whom I had called earlier wanted to meet my new friend and he actually thought it was the well-dressed man seated by my side. When I pointed to Mr. Christopher, he said ‘How? Where did you find him?’
A few folks in church asked who he was and I said ‘My friend’.
Collins, Tony (Collins friend) and I saw Mr. Christopher off to the bus stop. I wanted to treat Mr. Christopher to some meal at KFC but I had little money, well, I thought to myself ‘Maybe, next time, at least, he found God, and that’s Ok’.
Collins paid his transport fare to ‘somewhere’ and he kept muttering to himself, all smiles… ‘All I asked for was water….God eh.’
Tony and Collins walked me back to take a BRT bus home, when Tony said ‘I saw him also and he asked me for water, but I did not look at him. It was a huge surprise seeing him at church. I don’t like helping people but this experience has inspired me. You are so brave’.
I told him to give God glory and that as Christians, we are called to love and be the hands and feet of Christ. I told him that it was God who helped me.
That night, when I got home, I kept seeing Mr. Christopher’s face and I had the kind of peace described in Phillipians 4:7.
I told a few friends and some said ‘He could be an angel’, another said ‘I should find time to hear his story. Really, what is a man like that doing on the street? Another said ‘That’s love. Hopefully we’ll take him out someday’.
Well on DECEMBER 8, I couldn’t attend church and Collins called me at night with some good news.
The conversation went like this ‘How are you?’ He asked. ‘I dey’ I replied. ‘Guess what?’ he continued, ‘Mr. Christopher was in church today. Infact, he comes for midweek services. That man is clean. He has shaved his hair and beards and not smelly and wears clean cloths. He was asking for his friend- You’.
I was so happy. If I was that happy, I can imagine God and his angels and our Lord Jesus having a party for this son.
I am still humbled at this miracle.
Today, when I think of it....My heart swells with Joy at the way God gives us beautiful encounters.
I've learned to show love. Infact, nowadays, I look for opportunities to walk the love talk. I've learnt to never look down on people and to let God use me the way he wants.
I pray this story encourage you like it did me.
You never know, you might entertain an angel without knowing it.
I haven't seen Mr. Christopher since, I don't know his story, But I know that wherever He is, God is with Him.
The Poet Rumi says- "Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder." Reach out to someone, make them smile or laugh, or help them out with something.