Larry Trent often lets me share the stories he writes about the people whom he meets in Los Angeles, in Mexico, in Arizona .. all the spaces he wanders seeking folks to help just a little … it is in me to want to make a point with this human and holy story, but I cannot. It just is the story.
I stopped at a Wendy’s on Speedway to buy myself a Frosty. After my giant lunch, I didn’t really want dinner. I knew this would get me through until morning.
There was a man sitting outside that I assumed to be homeless. (He was). When I said hello to him, he asked if I would buy him something to eat. I said sure. I invited him to come inside and order what he wanted. I got my Frosty; he ordered burger, fries and coke.
He was going to sit at a table and eat. I asked if I could join him. His name is Andrew. And is 40 years old. He was working for Caterpillar but was laid off. Ultimately this led to his homelessness.
Andrew and I chatted for about 45 minutes. He was very interested in what I was doing at the border.
Somehow we got around to talking about church. He told me a story from his childhood. He grew up in a rural area with a river running through the neighborhood. When he was 9 years old he and his brother were playing in the yard. He heard music at the river. He said, “then I saw this big light appear over the river that spoke to me. The voice said, go to the river”.
He continued to tell me of taking his three year old brother by the hand and going to the river. There folks were being baptized in the river. He just stepped into the river and let them baptize both him and his brother. He said I accepted Jesus as my Savior.
When he got home his Father was furious and “whipped my ass”. He said, “ I didn’t understand if Jesus was my savior, why he didn’t save me from this “ass beating”. He says he never wanted anything to do with Jesus again.