Just as I was about to walk out the basement door this evening, I saw a young lady walking up to the same door. She had a depressed, sad face about her. I opened the locked door and asked her, “Can I help you?” She looked down as if somewhat embarrassed, as she told me she was trying to make it home and needed help. I asked her where home is, “Texas” she replied. I then told her what we usually tell folks who stop by, many of them needing gasoline in their car. “Tell you what…why don’t you get in your car and follow me to the gas station at the corner and I will fill your tank for you.” She looked up just for a moment, not exactly how to tell me her need. I could see that tears were beginning to form in her eyes. She said, “Well, um I just filled it up and…..(she paused, thinking) …I don’t know how to ask for it….I’ll need gas after this tank is empty.” “Oh, ok. Well, let me run upstairs real quick and let’s see what we can do..”
I left her standing in the shade of the wooden fire escape and ran upstairs to where I knew we kept a little cash, but there wasn’t very much there at all. I thought to myself, “If only we had some type of gas card, or pre-filled credit card…” It was then the Holy Ghost reminded me of where I could find a $50 Visa card. It was in my wallet. It was a gift from one of the members at Bethel that I had hung on to since Christmas. I had just recently remembered it was there and it was one of those that I had to go online and activate it with a PIN. I chose 1611, (what else, right?). “Should I do this??, I said to myself. “This was a gift to me from someone, I hope they understand.”
I wrote the amount and the PIN on a sticker label that was still on the card, and took it back down stairs. I opened the door and handed it to her, and I recalled an event out of my past that broke up the tension of her receiving this gift. “Years ago, when my wife and I were just starting out, we were really struggling, and wasn’t sure if we could pay our bills. A man that I had known at Bethel all of my life came to our house one day, and handed me a check for $350. As I stood there and cried, he said to me ‘Mike, I know you well enough to know that you will do the same for someone in need.’ ” “I never forgot that, and I always try to help out those who ask.” By this time the tears were rolling down her cheeks. “I can tell that something is really bothering you,” I told her. She nodded her head, and cried some more. “There’s $50 on this card, the PIN is on the label, just about any place will accept this card for payment. Where exactly are you going?” “Just about 30 miles south of Galveston,” she said. I have been to Galveston before, and I knew that it would be a miracle if that $50 actually got her there, it is quite a long distance away. I gave her our church business card and said, “Our church website is on here, I would like for you to watch our services from time to time, we stream them live and you can watch them wherever you are. What is your name, by the way?” “Ashley,” she replied. “Ok Ashley, I am going to pray for you today, and if it is ok with you, I am going to ask people around the world to pray for you, is that alright with you?” She nodded, thanked me, and went to her car.
I don’t know where she is right now, but I have prayed more than once that she would make it to her destination, that she would listen to one our messages, that God would be kind and compassionate to her and save her, and she would remember this as long as she lives. Maybe she will help someone in need in years to come.
By the way, the Lord reminded me that just yesterday I found an envelope on my desk. It was from one of our extended families. There was a note with it that said something like, “Pastor, this money is for you. Take Sweety Pie out, or do whatever you want with it.” It was $50.
Pray for Ashley.