Friday, February 7, 2014

Stories from the Mission... bit 41

   I was just sitting in the cafeteria when I head a lady start singing... wow! See, we get volunteers, and she was standing in the severing line, scooping soup for the overnighters, one of six ladies there in the kitchen. She was belting it out like Ella Fitzpatrick! I just had to go over an listen to that Gospel music! She was glowing from ear to ear, happy to be helping, soothing with her song. Many of the volunteer groups come from churches and I have a feeling this church has a wonderful choir. The other night on stage the preacher was from a small affiliated church called New Eden and he brought with him 8 women of the choir from there. When it was their time to sing, they all stood up, got in formation and started clapping and singing a song perfectly together. In crisp, clear unison, clap, stomp, clap, stomp, they sang the Gospel songs like they must have been doing for years... you just had to be there!
   New guy Fred (Friedo) is really cool, he makes you feel good just by talking with you. Pastor Green has such trust in him that he has put him in Unschalcked after being here only two weeks! the guy just grows on you. This part was written 8 hours after that last, in the midst of Praise and testimony, Martin came to a group of us and asked if we'd help out in the overflow area. Overflow is in the day room where the overnight guests sit that can't fit into the main auditorium, so they get a service too. Dave and I say yes right away and head out with Martin, and Fred joins us. I slap him on the back in the hall way and say, "I should have known you'd help out." In the day room, there is no stage for us to be on, so we are at the same level as the guys, it's much more informal and personal. The four of us lead the hymns like we knew what we where doing, Victory in Jesus, Nothing but the blood and Amazing Grace. Then, Martin has Fred get up and do a testimony and the guy is just so personal and real, leaning forward on the podium, he tells of how he ran through all of his money getting drunk. Sold an air-conditioner off his house, and woke up at a bad motel. He walked down the street, saw a church and went in. They gave him bus fair to the mission, and he is making a come back now. The preacher that was supposed to be there didn't show up, so Martin opened his Bible and read through a chapter in Mark. He didn't necessary preach, but told it in a sing songy way like a story, relating it to us in an awesome way. Martin works down in Unshackeled and reminds me of Mr. Sulu from Star Trek, kind of a syrupy voice and gestures.
   Humans are odd creatures. They stand around and project vibrations from the breathing hole at eachother for long periods of time. It might be communication.
   Politics. Some people see the left, the Liberals, some people see the right, the Republicans. Me, I see and up and a down. Look at the Cross, he has nails in his Left hand and in his Right hand while his feet have a nail being held by satan. Neither party can really help us, the only direction I see that can help is upwards to God.
   Johny is quick to provoke, but also quick to forgive. Then there is old Mike, a bitter man, his face pulled down by the perfect furrows along the sides of his nose to the sides of his chin, a living caricature of a Charles Dickens school marm if she was Black. he had long ago been in a terrible car accident and had related to everyone how it had peeled the skin off his face and had many surgeries to fix it. he also had a knack of throwing smack around that would have gotten it peeled off again if he was out on the street. He and Johnny got into it one night up in dorm 3026 and the anger was flying like bats out of a cave. Explosions of insults, deep digs and tellings off erupted for what seemed like an hour. The next day Johnny apologized to me and a few other guys about the way he acted, he doesn't want to be that way anymore. It happened again a few days later, but this time Mike got put overnight, which means he had to stay with the overnight guests for a few days off the program. One of the conditions of his return was Pastor Green had him stand up in front of the 8:00 class and apologize in the auditorium. he made a decent speech, but what really made my day was that Johnny came up from the back of the class, walked across the front of the room and gave him a big ol hug to show forgiveness! The whole class got up and cheered. A few weeks later and old Mike was gone, he just couldn't let go of his bitterness and humble himself.
   Security Mike on the other hand is a stocky, jolly fellow and very easy going. One night before search we where at the abandoned kiosk on the second floor. He waked over to a beat up office chair and plodded down on it. Seems it didn't have any screws left holding it to the base, so he promptly and in slow motion rolled backwards and over sideways onto the ground, landing like a sack of sand. All was quiet for a few seconds till he let out a good natured, slow laugh. It has to be one of the funniest moments I have had here!

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