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8.8.10

Saved by a Sandwich

I remember the day I met Tom. His sheer size was enough to make a lasting impression on me, he is a very tall man. To be honest he did frighten me at first. He was wearing a black, full length coat and had a dark look about him. Sweat dotted his forehead and his eyes were dull with a very glazed look about them. Slurred speech combined with regular spitting left me praying that saliva didn't land near my mouth and infect me with some sort of disease. I introduced myself to Tom and offered him a sandwich and a cup of coffee, only half a cup of course as he would have spilled it all over himself. I didn't mean this in an insulting way at all, it was just that I had learned to recognise that the shaky hands of a drug addict caused them to spill hot coffee all over the place. I had learned this the hard way, by spending my Sunday mornings wiping up trails of coffee spills all the way from the coffee lounge, down the steps, across the landing, down some more steps and out to the front door of the building. All these things make up the reality of inviting street people into our church.

How did Tom find his way to a church? Through a simple offer of a free sandwich. One of our team found him
huddled on the side of the street suffering from heroine withdrawals. He was shivering partly from the cold and partly from the horrible effects of the drug that had consumed his life. Most of the words said to him that morning were a blur I'm sure, but thankfully he did hear the word sandwich. He was being offered a free sandwich which lead him to our church.

After a few weeks of Tom coming to church he confessed that he felt like a hypocrite. Eric assured him that he was very welcome to only come for the sandwich - no strings attached. He then went on to invite him to join us for the church service if he ever wanted to join us. Tom sensed Eric's sincerity and felt comfortable to stay for the church service. Since that day we have seen God do the most amazing things in Tom's life. He surrendered his life to Jesus, came off drugs & alcohol, got a home and begun the process of rebuilding his life. Eleven weeks after he first walked through the church doors we had the privilege of dedicating his son (in the picture above) to God. It is incredible to see how God has restored Tom's relationship with his son and radically changed this little boy's life.

Only a few short months later Tom was admitted to hospital for an emergency operation. Even though he had begun rebuilding his life, the consequences of years of drug abuse had severely damaged his leg and an immediate amputation was needed to save his life. The frightening truth is that if he was still on the street he would have died that night. God knew this, He knew that if Tom did not come for that free sandwich and start sorting his life out he would not have made it. God knew it would take time for his body to get strong enough to survive surgery. Even though Tom had given up on himself and the world saw him as a lost cause, God loved him and reached out and touched him. It was a very long week that week as Tom was in and out of surgery. At first he was fighting for his life and later the fight was to keep his leg. As the doctors wrestle to save Tom through surgery we wrestled for his life in prayer. The results - LIFE! God yet again saved his life and his leg. Visiting Tom in hospital and seeing him grow as a Christian was incredible. God did something special not only in Tom's body but also in his heart and it was so precious to see.

This isn't where the story ends. Tom has had a life of drugs, prison and all sorts of other "colourful" things. The enemy is not just going to let him go, the truth is Satan wants him back. His testimony is too powerful and his influence amongst the street people of Gloucester is huge. King's Daughters, please will you join me in prayer every day this week for Tom. The enemy wants to kill, steal and destroy this man because of his powerful testimony and his undiscovered potential.

2 comments:

  1. Oh Angela I am writing this comment with tears in my eyes! This is an amazing story and incredible testimony. I commit to praying for him every day this week and every time he comes to mind. Thank you for sharing this and allowing us a glimpse of the ministry that you and your husband have dedicated your lives too...it is beautiful...truly amazing!

    Love you my friend...you are making a difference!

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  2. Thanks so much Jana, and thank you most of all for your prayers, we need so much prayer support for all the precious people that God is bringing our way.

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