Saturday, May 10, 2008

Praying for Andrew--posted by Mom

Early this week I began asking the children, as we begin our evening prayers, "Who do you think needs us to pray for them right now?" and have continued this as a nightly custom. Although our 5 -year-old daughter immediately knew what I meant and suggested the names of several people, our 2-year-old twins at first didn't know what I meant. But on the second or third evening, when I asked the prayer question, Nathan replied, "An-doo." I had no idea what he was talking about. I asked him several times before I realized he was saying, "Andrew."

On Sunday, as we drove to church, there was a man standing on the corner with the familiar cardboard sign asking for help. We routinely give money to people standing on street corners, holding up cardboard signs asking for money. I realize that many people do not give money, for many reasons. Some feel that the money will just be used for drugs or alcohol. Some feel that it doesn't provide any more than a band aid to a larger problem and that by giving to larger, homeless aid organizations, they are doing their part to alleviate the suffering of homelessness. I'm sure there are many other reasons. We have prayerfully decided to give small amounts of money to people standing on the street corner. We'll never know what it will be spent on, but hope it will be used for food or shelter. Perhaps not. Jesus fed the hungry. Since we don't carry food around with us, we will simply give the hungry the respect of giving them the ability to buy the kind of food that they need, knowing that they may choose badly.

I don't remember exactly what Sunday morning's sign said, except that it first asked for prayers and then asked for money. When we are with our children and see homeless people we talk to the children about our basic belief that everyone belongs to God and what this means to us. So this Sunday we pointed out to the children that the man was there, asking for help, and discussed what we could do to help him. It was only a couple of blocks from our church and there was no way for us to get to him from our car across the busy intersection. So we parked at church and Sayer ran back to talk with him. Sayer stayed only briefly because he knows that standing around and talking for too long is "bad for business"--he wouldn't be given any money by anyone else while Sayer was standing there talking with him.

They talked briefly. Sayer learned that his name is Andrew and more about his journey. He mentioned Jeremiah 29:11 and that God has plans for him that are giving him hope. Sayer gave him a few words of encouragement and then asked him what he wanted us to pray for on his behalf. He prayed with him, gave him a small amount of money, and joined us at church. That night we prayed for him, as we told him we would.

Several days later, when I had asked the children who needed our prayer, Nathan said, "An-doo," over and over again until I understood. I am humbled by Nathan's developing sense of compassion. I could have received no better Mother's Day gift.
- Heidi