Update on Ramone: Life has its ups and downs. Ramone is learning that just because you are a Christian doesn't mean that your life gets any easier or that you are exempt from mistakes. This morning his mother attended church with him. I praise God for beginning the healing process in their relationship!
Please excuse the picture above, by the way. It is an internet picture very similar to the set-up at Joe's Bridge. I will get you a real picture the next time I go out to visit them!
I prayed silently to God that he give me the words to use with Jackie. After all, she had a STRONG personality. Jackie began speaking of her vision for a "clean team". She and other homeless folks could clean houses for money, so that her and Robert could have an apartment. It's legitimate and it gets her and her husband off of the street. Matt pointed out, "Jackie I think people in church would help you with that, but you have to sober up first."
Jackie had tears in her eyes. "Do you really think so?" she replied.
"Yes, but don't expect people to let you clean their house while you are still drinking. People need to see a pattern of improvement to trust you." He had a good point. People want to help, but they don't want to be taken advantage of.
I asked her softly, "Jackie, are you an alcoholic?" She erupted in anger, talking about different homeless people and how much worse their situations are. I tried again, "I'm not asking about them. I want to know about you. Are you an alcoholic?"
"Well yes, of course I am. We all are." Joe nodded in agreement.
"Do you think God wants you to drink?"
Again Jackie erupted in anger. She talked about this guy and that guy. Again I said, "I'm not asking about them. Do you think God wants YOU to drink?"
"Well of course he doesn't", she surrendered.
"Then the question is, do you want to please him or not?"
Jackie stopped talking. God was talking to her now, and it was time for me to shut up. When we prayed, all four of us took a turn. Jackie and Robert wept the whole time. I was inspired by their prayers, and walked away from the bridge again feeling priveledged to have been there.
A few days later, Matt called me with incredible news. Jackie and Robert had a spiritual experience. Both had come to the conclusion that it was God's will for their life to get sober. Jackie's primary motivation? She wants to help her friends on the street, and she know's that she won't be able to until she is clean. They decide to enter detox centers seperately. There is only one problem. Jackie has an outstanding warrant for "signing" or panhandling. She must turn herself in at the downtown Harris county jail and spend a few days there in order to be admitted into detox. Jackie prayed about it, and took the 5AM bus into downtown and turned herself in.
Nobody could believe that she went through with it. Jackie took everyone by surprise, even the police officers! Ramone told her that she was an inspiration. She is out of jail now and taking the right steps towards sobriety. I continue to pray for Jackie and Robert. I pray that God will bless their marriage, and I pray that God would use them both as a powerful Living Witness. I know that God has plans for some of the people we are reaching out to. One day God will use them in an even greater way than he uses me.