Joe grabbed the garbage can from the local park getting ready to dump the contents into the pungent garbage truck, when there it was; an old plastic shopping bag filled with various pieces of paper, each with writing on it. He was Intrigued and something inside told him to look at it further. He put it aside and continued emptying cans till his route was finished.
Tired and not smelling too fresh, he arrived home. His German shepherd greeted him with several licks, rolling over to have her belly scratched. Once she was fed and let out, he sat down and started looking at the bag of papers. The top note said:
Oct 18, 2006
I think my days are at an end, I am very sick. This is my good bye.
How sad, Joe thought; but wait, that is today! He continued to through the scraps of paper. Each one was a receipt tag labeled Blackwell Mission with the date on it. The first one read like this:
Blackwell Mission Ė 4/15/06
Each paper had similar type markings. There were hundreds of them, each with different dates and dollar amounts going all the way back to 1982. In the bottom of the bag, there was a note paper with journal entries written on it.
Oct 5, 1981
Iíve lost my job and my family because of alcohol. Iíve been kicked out of my apartment, so here I live in the woods.
A nice teenager at the Blackwell Mission has been giving me sandwiches and water at night. I really want my drink; itís hard to get money to pay for it. I've started returning bottles and cans for money.
Her name is Cindy, from the mission. She gave me a coat today. She talked to me a little about the bible. She is very kind.
Cindy told me about Jesus today. I prayed, asking him to come into my heart but I donít feel no different.
I am drinking very little alcohol now, I am feeling much better. Cindy and I talk every day. I had to hide from some teenagers on Halloween, but they didnít spot me.
Why Jesus? My beautiful Cindy died in a car accident with a drunk driver. Once again the one I love taken away from me.
I would go to Cindyís funeral but I donít know where it is and I wouldnít want to shame her. I am going to do my best to help others like Cindy did the rest of the time I am here.
Joe got this sick feeling in his stomach. Could that poor woman be out there, alone in the woods dying? He quickly hopped in his truck and went back to the park. He ran through the woods searching until he found a little shack; it was barely standing. He went inside not knowing what to expect, but there she was, a thin elderly woman trembling, laying on an old blanket. He called 911 and held her hand until the paramedics came and took her to the hospital.
He spent that night going through the receipts. He figured out that she gave Blackwell mission over $90,000 in the 24 years she donated to it. Amazing!
The next morning Joe went to the mission and inquired about the donations. Looking at the records, they found that each of her donations was made in the name of Cindy. Joe explained Ellieís situation to the manager. He was so moved, that he opened up a room especially for her at the mission.
She spent her last year there as her health was rapidly failing. Joe and the others loved and cared for her as her family. The Lord took her peacefully in her sleep one night. Her funeral was a beautiful celebration of a humble servantís life. People at her funeral may not have been dressed fancy and there were carnations instead of roses, but she was loved very much by those that attended.
A picture was found of Ellie and Cindy sitting together. Both of these womenís lives intertwined bringing about good results. It was well known that both of them loved Jesus and talked about him everywhere they went and were truly disciples. The little bits of paper left behind by Ellie may have told a story, but to those around her, her life was a manuscript of how to be a servant.
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