Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Unsung Hero (12/07/06)
TITLE: Unlikely Hero
By Al Boyce
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We were trying to find a halfway house for two homeless men with substance-abuse problems. They interviewed at an Oxford House and one of them -- Ricky -- was accepted. In exchange, Ricky got to go to two-a-day mandatory AA/NA meetings on top of his fulltime job, making child-support payments and $86 a week in rent.
Ricky probably met Danny that first day at the Oxford House. Or at least Danny had his eye on Ricky then.
After a couple of weeks, Ricky hauled Danny to our church to meet "mom and dad," as he likes to call us. Ricky is still getting over the scars left by his real parents and took to our family like a fish returned to the water when we had him stay with us for a couple of weeks.
You could see the wheels turning when Danny scoped us out, first at church, then during lunch at our home with assorted other homeless men and women.
Danny, a recovering addict himself, is short on stature but long on compassion. It wasn't long before he started bringing us things for the homeless, including the occasional dollar or two to help out.
When we were openly wondering how we could get someone from our church to take over the ministry for a week when we were away in Florida, it was Danny who stepped forward with his own fully hatched plan. He agreed to shadow us on our rounds, shepherding Ricky at the same time. He agreed to write notes to the 30 homeless folks we see, to personally deliver bags of groceries to their camps, to shuttle those willing to church and back to the Oxford House for lunch on Sunday.
When Ricky backslid, Danny was there to track him down and bring him back. When a volunteer couldn't show up, Danny was there to do double duty in the homeless ministry. And Danny took it upon himself to bring others from the Oxford House to experience the joy of giving unconditional love. He counseled those suffering from depression to "get outside themselves" and give to others to forget their pain and get to know the Lord.
Danny has been baptized now and officially joined our church. He attends a men's Bible study, the Thursday night homeless Bible study and still helps with the Sunday rounds.
I'm sure he doesn't consider himself a hero, even though you can just make him out in a photograph in a local magazine -- even though his picture has been on an Internet website -- even though his example has touched literally hundreds of people who thought they were too busy, or too poor, or too sinful to be used by God.
Sooner or later he'll see this article. He'll grin that self-effacing grin, eyes darting between us just in case we're playing a joke.
We'll insist he keep a copy of it, just in case he ever forgets that's he's our hero.
And a man after God's own heart.
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