Sometimes our work serving the homeless in south Tel Aviv can be intense and emotionally challenging, but I have learned that God always gives us grace to continue in the calling He has given us. He repeatedly shows us that what we are doing is making a difference. Here is an example.
Each month we prepare 1,400 hot, home-cooked meals to serve the homeless. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time in the supermarket. The past several months I noticed that a young Arab man who worked at the meat counter would go out of his way to give me wonderful service. He always smiled at me, almost like he knew me, and made sure I was getting what I needed, even if he wasn’t serving me directly.
One very rainy day in Tel Aviv, I was doing the shopping during a downpour and I practically had the place to myself. When I got to the meat counter, the polite young man was there to greet me with a smile.
“You don’t recognize me, do you?” he asked me. I told him that I didn’t. “I’m not surprised,” he replied. “The last time you saw me was a year ago. There was a rainstorm like this, and I was lying like a dog in the street. You and your people brought me hot tea, soup, warm clothes and a sleeping bag.”
I was shocked. The young man standing before me was tall, handsome and looked healthy. I remembered that night and, back then, he was a shadow of the man standing before me.
“I will never forget what you all did for me,” he said. “The love and kindness you showed me stirred something up in me, and that night I vowed to get off the street.” He then explained to me how he has a daughter and that for her sake, he is making this great effort.’
Each time I go into that store, I ask him how he is doing. He is grateful for his job which keeps him busy during the week, but he said that the weekends are difficult because he is alone. Every few months he cracks and goes down to south Tel Aviv for a hit of drugs. When he shared this, I asked, “Do you remember what we talked to you about that night last year?” I reminded him that we told him about the love of God. This young man is from a Muslim background, and God is giving grace on how to share the Messiah in a way that will reach him. Please keep him in your prayers!
Praise God for His goodness and faithfulness to save the lost and to bless us so deeply by giving us glimpses of the fruit that comes from seeds of the gospel we have sown!