Earlier this week I had the pleasure of meeting Christopher. Judging by the picture, this is his first time seeing a camera 😉 . I saw Chris standing on the same corner that I met Erik on during last weeks post (I feel like God makes it easy for me to find these people to approach, I always pray before I head out, and he always provides).
I walked up to Chris, shook his hand, and introduced myself. I asked if I could buy him some food, or something to drink and sit, and get to know him for a bit. Chris had just eaten food he bought with the little money he had, so I went and grabbed some cold drinks for us and a little cash to leave him with. When I returned, Chris looked very happy to see me. We grabbed a spot in some shade by the freeway and begin to talk.
Chris is 27 years old and was born in Tucson Arizona. He was raised by his family here in Mesa and went to several different high schools growing up. Chris has 2 brothers and 1 sister and loves his family very much.
Unfortunately Chris, like many people do, struggles with a drug addiction. That’s why I believe he isn’t living at home with his family. It’s not that they don’t love him, but they can’t stand to see him do that to himself while under their roof ( thats just speculation though). He goes to see them weekly, and I wondered why he didn’t just stay at their place, but I didn’t push for answers. After getting his G.E.D Chris got into some trouble and had to spend 2 YEARS in prison here in Arizona.
Something I thought Chris told me that was interesting, is that he has only driven a car 1 time in his life, and only for about half a mile. Chris is a very friendly person and we had no problems holding a good conversation. I asked Chris what he thinks would be a good job for him, or what interests him. Anything to get him off the streets would be better than the current situation was my thinking. He wanted to become a janitor after high school, “maybe at an airport” he said. I encouraged Chris to continue to pursue that option, I told him there is always work in that industry and it wouldn’t be hard to find something if he applied himself. We talked about possibly going to “goodwill” where they have a program helping young adults get into a paying job.
Even though Chris has made some poor choices, (like we all have) he is an amazing young man. He often picks up trash along the roads and freeways to help clean the area. We joked that’s his janitorial side coming out in him. When Chris stands out there like I saw him the other day, in need of money or food, he doesn’t just ask for help like some. He asks if he can do yard work or anything to actually “earn” his money and says he doesn’t always feel comfortable just accepting things without repaying them.
Before I left, we talked about Jesus a little bit, and how even though when going through difficult time’s the Lord never forgets or turns his back on us. Chris believes in God and Jesus but has never read much of the Bible. I showed Chris in the bible I gave him the Gospels of “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John”. I told him the New Testament was a great place to start and a little easier to read than the old. I also was able to give Chris a “Hygiene bag” made by some of my family members to give out on my encounters. It’s filled with essential things like chap-stick and deodorant and what not. I also had a new pair of sunglasses to give him. Chris got the hook up that day and was extremely grateful for everything.
It’s sad that sometimes we let things in life hold us back from our true potential. Sometime’s its not an easy thing to admit, that we could be better off if we changed our lifestyle or attitudes. One thing we must realize is that, IT IS a choice. You can completely change your life by making positive decisions. You will never be perfect, but you should always strive to be better. Being able to spend time with Chris was amazing. I feel extremely blessed to be able to go out and meet these genuine and kind people. Next time you pass someone on the corner asking for money, remember that we’ve all struggled and we are all human. Show some kindness and love to random people, people in need, people hungry for Jesus. You WILL make a difference by doing so, even if you never even know. After all the little things in life don’t just mean something… they mean EVERYTHING.