My husband Ed and I recently drove to Phoenix, Arizona from Wellington, Colorado for a weeks vacation. As we were packing the car for the trip we made sure that we also packed some blessing bags just in case we ran into someone who needed some help. It was on our return trip home on a Sunday afternoon that we stopped in Las Vegas, New Mexico for some lunch. We love trying small non-chain restaurants and this one was just what we were looking for. It was downtown Las Vegas and Las Vegas, New Mexico is not anything at all like Las Vegas, Nevada. It is a very small town and so we were able to pull up right in front of the restaurant. The minute we stepped out of our car a man crossed the street and in a very loud voice, almost yelling, began to ask us for some money for church on Sunday. He was becoming very animated and each word out of his mouth was getting louder and louder. He kept telling us he needed money for church. It is not our custom to give people money when they ask for help but we knew that we had to give this man something. I remembered the blessing bags that we had in the car and so I told him to wait where he was for just a minute. I walked the short distance back to our car, unlocked it and reached in for the blessing bag. I quickly walked back to the man who was still loudly asking for money. I handed him a blessing bag and told him we hoped that this would help him out. His demeanor quickly changed from being animated and loud to peaceful and quiet. He was intrigued with the blessing bag and kept turning it over and looking at it to see what was inside. He quietly said thank you and then walked away very content with the blessing bag we had given him. I have to honestly say that in all our encounters with homeless individuals, this was the first time that I felt very uneasy and uncomfortable. He was so animated, so loud and so determined that we give him some money. I was very grateful that he was so very happy with the blessing bag that we gave him. It was a reminder to me of how much truth there is in the Bible. Proverbs 15:1 tells us that "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh words stirs up anger". Our gentle words and actions truly helped this man to become instantly calm. I also realized that this man didn't necessarily want money, even though that was what he was asking for. What this man really wanted was someone to care about him. It reinforced our belief that human kindness goes a long way in relieving stress and anger. In our short encounter with this animated and loud man I remembered how much God travels with us each and every step of our lives no matter what the circumstance. God was with us in our interactions with this man. God diffused this situation. He gave this man peace and protected us. The lessons I learned from our stop in Las Vegas, New Mexico are to always be prepared with blessing bags, also have a gentle answer and always trust God with all my heart. We enjoyed our short stop at this small restaurant and bought some of the most delicious cookies ever to take with us to enjoy on our journey home to Colorado. We also took along with us a sense of peace that God travels with us and a heart of joy that for a moment we had helped a man find peace if only for a short while. We serve an amazing God and praise Him for His care and love that extends to all people.
Soaring Wings Ministries
Anita Rennells is the author of this blog. She and her husband have moved to Colorado when Ed retired and are in the process of opening a ranch to help homeless young adults.
Soaring Wings Ministries