I received a call yesterday from a friend and she was sobbing. She told me that her Mom, who is a drug addict and wanted for crimes back east, showed up at her door and asked to stay there. My friend let her stay , but when she found out that she was fleeing the police, asked her to leave. Well, the Mom left, but not before stealing $450, which was this families entire savings and money for rent. My friend is obviously heart-broken and scared. She has a baby girl and is worried about being homeless and losing her daughter. Let me back up and tell you more of her story:
My friend, let's call her Jane, came to Phoenix about a year ago with her boyfriend, let's call him John. They are from back East and struggled with poverty, drug addictions, and family violence and neglect. John's father drives a big rig and they decided that they would hitch a ride with him and come to Arizona to start over and get clean. They made it here with basically just the clothes on their backs. They found a little apartment in a bad area of town and could barely make rent. John was frantically looking for a job and both of them got off of meth. But, in order to safely quit methamphetamine, you have to take another drug called methadone. So, they were both on Methadone when she found out she was pregnant. She was terrified and realized that she was very far along, like 6 months! Trips to the hospital helped Jane discover that she couldn't quit the methadone or her baby would die. So, she gave birth to a beautiful little girl who was addicted to drugs. She had to stay in the hospital for several weeks and go through major withdrawal, she was one sick little baby. Jane felt so much shame and guilt over this, that she didn't tell any of her new friends at church what was really going on. Jane and John accepted help from their church, but with no car to get to church on a regular basis, no one saw them for a long time. They felt very guilty about this, because it looked like they just used the church to get help. There is only one family that lives close enough to bring them to church, and they don't have the room in their car for this family.
Around this time, my husband and I helped them out with money and emotional support, along with a few others from our church. But we have very limited funds. So, my husband approached someone at church who is in charge of a ministry that helps people in times of crises or need. This person told him that this family was just wanting a handout and she sees this all the time. There was nothing she would do to help. I found this out yesterday and this deeply disappoints me. Just wanting a handout?! This family has been through hell and has made huge sacrifices to better themselves. They are baby Christians and just want a better life for their daughter than they had. They are hard-working, loving people who I know would help my family if our situations were reversed. Their family has abandoned them, mocked them, and now stolen from them. Jane's grandmother called yesterday and was saying she's going to call social services and get her daughter taken away, just because she made her Mom leave and the family is upset--not taking into account the fact that her Mom stole her entire livelihood! If this family isn't worthy of our help, than who is?
Jesus wouldn't turn someone away just because of where they came from. My life verse is Matthew 25:40
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ but reading it today I found a verse further down, verse 45, and I think that applies in this situation. And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
I pray that people's hearts will be moved by the story of my dear friends. How can we turn our backs on people because of their past, or their appearance, or their problems? Jesus wouldn't....so I won't either. Which may mean having a family of three moving into my tiny condo, which is already too small for my own family. It may mean giving up my own comforts to help someone else. It means spending my family's money to save the lives of my friends. And if no one else will help us, my family will be Jesus to these precious people all by ourselves.
If you want to help, please let me know. Jane and John need a place to live, jobs, and food. They need formula, diapers and wipes for their baby. They need love and support from God's people. What better chance has come along lately to give you a real opportunity to show God's love to someone who is truly alone, and hurting beyond what you can imagine?