Allow me to tell you the story of three individuals. All very similar, all at different stages of their story.
The first is of Jarod. He is a very intelligent and charismatic young man. He had a fairly troubled upbringing and you might even say that the cards were stacked against him in some ways. He got in trouble early and it only got worse. Before he even escaped his 20’s he ended up in state prison on a felony assault with a deadly weapon charge. Jarod served three years and was released on probation. He admits that one of his biggest problems is staying away from bad women. And sure enough, within just a few days of being out of the penitentiary he had another one. Things, once again, began to spiral out of control, but this time some family members, that had recently gotten saved at an Independent Holiness church nearby, interceded. They too had lived pretty hard and short lives and they had been won over by some Godly and kind, outreach minded Christians. Knowing what God had done for them and knowing what was about to happen to Jarod again, they attempted to reach out to him. He responded. I happen to attend a joint church service that was sponsored by HMA and this Independent inner city church and met some of the family members. I had seen them before and was pleases that they were still serving God. Through communicating back and forth with them for a couple days they put me in touch with their cousin Jarod. I found out that all he had was a part time job slinging pizzas for just a few hours a week, an apartment with some clothes and a lamp in it and a probation officer. I offered him a chance to work with us at HMA and he jumped at it. My son has been picking him up in the mornings for the last few days and we have been working him around his pizza schedule. Last week we gave him a bed, a table and chairs, a recliner and some dishes, pots and pans and silverware from the thrift store. He must have thanked me 10 times before he left. Saturday at the end of the day he promised me that he would be in church Sunday. I had to preach out of town. I can’t wait to see him again on Tuesday morning back at The Saving Place. Jarod is in his early stages but we have high hopes for him in Christ Jesus.
The next is Priscilla. This young lady had so messed up her life that almost everyone that knew her hardly expected her to live to turn 18. At 16 she was already a thief, a professional liar, a runaway, a drug addict, had already attempted suicide by drug overdose more than once and had a vile evil spirit in her. Through some church acquaintances or ours, that happen to be family members of hers, we were called in to meet with her. Off and on, back and forth, we had over a year long battle for the young girls life. Finally on a Sunday night at our home church God removed the evil spirit from her. I can hardly tell the story of how she had been so mixed up, so hurt and so confused over everything in her life that had called itself Christian. Because of this I think it has taken some time for her to try to decide exactly the fullness of how she will serve the Lord. But this much I know. She was one of the worst drug addicts that I have ever seen just a few short years ago and she wasn’t going to live much longer. To top it of she was one of the most selfish and conniving people that I had ever met. Today she has been completely delivered from drugs, she is 20 1/2 years old. She is a mother of a one year old son and a good little housewife. My wife Niki and I were able to go to her son’s one year old birthday party last week and it was amazing watching Priscilla as she cooked for us, cared for her son and tended to her guests. Priscilla is, no doubt, much farther down the road than Jarod is and we are expecting so much more.
These are the things that we live for here at HMA. We are of the opinion that everyone is a work in progress. We also believe that someone that has fallen should not be equated with someone who can't get back up, no matter how many times they fall. I have said many times, "I would rather fall one thousand times and get up one thousand times than only fall once but not get back up". David Livingston said, "Call no man worthless for whom Christ died". Here at HMA we strive everyday to reach the least, the last and the lost. I've been asked over and over again just exactly who I am trying to reach. Homeless? Addicts? Street people? Here is my answer and it will forever be my answer, "I want all the ones that no one else wants". I will not do as so many others have done. I will not stand in line to take my turn at the ones that everyone wants. I thank God every day that I do not have to wait my turn to minister. Nobody is trying to beat me to the tramps and bums of the streets of Tulsa. Nobody is trying to cut in line in front of me to work with the people that will lie to me, throw up on me and can give me nothing if I do help them; But God called "The Church" to do just such a work. God help us all. Let me give you one last word of encouragement when it comes to any of your lost loved ones that seem too far gone to ever make it back. Never give up on those that you love. Never give up! God has people out there that will lose sleep, miss meals and continually pick up the broken pieces to give your wandering loved one every opportunity to decide to trust God all the way home. There is always a way when God gets involved.
From the desk of
Rev. D. Todd Sloggett