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"Bob," a homeless man, rings our doorbell most nights. He lives nearby in a boarded up house. I met Bob late last summer. He frequently walked by my house, and we'd greet each other.
As the weather cooled, it became clear that his house wasn't heated. One day he asked to wash my car to earn some money. Once winter arrived, he'd come over daily asking for money to eat or heat his place. We'd invite him in and give what we could: cash, groceries, even a space heater.
Eventually, all our kids knew him by name. He's spent time in our home hanging out — one night, at family night dinner. He felt blessed to simply eat pizza and brownies and to pray with us.
Over time, Bob shared pieces of his story with me. Years ago, he spent time in jail. He's been taken advantage of. He faces health struggles. Machines replaced his job at a car wash. He's held a variety of odd jobs.
Bob depended a lot on his brother, who passed away recently, leaving Bob to figure things out alone. With only a tattered social security card, no state ID, and no birth certificate, he cannot obtain public aid. We've been working to get the necessary documents to file for assistance.
Once I asked, "Bob, if you died today are you sure you'd go to heaven?" He wasn't sure. Recently, he came to church. After the service, Bob said he wanted to receive Christ. He brought up that question about Heaven again: "Now I'm sure," he says, smiling. Then, Bob shared a verse he'd learned, "Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost." He paused and added, "I was lost." I told him, "I was too!" Jesus helped us both. He's still helping us!
Brad Harry serves as co-director of Cru Inner City Chicago.
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