An Unwelcome Testimonial
Wednesday, February 21st, 2007
I used to love to give my friends tours of Union Rescue Mission. It was a large facility and housed many fascinating and even surprising ministries. Seldom was anyone prepared for what he or she experienced the first time through the Mission.
On this occasion, the person I was showing through the mission was one of my professors from my university days. I pulled out all the stops because I wanted him to be impressed.
I am good at masking problems and emphasizing strengths. As a result, my friend was overwhelmed. He later told me that the tour left him feeling like the life he was leading was insignificant next to the work I was doing. That was a clue that maybe I had gone to far selling the Mission.
After the tour, we were standing on Main Street in front of the mission chatting. Two street men walked up to my friend and I, wanting to talk. I knew one of them whose name was Tom. They were both very drunk. They were staggering as they walked toward us and their speech was slurred when they began to talk.
Street men sometimes drink a synthetic, imitation wine that has never seen a grape. When they drink it, it gives the men’s breath a distinctive and very unpleasant odor. These men were giving off that smell as they began to speak.
Introductions were made all around. There was a few minutes of greeting and small talk.
Then Tom, the street man I knew, said, ” George, I am glad to see you.”
Tom then put his arm around my shoulders and turned to his friend. He got a very serious look on his face and with slurred speech said, ” Bob, George here is my good friend. Everything I am today I owe to this man.”
I was shocked. After a moment, I turned to see how my University friend was responding. I did not see him for an instant. Then I looked and saw him squatted down with his back turned a few steps behind me, tears rolling down his face laughing.
I don’t have any memory of what happened after that. I assume we all said our goodbyes and that I went back to work.