Sir, can I talk to you?
The day that I heard the question above was a Friday. On that particular day, I was having a challenging day. When I arrived at the church’s campus, I did not want to talk to anybody, but just focus on the preparation for the Bridge Ministry gathering. However, when I was walking toward the church office, I saw a person sitting on one of the benches nearby Trinity Center. Even from a distance, this person looked like a person in great need. My initial inclination was to pass by unnoticed. Deep inside me, I knew that she was about to call me, and surely enough she shouted at me saying: Sir, can I talk to you?
How do you feel when somebody that you don’t know wants to talk to you? How do you feel when you are indisposed and don’t want to talk to anybody at all, and yet somebody is calling you to speak with you? What do you do when you remember that people in need are people who Christ wants us to take care of and talk to?
I confess that I walked directly to her dragging my feet. Immediately she started the conversation telling me that she wanted to speak with a pastor or a staff member. I asked her how could we help her, but she insisted on speaking to a pastor or a staff member. Knowing that this conversation was going to take a good chunk of my time, I told her that I would notify the office. I felt incredibly weird, but I decided that I would try my luck with Barbara or Marilyn…
When I arrived at the office, I asked both Barbara and Marilyn to see if they could talk to her. They both declined because they were busy and were heading out to other commitments or appointments. At that point, I realized that I needed to take care of this person, disregarding my feelings or pending preparations for the Bridge. I took a moment to pray in my office. I asked God to help me care for this person. My feelings of anxiousness did not change, but I was determined to do the right thing.
I went back to the lady and asked her about her situation. Again she said she would only talk to a pastor or staff member. This time I told her, “I am one of the pastors here.” She immediately started giving me all the details of her predicament. Again I confess it was a little hard to see how needy she was, and how little it seemed I could do for her at that moment. I did not give up; I kept hearing her and looking for potential ways to help her out.
I headed back to the office and then I noticed something else happening. Barbara and Marilyn, moved by the Holy Spirit tugging them, felt the need to help out and even canceled their commitments to seek for the welfare of this person. Barbara and Marilyn were now assisting me in making phone calls and searching for potential places to refer her. We provided her with a good blanket, some food, hot coffee, a bus ticket, and water. We also tried to convince her to find refuge, but she refused because she was hoping for something else that we were unable to provide at that moment.
Did we change her life in a dramatic way? No! But I do believe that the kindness of God touched her through Marilyn, Barbara and me.
Did we learn something from this experience? Yes, one thing for sure is that we will continue to be invited to talk to people even when we don’t want to or feel that we can't for whatever the reasons…
Sir, can I talk to you?