A little guy came to the church on a warm Wednesday afternoon. He was maybe five feet tall, about thirty-five or forty years old, clothes dirty, and reeking of whiskey. His skin was a dark tan color as if he had been in the sun for some time. He was shaking but in a soft, pleasant voice, said, “Would it be alright if I took a shower?” I said “yes” and let him come in. I led him back to the bathroom, which also had a shower he could use. I showed him the shower and offered him a wash cloth, soap, and a towel, as he told me his story.
His father had died about thirty years ago when he was twelve years old. That was when he started drinking. He had been drinking vodka for thirty years now. I left him alone while I took care of some church duties. In less than thirty minutes, he came to me and thanked me for the shower. He looked and smelled much better. This little guy, named Delvin, had been sleeping under bushes, behind buildings, or anywhere he could feel, (and I say with a far stretch of expression), “comfortable and safe”.
Over a period of time, as I got to know him, we started to bond. His father had been a seventh-day Adventist minister and president of their general congregation in Indonesia. Consequently, Delvin knew many of the church hymns; some of his favorites being “He Leadeth Me”, “In the Garden”, and his absolute favorite, “Amazing Grace”. He would start humming one and asked me to play it on the piano for him. He would sit in a chair beside the piano, and as I played his familiar melodies, he started to cry. I stopped playing, turned toward him, his body reeking of strong vodka, and took his puffy, afflicted hands into mine.
I know why he was crying. He was crying because he still missed his father, crying because his walk with Jesus was not as close as he wished, and crying because he was wrapped so strongly in the chains of alcohol addiction.
I squeezed his hands and said, “Let me pray with you.” I prayed that the Lord would give him peace, relieve him of his alcoholism, and give him a warm, comfortable, and safe night’s sleep, as I knew he was homeless.
There were times I would see him huddled up against the door outside, apparently having slept there all night.
“Delvin, are you alright?” I asked as I touched him with the palms of my hands. He looked up at me still half drunk and replied, “I’m blessed”. I brought him inside once again, he showered, and we talked and prayed. He asked me for a pencil and paper as he made a sign: “Homeless, Need Help”. I heard later, from one of the pastors, that Delvin had put a bill in the pastor’s fist stating that he wanted to put the amount that he had collected on the street into the offering plate.