Each day driving down Powell toward Braking Cycles, we never know what we will see. This particular day, a boy sat on the steps beside the shop. He was clearly cold and wet, and he held his bare feet in his hands, rubbing them, in pain. His feet were swollen and blistered from being in wet shoes for so long.
I approached him and invited him into the shop for some food and a hot cup of coffee. Because our outreach supplies are also onsite, it was in a matter of no time at all, he had new socks, shoes, clothes and a backpack filled with basic necessities.
This was all good… meeting a basic, fundamental need. But that’s only the beginning because we know to really love someone, we have to care for them in such a way that will carry them forward, not keep them stuck.
Some amazing things can happen over a cup of coffee. As “Justin” slowly started to warm up from being chilled to the point of shaking, he began to share his story.
This 18-year-old boy was far from his home and parents in Alaska. He talked about his newborn baby boy and how desperately he needed to get back him. Justin was sick with regret as he talked about one crazy night he relapsed to the point all he wanted to do was run. And that’s exactly what he did; straight to Portland, where he heard drugs and being homeless “came easy”.
Justin’s first night in Portland he was jumped and everything he had was stolen, including his ID. “How am I going to get home?” “Perhaps God has a way”, I replied.
What happened over the next couple of hours was nothing less than a miracle. I called the airline Justin came in on and asked for help. The agent on the other end of the phone must have been moved the same way I was because only minutes later, we had a plane ticket home for Justin. A ride to the airport and a tearful farewell, Justin was on his way home.
Before the plane took off I received a text…. Rhona, I don’t have words enough to thank you. I know God is real today because there is no way this could have happened otherwise. I promise you, I won’t take this second chance for granted.