Walking home last Sunday evening, 6pm approximately. Feeling at a low ebb.
Couple of roads down from mine I walk past a guy who looks passed out, right on the side of the pavement. I shake him to see if he’s conscious. Thankfully he starts snoring, and then I manage to wake him up.
He’s very drunk, and speaking broken English. He says he lives in Croydon, but comes from Venezuela, so we switch from his broken english, to my broken Spanish.
“I have no friends, no family, I came over on a boat from Portugal. You think you’re better than us, don’t you? I’m from Venezuela, my name is Juan. Why are you helping me?”
I tell him I’m helping him because I’m a follower of Jesus. He breaks down in tears. To be fair, he’s already asked me my name three times at this point, so I make no claims it was the conviction of the Spirit.
I start walking him to the bus stop, and it’s clear he’s not going to get across the roads safely. What to do?
We’re right outside my flat at this point… I’ve managed to ‘lose’ his Jack Daniels. So, hey, come in for a coffee, and lets help you take the next step.
He came in and I got a coffee down him. Was meeting my friend Phil that night for a run, had to text him, “Erm sorry mate, might be a bit late – got a drunk venezuelan in my living room, any ideas?”
Juan was sobering slightly and went out for a cigarette. I got changed for running, put my mobile number on a church flyer and went out to get him to the bus stop. He’d gone, so I jogged to the bus stop on my way to meet Phil.
Juan was there, “Thank you so much my friend. You have helped me, thanks so much.” I shook his hand and gave him the flyer.
“When you wake up tomorrow, it’s a new day, Jesus has a purpose for your life.”
I continued jogging and a couple of minutes later the bus went by with Juan on.
Incidentally, my ebb was now definitely higher.
Does it mean anything? Don’t know.
But think there’s something in it for me that, in the midst of our brokenness and pain, Jesus, more than ever, wants us to welcome in an inebriated and disoriented world. And in some remarkable way, as we do that, not only are they helped in a small way, but we also find some strange healing.
Or maybe I just need to confess – I’m on the verge of letting drunk venezuelans stay over.
Still wriggling on the hook people, still wriggling.