MORE THAN COFFEE
Dale Henneman, Campus Chaplain and community Coffee House Director
Some time ago a young high school girl dropped in to see us. The first time she came in we noticed that this girl was special and very gifted. For her age, she was very mature and in some ways talked like an adult. As we listened to her story we realized she was, in fact, the adult in her family. She had moved away from home and had been living on her own, She returned to live with her aunt because her drug addict father had issues and her alcoholic mother needed her. After hearing her story that first day, we prayed with her and that seemed to be that.
A few months later, she stopped in again, this time with her boyfriend. We visited and after about 20 minutes we prayed and they left. She’s been dropping in every couple of weeks since then. This week she stopped in with four of her school friends. We visited and I was able to talk to her friends. I learned one of her friends was abused and was in need of counseling. I was able to give her information about our ministry she could give to her parents.
What is most notable was while I was visiting with her friends, she quietly wrote something in my notebook. When she was done she said, “We got to go, do you think you can have prayer with us?” So, we stood in a circle, held hands and, after asking them for prayer requests, I prayed for them. Then they left. I went over to the pad and read what our friend had written. I would like to share it with you:
I wanted to leave you a note to tell you how thankful I am that you opened this place [coffee shop] up. Every time I walk out of here I feel God with me & even though I know He’s always here I love being able to feel Him.
Thank you so much,
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
P.S. I’m going to bring more & more kids in here. I know you can help them like you have me.
John Gordy, Law Enforcement Chaplain, retired
I was at a local funeral home yesterday, for the visitation of Shane, a 29 year old sheriff deputy. Two weeks out of the academy, he left behind a young wife, a son and four daughters. Shane served a warrant on a man at 3 AM The man being served had previously been in the Grundy County Jail. Shane was his jailer.
No one knows why Shane went inside the trailer residence to serve the warrant, why he was shot in the head, why the police officer who came to his aid was wounded or why the the man in the trailer shot himself.
All we know is, there is a rural TN law enforcement community in pain and loss. In addition to the family and neighbors, the sheriff and deputies are going through every emotion imaginable and need the Holy Spirit to comfort and strengthen them. The department is without a Chaplain.
A SIDEWALK ENCOUNTER
Duncan Prior, Community Chaplain
Some time ago on the way to Sidewalk Sunday School I became impressed to ask Elaine, my wife, to council the children for salvation if any responded to the invitation. She had never had the joy of leading someone to Christ on her own. Several girls responded to the invitation and Elaine took them aside. She asked them why they had come to talk to her and some responded with different (not salvation related) prayer request. She prayed with them and sent them back to the group.
She asked the remaining girls why they came and one girl stated that she wanted to have Christ come into her heart. The other girl’s response really drove home the fact that kids can see their need for the Savior. This little girl, about eight years old, blurted out, “I am a horrible person. I lie, I steal, I get in fights and I am tired of living this way.” She went on to say, “I want Jesus to come into my heart and to forgive me and make me a better person.” The little girl got on her knees and began to pray to God asking for forgiveness and asking Jesus into her heart! Elaine said that they could sense the presence of God in a very real way.
At a later Sidewalk Sunday School two boys named Sean and Marlow responded to the invitation. Both of them had a clear understanding of their need for salvation. After they prayed I asked them how they felt, 12 year old Marlow told me with tears in his eyes, and an amazing smile on his face, “I don’t know how to describe it, but it sure feels good!”
JUST A LITTLE TALK WITH JESUS
Patrick Robinson, Hospital Chaplain
The patient had come in through the Emergency Room. No family present, although he mentioned a mother who had great faith in God. Also, a daughter and her mother from whom he was estranged. He welcomed my visit and immediately complained about the lack of information he was getting from the hospital staff. He was obviously very stressed. I try to encourage him to have some patients with the staff and assure him they are doing their very best to care for him.
He wants to talk about a deeper problem. His mother always told him just to pray about it. But he has issues on many fronts that challenge his faith, not the least of which is the frustrations he feels in relationship to the mother of his daughter. Combined with his other pressures, he knows he need to pray…wants to pray…tries to pray…but doesn’t feel like it’s good enough. He can never seem to pray as well as the leaders in the church he attends.
This precious man finds new strength and hope with the assurance that God hears us regardless of how simple our prayers. It’s simply a matter of sharing our heart with Him.
Jean Sands, a Healthcare Chaplain
I have learned that being a chaplain is mainly being present and being real with whomever God places in your path. However, there are those times that you walk away from a conversation with someone knowing you have had a divine appointment.
“Sarah” is in her 50s. She was in the cardiovascular unit for heart problems, sitting in a chair when I walked into her room. I introduced myself as the chaplain and asked how she was doing. She replied politely with, “I’m doing better.” She shared with me some of her concerns about being discharged and returning to her current living arrangements.
As I listened, I could tell she truly wanted to be on her own but needed to have some assurance of access to someone if she needed assistance. We explored different options, some of them new. As she began to sense there was hope for her situation, her countenance changed to one of brightness and smiles. She thanked me for listening and caring.
She told me she was a Christian and asked if I would pray with her. As I did, I felt led to pray that God would wrap His arms around her, give her a big hug and let her know she was not alone and not forgotten. She starting sobbing. When I finished praying, I continued to stand beside her with my hand on her shoulder. She looked at me and I said, “I sense you are very lonely.” She started sobbing even more. She said, “You have no idea. Everything you said in your prayer, I needed to hear. I needed to know that someone cared and that God had not forgotten me.”
We talked some more, and I took my leave. I did a follow-up visit with her the next day. When I walked into the room, she lit up and said, “I cannot tell you how much better I have felt since our visit yesterday. God really used you to show His love for me.” I rejoiced with her and we chatted some more.
As we continued to talk, it came out that she was not sure if she would get into heaven because she had been divorced. She said she grew up in the church and understood the church’s stance on divorce. I saw another opportunity to share Truth with her. As with other sin, divorce is not unforgivable. A marriage takes two people. You are responsible for your own actions, not your partners. If you ask God to forgive you for your sin and failures, He is faithful and just to forgive you and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). He does not hold that against you. Let go of the anchor that is holding you down! Jesus came so you could have life and have it more abundantly!
At this point, Sarah just stared at me and put her hands on her head. She smiled and smiled. “For 30 years I have feared I would not get to go to heaven because of my divorce! I cannot believe this! I feel as if a huge weight has just rolled off my shoulders! I really believe the reason I had this physical heart issue so I would come here to meet you. You have no idea what this means to me!” I said, “Sarah, I am so thankful God had this divine appointment set up for us. You have no idea how much our meeting has meant to me.”
We said our goodbyes and I left her room.
As I walked down the hall, I thought to myself about this poor woman carrying this burden of uncertainty, this lie of Satan, for 30 years. I cannot imagine living with the desire to go to heaven but doubting it would ever come to fruition. Today God used me, as one of His Chaplains to share the Truth – His Truth – and to help break the chains that bound this woman to despair and hopelessness.