Rhonda is a regular guest at the Nightwach outdoor community dinner. She is always intoxicated and screaming obscenities. In the middle of her outbursts, she often breaks down and cries, asking for prayer. After we pray and hug, she will usually calm down for a while and eat a meal. She will eventually start yelling again, drink a beer at the bus stop, and then walk across the busy intersection into traffic. One evening she was extra aggravated, pushing a volunteer, and throwing a bottle of water at another. All I could think was, “this is who Nightwatch is built for”. When Rhonda left the meal, she grabbed an entire bag of Dicks hamburgers, walked into the street, and glared at me. All I could do was laugh. Rhonda is exactly who Jesus invites to dinner. Only God knows what has happened to her life. The next week Rhonda came to the meal and apologized, handing me a swordfish Christmas ornament she found in the trash. I thanked her and promised to hang it up in my office.

 Rhonda came last night to the dinner and hugged me saying, “Thank you pastor and thank you to the church.” She was clear headed and well spoken. She had been in county jail for twenty days and was clean from meth, alcohol, and crack cocaine. She participated in a jail house Bible study and was praising the Lord. The judge at her arraignment gave her a second chance and told her he wanted to see her succeed. I said so do I and so does God. Rhonda asked me if I hung the swordfish ornament in my office and if I would pray for her. As I was driving home, I could not stop crying. “But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease (Mark 5:33-34).”

Michael Cox

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