We have been here a little over three months and I have only talked to Gene in passing. You see we are renting a “villa” which is the nicer version of it’s cousin named “duplex”. Our little street happens to be a quite gated street and we are the youngest couple by about 25 years. We do not live in a retirement community, but sometimes it feels like it because most people have moved here to Florida to downsize homes and prepare to finish the race so to speak.
As I emerged from my car today, in a hurry to get things done Gene popped out of nowhere. He was like “hey mike”, he thinks my name is Mike. I was like oh no I have so much crap to do so I was amusing him for a little while trying to cut it off quick, you know what I am talkin’ about.
Well somewhere along the way he mentioned he liked world geography and my response was, “I travel alot outside the country.” He asked me why and my response was “Jesus told me too.” Quick and easy right in an attempt to land the converstaion plane.
Gene then began to tell me about his love for Jesus, about how God had saved him by grace and since then he has always wanted to live for Him. He told me he thinks that God had used him to lead 6 people to know Christ in his time as a Christ follower. He told me one story about how he went on visitation to the hospital to visit a church member. The person he had gone to visit had already been discharged, but he began to talk with the other guy in the room. The patient asked him to pray for him and Gene did. Gene sat there that day and talked with the man. He returned many days following and in the process was able to lead this man to know the Jesus that had so changed Gene.
One day Gene went to see his freind as usual, and the nurse told him that he had passed in the night. As Gene was telling me this he began to cry. At this point I felt like God wanted me to keep talking with Gene. We continued to talk and he told me about how his brother worked at the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home. He said he would often volunteer because those children did not have a dad, and in some way he wanted to fill that role. Yet again, he began to cry…
As he was leaving he said something that really grabbed me and convicted me. He said, ” I REALLY enjoyed this Matt. We should talk again.” He said it with a huge smile on his face, the kind you must have when you win the lottery. Then he left my garage and hobbled back over to his little villa.
God really convicted me. This guy just wanted to talk, some community you know. For three months he has been reaching out to me and all I have been doing is blurring past him with my busyness in ministry. I think that soon I will go and sit to talk with Gene some more, possibly take him to lunch.
Today was a good day!