Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Change For A Dollar - Part 2

Today, I want to share a follow-up story about Change for a Dollar, the cool new thing we're doing at Skyline OKC.

Last week, not long after this post, Ron got a phone call. We were having dinner -- he usually doesn't answer during dinner -- but his phone was sitting on the counter and Corban grabbed it when it rang. She accidentally accepted the call, so Ron took it, left the dinner table and closed himself up in our bedroom for a while.

This kind of thing doesn't happen all the time, but it has happened enough that I knew he was talking to one of his Rock Island kids.

And I was right. He emerged from the bedroom an hour later with tears in his eyes.

It was a 17 year-old girl who had been one of Rock Island's core kids for several years, but lately had stopped being so involved. Like most of the RI kids, she has lived in difficult circumstances for her whole life. She has basically raised herself. Her mom is a meth addict and her dad just hasn't been around. She's had to grow up faster than any girl should because the adults in her life chose getting high over raising a child. But, when I look at her life, I'm amazed at how well she has done for herself.

The reason for her call, though, is the most heartbreaking part of the story. She hadn't been feeling well for a while and after a few doctor visits and tests, she was told that she is in a very advanced stage of cancer. There are still more tests to be done and options to be weighed, but the doctors are telling her that  even with treatment, she's only got about a year.

Ron prayed for her on the phone and had some pretty straight Jesus talk with her. It's not very often that you can say to a person, "Jesus is your only hope" and really mean it. We throw that kind of talk around a lot, but deep down we always hold onto a little bit of hope in something, or someone, else...medicine, doctors, new research for a cure. But for this girl, Jesus really is her only hope.

And she knows it.

After Ron told me what was going on, we both thought she might be the perfect person to bless with Skyline's Change for a Dollar money, so we checked in and were given the go-ahead. We had $300 to help this sweet girl, which isn't much in the grand scheme of cancer treatments, but anything we could do to help ease her stress would be good. We were thinking about using it to buy fast food gift cards or offering it for medical bills or even to get her a cell phone, but when Ron asked her what she needed most right now, he got this surprising answer:

"There's a bench warrant for my arrest."

She had gotten into some trouble a while back for shoplifting. She did the community service part of her sentence (which she served at Rock Island) but was never able to pay the fine. And when asked what she needed most at this moment, the scariest time of her life, she said she needed to pay that fine so that if God chooses to heal her, she can have a clean record and get a job and move forward with her life.

And take a wild guess as to how much the fine was.  Yep. $300.

Through a gesture as simple as paying a fine, a beautiful picture of grace and redemption was painted in the life of a 17 year-old, newly diagnosed cancer patient.

The Kingdom came. And it brought joy.