A man (from my school) shared this story at one of our nightly meetings in NYC. I cannot remember his name; I believe it is Jarrod.
The homeless are everywhere in New York. When Jarrod and his wife are approached by the homeless, they try to give them energy bars and jugs of gatorade rather than money. One evening a man named Mark approached Jarrod and his wife; they gave him a bag of energy and breakfast bars and juice and send him on his way. Mark was just out of prison and trying to get on his feet.
A few weeks later, Jarrod runs into Mark in the park while Jarrod is doing City Uprising outreach. Mark is giving his speil asking for money and Jarrod stops him to say, Wait, I know you. They introduce themselves and get to talking about Mark’s life. Mark went to prison in his twenties for killing his stepdad, who was beating his mom. He spent 20 years in prison. He has become a believer.
Mark is going to go take a test at 4:00 to get his commercial driver’s license so he can support himself. He has a training book that’s been highlighted and knows a lot about tow trucks. The test is $10; he already has $3. He hopes Jarrod can give him the final $7.
Jarrod tells Mark about the HIV testing we’re advertising. This clinic is giving out free metro cards. Jarrod thinks Mark should go get tested to find out his status and get a metro card to be able to go uptown for his test. Jarrod tells Mark that he’ll give Mark the $7 after the test.
Mark goes. The nurse asks him if he knows his status; Mark replies that he thinks he is negative. Jarrod thinks he is lying, but waits for what feels like forever in the waiting area as Mark gets tested.
Mark finds out that he is positive for HIV. He comes out, informs Jarrod, and goes back in to receive counseling.
Jarrod waits for him so that he can give Mark the money he promised him and to see how Mark is doing. Mark comes out and Jarrod walks him to the metro station. Mark tells Jarrod, “I think God has really used you in my life. I’m living with this married couple that fights all the time, and now that I’ve gotten tested, they’re gonna set me up with somewhere to live and medicine and they’re gonna help me get this job.”
They exchange phone numbers, and Jarrod invites Mark to the Gallery gathering.
What a story.
At the gathering, Jarrod informs us that he has recently lost his job. His family in Texas is hoping that he will bring his wife home.
Jarrod is staying in New York. He tells us, with tears in his voice, “I am not in NYC for a job, I am in NYC because God has called us here.”
What faith and courage for that young couple. That is what I want for my future. I want my husband and myself to follow God wherever He leads us with great faith and great courage. Though I would be delighted to live near my family and my roots, I know that God’s purpose is higher and I trust His leadership. I will marry someone who feels the same way. If God leads us away from my parents, I hope He grants us all the peace and wisdom to understand.