Saturday, May 07, 2011

A Good Night in the Hood

This is a portion from our minister Ron Babbit's newsletter to his supporters. I know that my fellow Contact Church members do not need my notes to explain some of Ron's statements, but those who are unfamiliar with his way of saying things may be confused so I have included a few explanatory notes.

"We walked up to a door and knocked. At first there was no response. The doors have peep holes so they can see who is beating on the door. I usually stand to the side, so they can't see the sheriff! (Note: Ron had explained previously in his newsletter that when someone asks "Who is it?" when he knocks, "I usually respond with 'Sheriff!' Don't ask me why, I just like to keep 'em guessing! Yes, I sometimes get in trouble.") It was night time and it is a different world in the hood when the sun goes down. A dude came to the door and I told him our names. We followed him into the living area...

"His name was Tyron. He went into the kitchen. Stan-the-man and I took a seat in the living room and started visiting with another dude---the live-in daddy to the three children, along with his honey and a 16 year old gal. The 16 year old had recently gotten out of jail for beating up some people. Her 17 year old hairy-leg (Note: her boyfriend) is still in the David L. Hotel (Note: the Tulsa County jail), looking at 10 years for beating up some folks. This clown was in on a couple of our Bible studies. I read the WORD from the book of Proverbs and shared three or four points.

"While I was talking, the hoss who wouldn't shake my left hand (Note: Ron broke his right hand a few weeks ago) left the apartment and was gone 5 to 10 minutes. When he returned I asked Tyron, 'Would you like to join us?' He said, 'How did you know my name?' He removed his ball cap that was shading the sun off his left ear and then the stocking under the cap. This was the first time any dude had removed their head-gear and joined the conversation.

"I was sitting on the floor in front of the 16 year old gal. Tyron started asking, 'Who are you? Why did you come here?' He said that as he was getting off the bus that day a lady told him that JESUS loved him. That blew him away. He said, 'Then you men show up talking about GOD. Who are you with?'

"He shared his frustrations, hurts, anxieties, fears and disappointments. I would have a response to some of his sharing and he would say, 'I'm not through talking.' This made me nervous. He would stare at me and then he would stare at Stan-the-man and then resume his conversation. He described his time in prison and how he wouldn't take a shower with the other men. He said we would never believe what happened in prison and that they had access to more drugs in prison than outside the walls. He said they had to strip buck-naked and the guards looked for drugs...

"He said, 'I respect you men. You come out here to read the Bible. This is a dangerous place and you men show up; people don't do that.' He asked again what church we were with. I said, 'If you were to look for a church, what would you look for? What would be on your list of items that you would look for?' He said that he didn't like white churches. He didn't like black churches. He didn't like Mexican churches. He said, 'I like a mix.' The folks who lived in the apartment said, 'That's Contact.' He said, 'What is Contact?' He said that he would look for a church where the people are accepting and not judgmental...

"I was somewhat nervous at the beginning of our visit, but now I noticed a softening of his heart, a breaking down of his being hip, slick, cool, and out of sight. The room was very quiet; no one was moving around or jumping up and down. Everyone was listening with a seriousness about why GOD had us there. When I had the opportunity, I told Tyron that I would like to pray but he didn't respond. He just walked into the kitchen. I talked some more about the seriousness of us walking with the LORD and responding to HIS call to obedience. I noticed Tyron standing in the kitchen looking around the corner. I said, 'Tyron, come and join us as we talk to GOD.' He very quietly said, 'I will pray here.' I got on my knees and asked everyone what they would like for me to pray for. The young 20 year old said the healthy delivery of her baby. The 16 year old asked for prayers for patience when people jumped her so that she wouldn't hurt them. She wants to get back into the Job Corp and finish her high school education with a diploma in hand. The hairy-leg clown said he needed a job...We petitioned our LORD in prayer. When I finished praying, I raised my head and guess who was kneeling beside me? That's right, Tyron. I couldn't believe it, but why do I doubt GOD at work in so many hurting hearts?

"I wish I could tell you how the SPIRIT OF GOD was moving in that swingin' apartment. Tyron said thank you over and over again. He told us that he respected us for what we were doing in the apartment complex. He said, 'One of these days, I will come to Contact.' Praise GOD for what HE does through HIS clowns as we get to continue showing up, paying attention, and responding appropriately. The church of our LORD continues to grow at Contact..."


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