As a pastor you’re bound to have varied experiences. Some kinda funny. Others not so much. Because this is based on a true story I have decided to change a name to protect the privacy of others.
Allen (not his real name) was a deacon. He had served many years and was experienced in the servant role of a deacon. He was a senior adult and often rode with me to make pastoral visits. He knew everybody and seldom met a stranger.
Our plan on this day was to visit a home bound senior woman whose health was failing fast. She was living with her family. Unfortunately the living conditions were not good. Not good at all. The place was filthy. Trash was everywhere. The home needed to be condemned. Trying to get the residents to acknowledge the issue only brought anger. More than once the city came and condemned the place until they cleaned it up.
Allen and I decided this woman needed ministering to. The living conditions were not going to prevent us. So we went to visit. We had been there before and knew what we were walking into. We pulled up outside and sat in the car long enough for me to share some instructions with Allen.
We expected to see roaches. Lots of roaches. We had before and nothing had changed this time. I told ‘Allen’ we would not stay long. We would not sit down. We would see to their needs, at least the ones they would let us, and have prayer with them. Especially the senior adult woman who health was very poor and could not do for herself.
I instructed ‘Allen’ saying to him, “I have never asked anyone to do this but I’m asking you. When I pray I want you to keep your eyes open and watch for roaches. If one crawls on me, I want you to get it off.” Yes, the living conditions were that bad. He agreed to my request.
We approached the front door and was immediately greeted with the stench reeking from inside. No one had answered the door yet! I reminded Allen of our agreement. Just then the door opened and a family member ushered us in.
There we stood in the middle of their small living room. The sick woman was laying in a bed in the living room. We spoke for a bit. Gave her some things from the church. Allen and I noticed the deplorable living conditions including the bugs. I really felt awful for the woman and her family. However, they just refused to take care of the place or each other!
It was time to pray. I made eye contact with Allen as if to remind him of his duty, watch for roaches and get them off of me if one got on me. I called the family to prayer, bowed my head, closed my eyes as to lead the family to do the same and began praying.
As I stood in the middle of that room and prayed, I immediately felt something in my hair! I took my hand and brushed my head. Again, I felt it. It was close to where I had just taken my hand and swiped my head. I’m thinking, Allen why ain’t you getting this? A third time I felt it in my hair. I’m trying to concentrate on the prayer but I was honestly getting mad at Allen for not watching like I asked. The thought of a roach in my head was working on me.
I concluded the prayer, gave Allen a stern look and noticed how he was fighting back a smile! I’m really getting bothered with him now! I took a step towards the front door and noticed what I felt. Instead of what I thought was a bug in my hair turned out to be the draw string hanging from a lightbulb which they used to turn their light on and off. Boy was I relieved.
Allen however just did make it outside before laughing his head off at my expense. He had kept his eyes open and had seen me swipe at the string and just knew I was thinking it was a bug. Thus a little humor in an otherwise very serious situation.
Perhaps you are bothered about the living conditions more than the slight bit of humor and are wondering about was done. Without going into any details I will say Allen and I addressed and remedied the conditions however short-lived it was.
Until next time,