Posted by: Karina Bauermeister & Max Vale
Katherine, Bryan, Jake, Michael, and we (Max V. & Karina) went to Pastor Mel’s place to paint the wall of a shed. Pastor Mel helps men with addictions and houses them for 6 months. We waited in their meeting room while the paint was getting picked up, and 2 people, Steve and Sean, shared their testimonies. Steve was raised in a Christian home, but his dad was really harsh on him, which led to his doctor prescribing him to take tranquilization pills. Later, when he was off the pills, he discovered alcohol and realized it also “numbed” him. Through lots of struggles and the meetings of the right people, he soon realized his life was messed up and he needed God.
Sean was shot 7 times in his life, two by accident and five by his friend. Two of the places he was shot were his aorta and spine, and he lost a gallon of blood through his aorta wound, half the amount of blood that people normally have in their bodies. He got out of surgery and was told that he would never walk again. He was always into a lot of drugs, pretty much anything you could imagine. He was sober for a year at one point and he didn’t think that he needed God’s help anymore. But he finally realized that he couldn’t make it on his own and he needed God’s help. So he came to Mel’s place.
And even as we walked in, he was reading the Bible and writing everything he learned down. He also taught us that we need to forgive everyone. He used his friend’s shooting as an example. It took a while, but he finally forgave his friend. And he was also walking around the place. He said it was by God’s mercy that he could walk again.
We toured around the buildings, and as we did, the people there were so hospitable and generous. We were walking and twice two people asked us how many of us there were, and one brought us a chocolate and caramel bar, and another one (it was actually Sean) brought us chips. We could clearly see the love of Christ in them.
So we toured the buildings and saw their living quarters and future development sites. Then we finally got to paint. Once we started painting, someone there went up to us and asked us if we would like lunch. We were just blown away at how generous these people were.
We were painting and the person who bought the supplies was there advising us how to paint well. It was so funny because after everything he said he always said “Amen!” Like, “To get in the grooves, you’ve got to get your paintbrush really full of paint, amen?”
So we finished the first coat. Max had paint all over his hands, and was trying to wash it off in the water, but it wasn’t working too well. Someone brought out hand soap for him. We were going to wash the paintbrushes, but someone offered to do it for us. Then we went inside for the lunch they prepared for us of barbecued chicken, potato salad, stuffing, and chocolate cake (Bryan and Max had potato salad for the first time!), which was absolutely marvelous. Then we took our dishes to the kitchen and they said they would wash the dishes. Then we left.
We had a great time, and it was such an encouragement to us to see these people who had previously been addicts to show such strong faith and servanthood.