Director’s Corner: Hope at Christmas
December 23, 2015
By Kevin Ludwig
One of the best parts of my job at the Sioux Falls Ministry Center is visiting with guests and hearing their stories of how the assistance they received from the various ministry tenants helped them out of a difficult time.
A recent visit with a guest was very appropriate for the Christmas season.
An Unexpected Guest
The snow was gently falling one afternoon, creating a white blanket on the streets and sidewalks of downtown Sioux Falls. Plans had been made for a small group of people to go out at 4 p.m. to start scooping the sidewalks around the building.
About 2 p.m. there was a knock at my office door. It was a gentleman sent to my office by someone at Center of Hope. He asked if I was in need of any help shoveling snow.
Knowing that more hands make a task go quicker, I was interested in hearing how he knew we were looking for help. I sat down with him to learn how he ended up at my office door.
For the sake of privacy, I will call my guest Alex. Alex explained his current situation and shared some details from his past. He talked about poor choices he made, broken relationships with members of his family, including one of his sons, and his health issues. He talked about how he’s utilized the services at Center of Hope. He also shared how he’s reading the Bible regularly and how he got connected with a local church and became involved in some of its serving opportunities.
At the end of our visit, I told him some folks were coming at 4 p.m. to shovel and told him he was welcome to help. As it turned out, Alex was an answered prayer as one of the individuals who said would help didn’t show up. By 5:30 p.m. we were tired and relieved to be done.
As we went inside, I excused myself to go to my office to get Alex some money for his help. But when I came back, he was gone. I left the money with the staff at Center of Hope with the instructions to give the money to Alex the next time he stopped by. A couple of days later I learned from Pastor Fred that he gave Alex the money.
Another Unexpected Guest
Almost two weeks later I again was at my desk in the middle of the afternoon when there was a knock at my door. I looked up from my desk to see Alex standing in the doorway. As I invited him in he had a big smile on his face. He thanked me for the money and told me he wasn’t expecting to get paid. He was simply giving back to the Sioux Falls Ministry Center. He did say that the money came in handy as he used a portion of it to pay for a prescription.
Alex proceeded to give me an update on his life. He said he was entering a counseling program to sort some things out. He again owned up to his past mistakes. He seemed determined to keep those mistakes in the past and not let them dictate his future, a future that includes him starting up his own handyman business.
He also shared with me that he recently sent a text message to his son in Texas, the son he hasn’t been in contact with for some time. He said he wasn’t expecting a reply, but he received one. He said the reply was “I love you Dad. I miss you.”
Hope for the Future
Those seven simple words had a tremendous impact on Alex. He now has hope, hope for a renewed relationship with his son. He knows he has a lot of work to do before that can happen. He needs to finish his counseling program, take care of his health issues and save up some money so he can afford to move back to Texas. But the smile on his face demonstrated that the hard work will be worth it.