We love our Saturday mornings at House of the Harvest. It is such a blessing to have that time to spend with our community. For our “regulars,” we have all become a family. We look forward to being together, sharing each other’s stories, and just catching up. But when it all settles and the chaos ends, we look forward to the rest to. I am grateful for everyone who helps us close up and clean up each week. We close at 11:00 and I am usually on my way home by 11:15. But not today…
We opened the garage door today. It was nice outside. Kim Converse was helping Jennifer with some stuff after we closed up. It was around the time we are usually out the door. About 11:15 a lady and her daughter (a Harvest Elementary student) pulled up in need of food. I walked her around and got them some things. Soon after a couple ladies in another car pulled up. We got them some food. Then another. Sometimes it seems as long as the door is open, people will pull up.
It was about 11:40 and I thought we were ready to get out. Jennifer and Ty started to the car. I went in to turn out the lights. When I came back, Jennifer is talking to a man in the parking lot. Pointing him toward me. She then asks if I will get him some food. She and Ty take off, as I am thinking, “I won’t make it home today.”
A man in his 70s walks toward me at the door. I ask him his name. “Gene,” he says. I express my pleasure to meet him and he returns. We walk inside as Gene tells me that his neighbor had just told him about HoH.
Gene and I walk and talk. He begins to tell me about being laid off from his job, forcing him and his wife to have to leave their home in Arab and move to Toney, where his brother had allowed them to live in a trailer on some property he owned. They are having a hard time making ends meet on their social security but are doing their best. Gene has recently been diagnosed with cancer and his doctor fears him being unable to handle the treatments. His wife had a triple by-pass sometime back. Days are just hard with high levels of pain and discomfort, especially in the mornings.
I walk Gene out to the car and open the door to load his things. “I can do that,” he says. I reply, “Let’s do it together. This place is all about people doing things together.” He smiles, then proceeds to tell me about the struggle he has in the morning with pain. He gets finished and offers to donate his old, small television that he no longer has a need for but, “Would make someone that needed it happy,” as he stated. I feel so blessed when people just want to give something in return.
So there I stood with Gene, empty cart, both of us about to go our separate ways. I asked him if I could pray for him. He replied, “Yes sir.” Standing there in the parking at 9144 Wall Triana HWY, we prayed. As I finished praying, Gene put his hand on my shoulder. I looked up into his eyes and saw tears. Gene got choked up over and over as he said, “Thank you so much. God bless you. I needed that today.” He just kept repeating those words, over and over. “Thank you so much. God bless you. Thank you so much. God bless you.”
I knew that moment God had blessed me today. He brought Gene late so I could hear him tell his story. So he could have my undivided attention. He kept me around so Gene wouldn’t pull up to an empty building. He let Jennifer run into him in the parking lot, because she has the compassionate heart of Jesus that would never tell someone “No.” And He put it on my heart to ask Gene if he wanted that prayer.
Thank you God for keeping me that extra 45 minutes. Thank you for sending Gene to House of the Harvest. Thank you for allowing us both to be a blessing to each other. Thank you for House of the Harvest…it changes lives. I know firsthand.