Meet Arthur Bailey.
When I woke up that Saturday morning, I had no idea so many intense God moments would be awaiting me in just a few short hours. July 18th was the morning of Humanity Reboxed's community clean up day. The plan was to head out early and help Hunter get the last of the supplies needed and set up the volunteer base camp for the day. Slowly but surely volunteers were trickling in. It was amazing to watch such a wide range of people come together to serve, there was anyone from followers to Humanity Reboxed to individuals who just came across the event of Facebook and were excited to be apart.
Hunter was just about to announce the start as the man you see above walked pass. Whom I will later get to know as Arthur, was asking the crowd if any of us were Christians. The volunteers being unsure of his intentions stayed silent but then I stepped forward. In response, I explained to him we were a Christian organization and during this specific event we were picking up trash in the area. A smile exploded across his face as he exclaimed I just knew it. He shifted his focus to be mainly on me, encouraging me to watch the video “Don’t Block Your Angels” (Which I am now highly encouraging you to watch!). Then before I knew it, Arthur and I were plopped down in the middle of the sidewalk praising the Lord for all of His good works. After a couple of minutes of him describing the video to me, he asked if I could buy him some milk. Excited to be able to help, I responded “of course” and ask if I could get anything else for him.
With that, I ran to the nearest store and got milk, sandwich fixings, and some fruit (courtesy of humanity rebox) along with a $25 gift card via my personal donation.
We met back up at the park where we met and continued to get to know one another.
As soon as I got back he asked me “What is a struggle you have been faced with?” Instantly my mind was rushed with pain left from past abusers. So I told him and he just shook his head in heartache for me. He hated to admit it but he knew that was why he felt God calling him to me. From there Arthur opened up and shared bits and pieces of his story, to which I was honored to hear. His testimony left me awestruck. Never before had I been so incredibly humbled and impressed by his ability to forgive and continue to share God's love with everyone around him. We talked for what seemed like minutes but was truly more than 3 hours. He told me about numerous occasions where God unexpectedly called him to different areas only to reveal that it was God's hand of protection over him. On the three occasions where Arthur felt this tug, he found out that there were violent riots or shootings and murders exactly where he would have been. He shared how there was a time when he was begging that he felt God telling him to give all his money to a woman. He found out later that his act of kindness went viral and has made its way all the way to churches in Texas. Before my phone died, he listed song after song for us to listen to. There was nothing more beautiful than getting to worship with him in the shady grass (Some songs that I also highly recommend you listen to!) Soon enough it came close to it being time to leave and Arthur had one last request, for me to get him a bible. Overjoyed I searched up the nearest book store and we started walking. The whole way we shared thoughts/beliefs and hopes/dreams. Then along the way, we came across an outdoor worship service. Both of our eyes lit up as we heard them sing their first song “This Is How I Fight My Battles," naturally we had to stop and listen for a bit before we continued on. Nearly every person we passed Arthur reassured them that Jesus lives and is fighting for them. (Lord I pray for boldness like him) We walked nearly 11 blocks when we realized we had been heading in the wrong direction all along. Looking down at my watch I realized I was long past the time I needed to leave in order to catch my flight home to San Diego so we hurried back to the field where the group was worshipping to ask if anyone had an extra bible. Thankfully a couple was able to give him and bible before we parted ways.
Not all people experiencing homelessness are mentally ill. What ALL homeless people are is human. Give them a chance before you turn a blind eye to them on the street. A single smile or “Jesus loves you” or "Can I pray for you?", has the power to make someone’s week or even plant seeds that will change lives. It honestly embarrassing that this man who has been sexually and physically abused, stabbed, outcasted, mugged, cheated and lied to, has more joy in his heart for Christ than I have ever seen in my life. Arthur was never burdened by the obligation of evangelism. He proclaimed the love of Jesus to any and all purely out of the excitement stored in his own heart, fueled purely off of worship and prayer and testimony rather than physical circumstance or situation. Arthur’s energy is contagious and radiant. It gives me hope and inspiration to live more fiercely in christ every day. Not to get caught in the hustle of societal expectations and find ways to incorporate the same radiant joy into my every action. We need more Arthur Bailey Christians.