Jeremy* was accompanying the DRIME team as they entered the heart of downtown Toronto. As their creative gospel presentation started, he mingled in the crowd and noticed a man sitting alone, away from everyone else. The first thing that caught Jeremy’s eye was that this man looked physically hurt. He had a black eye and there were scars and marks covering his face. No one sat near him or spoke to him at all, and Jeremy’s heart went out to him. He went over to say hello.
The man introduced himself as Chris, and hesitantly asked Jeremy to sit and talk with him. “I haven’t had a real conversation in a really long time,” he said. Chris was thrilled to have someone actually listen to him and show that they cared. As they spoke, Chris told Jeremy some of his story and the difficulties he’d been facing lately. He was staying in a homeless shelter, and the night before, he’d woken up to someone punching him in the face because he was snoring. All of his belongings had also been stolen. Chris revealed he was on a variety of drugs. The drugs caused his face to become so itchy that he couldn’t stop scratching, and he had begun to bleed.
Jeremy felt a powerful connection to Chris’ story because he used to live a similar type of life. He used to do drugs and knew the feeling of being trapped through addiction. The fact that Jeremy could explain his own experiences related to drugs showed Chris that he was telling the truth. “I wasn’t just someone who was talking to him in a condescending way, like ‘hey, you shouldn’t do drugs.’ I had been down a similar road, and could describe certain things that told him I wasn’t faking it. So the connection was there. He listened.”
Jeremy explained that though addictions are powerful, God is more powerful than all of them. “If Jesus can do what he did for me and my past, He can do it for you, no problem,” Jeremy told Chris.
“Yes,” said Chris. “I want what you have.”
They prayed about it right there on the street. Chris prayed and asked Jesus to come into his life to help him deal with all of his addictions and be his saviour. He expressed his desire to spend eternity with Christ from that day forward. “I led him in the prayer,” Jeremy says, “and then he started praying on his own. He accepted Jesus right then and there. And then he asked to hug me again. He said he’d never met anyone like me, and that he’s so thankful that I came to talk to him.”
*Name changed for privacy
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