There once was a man named John. Somehow John lost his way in life and stepped away from his family, his friends and God. He was found by two sheriff’s deputies living under an overpass on I-85. His only possessions were the clothes on his back and the worn-out boots on his feet. He claimed that his mother and father were both dead, and that he had not other family members to go to for help. He said he had lost his driver’s license, had no vehicle and couldn’t find a job. The deputies offered to take him to a nearby shelter, but he refused to go, stating that he couldn’t get along with some of the residents there, and he just wanted to be left alone.
For several weeks, the deputies checked on him and took him food. The deputies shared their knowledge of “The man living under the overpass” with their families. The weather was getting cold, so one family sent John some blankets, a pillow and a heavy winter coat. They also sent him bags of food for several weeks.
One day, one of the deputies told John that his father needed some help mending fences on his farm. John agreed to help. He worked for the farmer for a few days. The farmer and his wife fed him, allowed him to take a shower, gave him some clean clothes and bought him a new pair of boots.
Through conversation, it was evident that John had a Christian background. He could quote scripture better than most people who attend church every Sunday. He admitted that he needed and wanted to go to church. On Sunday morning, the farmer got up early, went to I-85 to get John and took him to church. John insisted on sitting on the back pew. After church, he thanked the farmer for taking him.
With the help of the deputies, John eventually got a full-time job working for a mechanic in the county. The mechanic allowed John to live in a small camper on his farm and took him to church every Sunday. John was accepted by the church community. He had found friends and God again.
John was a quiet and humble man and so appreciative of everything that was done for him. When he died, the man that he worked for and the people in the community had a memorial service for him.
No one really knows a lot about John’s past, but he found his way back to people who cared about him and back to God. Reminds us all of the scripture that says, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me.”
This is a true story that took place right here in Warren County. Recently, the pastor of the church that John attended received a letter from John’s elderly father. He wrote that he had lost contact with his son, John, but somehow found out about the memorial service that had been held for him. He expressed his gratitude to everyone that had helped him find his way back and wanted to hear more about his son’s life in Warren County.
—Submitted by NANCY RIGGAN