An Amazing Initiation Weekend (part 2)


2012-11-17 11.40.54On Saturday, November 17, we had the first missional community event for RighTrak Industries. (What’s a missional community? Read about it on Wikipedia.) The event was called the Poverty to Wholeness Housewarming, and it officially started at 9:31 a.m. (refer to Matthew 9:31). Willie’s day, though, started much earlier.

One of his goals was to start the first day of the rest of his life with a jog at 5:00 a.m. and a support group meeting at 6:30 a.m. By 9:00 Willie was showered, dressed and ready to entertain, having already arranged some of the furniture. Talk about ambitious!

We were incredibly blessed by a few large donations of furniture, as we previously wrote about, but there were still a lot of holes to plug. Willie had literally nothing but the clothes on his back. He was starting completely anew, both figuratively and literally. Have you ever been forced to do that before–move to a new place and start with absolutely nothing? How do you even begin to anticipate your needs? Toiletries, food provisions, socks, underwear, alarm clock, pens, paper, clothes for different temperatures and different occasions, kitchen gadgets, utensils, bus fare to get around, and on and on and on.

2012-11-17 11.15.12So we issued a call to action to Ecclesia, Trinity and some West U Rotary members, and the response was impressive. People wanted not only to help Willie out with material goods, but they also wanted to meet him. Who is this man that has attracted all this attention? Why him? (Why not?) So on Saturday, after enjoying some bagels and coffee from Taft Street Coffee, a dozen or more people met at Willie’s new apartment to help him move in, welcome him to the neighborhood and show their support of his effort to begin a new life. Excited about the opportunity that God has given him, Willie invited some family members to the housewarming party as well, including his niece and her husband (pictured at left). We enjoyed some great fellowship with one another and closed the housewarming party with a popcorn prayer that ended with Willie giving thanks and praying for strength to finish what he started.

testimony_captureWillie’s ambition continued into Sunday as he attended three (three!) different church services. At 7:30, dressed in his new slacks and sport coat, he went to Mount Horeb Baptist Church in the Fourth Ward, the church where he grew up. Willie was invited to give his testimony at that service. It was an impressive testimony, and he was very well-spoken. (More on this later.) At 9:30 Willie went to Trinity Lutheran to attend its contemporary ninethirtyone service. (Willie ditched the sport coat. He didn’t want to be overdressed.) Then at 11:00 Willie went up the street to Ecclesia’s new location on Elder to attend his third service for the day, where he rekindled the friendships he had developed over the last couple years.

The initiation weekend started and ended focusing on the most important thing in any kind of real, substantive transformation: our relationship with God. The first thing Willie did when he entered the program was pray for an ex-offender friend of his whose anti-schizophrenia medication wasn’t working, and the last thing he did before going to bed on Sunday was pray a prayer with his brother, Samuel, over the phone. If ever the Lord was at work, it is in this man at this time. We await with eager anticipation to see what He will do in and through him.

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