Rick was one of the first encouragements I had when I came to this valley to reach out. Back in 2001, I had come here to work but felt really alone. The only house we could afford was 30 minutes from the church here. I did work with other people but no one else was full time like me. I wondered why we had come here, what was our purpose?
In the first few weeks of outreach, I met Rick who was severely strung out on crank. Just a “hello” at first and some kind conversation. Then I discovered that he was a Christian who deeply felt conviction for his current lifestyle. He asked me to make him a tape of Christian music. He wept and prayed with me and my brother-in-law. We encouraged him to clean up and go to a recovery house.
When I next saw him, he had done just that and had relief and joy. He was dealing with his problems, working everyday, fellowshiping with believers...the difference was overwhelming. He was at that house for quite a while.
Then the recovery house closed down due to leadership issues and Rick fell off the wagon again. Back to living a homeless lifestyle, we would see him every now and then. He was always kind and friendly. The last time I saw Rick, he came to the bread truck again, broken and weeping and needing prayer and an ear. Aaron, Leah and I prayed with him and once again encouraged him to give recovery another chance. Another house had opened up in the neighborhood and he left us to go to their meeting.
Rick sent me a wonderful message through my Father-in-Law who regularly frequents this house to bring them donated food. He wanted to tell me that he was well and happy. He was right where he needed to be.
Last week, tragedy struck in Ricks family and in his despair he turned to drugs. He overdosed and died. The folks who run the recovery house say there’s no doubt where Rick is right now. Finally free of the addiction he desperately fought, he’s with the Lord and has no worry of where to lay his head down or what he will eat.
I am not responsible for Rick’s successes or failures. I am not the hero of this story. I did precious little but listen with other brothers and sisters and agree in prayer for Rick. I did not know him well. Christ knows Rick though. Through all the turmoil, failure and steps forward and back, Jesus carried Rick and knows him even now. His faithfulness is truly great.