by Missy Reese
Inside the new construction of Christ Community Church, volunteers scurried about setting up furniture, cribs, toys, and classrooms in anticipation of the church’s grand opening on December 4, 2016. After 15 years of being a mobile church, God had answered prayer and made it possible for us to finally have a building. Although I will admit, it seemed impossible some days with so much to be accomplished. It was as if we were on an HGTV reality show and the time was ticking for the big reveal.
We kept reminding ourselves the building was just a tool to reach others in the community. We have been having church services for 15 years. Ready or not, we were having church on Sunday morning. We knew God didn’t need a building to reveal Himself.
On this particular Tuesday evening, the rain was constant. It wasn’t a downpour, but one of those of rains that make it challenging to get your windshield wiper settings just right. At the front of the building, one of our church members, Glen, noticed a man knocking on the window. Our first visitor. No one had even come through the front doors yet, and we didn’t even have keys at this point to open the door. An older gentleman stood soaking wet. Glen motioned for the man to go around to the back door. Glen met him around back and the man wandered in and asked for a ride home. Things weren’t quite adding up, so Glen found Todd, our connections pastor, to assist.
Through a conversation, they learned the man’s name. We will call him Sam. Sam said that he had left a funeral and had started walking home. “There were a lot of trucks and it started raining. I needed to get off of the road,” said Sam.
Todd asked Sam where he lived and Sam wasn’t able to tell him. “If I give you are ride would you know how to get to your house?” asked Todd. Sam said that he would. When they got into Todd’s truck Sam struggled a bit with the seatbelt, as if he was unsure how to use it. When they pulled onto the street, Todd began asking Sam about landmarks that could help them.
“Do you live near Bi-Lo?” asked Todd.
“Yeah, I know where that is,” replied Sam. So Todd took him towards Bi-Lo and asked if he knew what street he lived on.
“No, I live more in town.”
“How about a school? Do you live near a school? Maybe McDonalds?” (Todd later determined that question was a mistake because Sam said he lived near McDonald’s but he didn’t know which one.)
“Keep driving,” said Sam, “I’ll show you.”
At this point, Todd was getting concerned about what to do with Sam and how he was he going to get him home. Through more questioning Todd learned that Sam could no longer drive. “They took my license away about a year ago. I have dementia.” This explained a little more of the situation. At first, Todd thought maybe Sam was new to the area and just got turned around and confused about where he was. So Todd began questioning him about how he got to the church. “I was walking on the street. It was dark and it was raining. The trucks kept coming and I was scared,” said Sam.
“I looked over in the field and I saw these angels. I knew that if I could get to the angels, someone would help me.”
Todd was perplexed, and clearly Sam was confused.
As they continued to drive, Todd noticed that Sam was holding a piece of mail in his hand and asked him if he could see it. Thankfully, it had an address, but Todd wasn’t familiar with it. He attempted to pull it up on his phone. As soon as he typed the address in and the GPS came up, Todd’s phone died. (Why does that always happen?)
“In that brief second I could tell that the location was back towards the church. At that point we were all the way on Broad Street still driving around,” said Todd. “I saw two street names near CCC, so I headed back towards the church and began driving through the neighborhoods.”
Finally, they found the street matching the address on the piece of mail. Sam was still a bit confused about which house was his. Once Todd found the matching address, he decided to walk Sam to the front door of the house to make sure it was the correct location. The door was ajar. Sam walked inside and began calling to his wife, but no one was home. Todd followed Sam inside.
“I was still a little worried that we were in the wrong house and that Sam and I were about to get shot,” said Todd. “I started looking around the living room and found a picture on the wall of Sam with his family, so I knew we had the right place.” Through some further questioning, Todd determined that Sam had gone out to get the mail and had become confused. Apparently he started walking in his neighborhood and turned down the busy road further away from his home. Amidst the loud roar of passing trucks, a steady rain and the dark of night, Sam saw angels in the field, and knew he could find help.