Since the start of The Secret Angel in 2006, this is the longest I’ve gone between letters. But as you can imagine, the needs have continued to come to me. So thank you again for being a part of this ministry. Your prayers and support are making a REAL impact on the individuals we help.
At last count, your gifts have touched well over 150 families in South and West Dallas and our donations have surpassed $216,000. I was fortunate this week to meet several folks as I traveled around the Fair Park area. I didn’t have to venture more than a street away from Fair Park to be reminded of the difficult conditions in this poverty-stricken area of Dallas. It was nothing new to me, but seeing again the environment these folks live in took my breath away. How totally stunning it was to see these conditions only twenty minutes from the plush, green, well-manicured areas most of us enjoy.
At one point, in a mostly abandoned area, I literally pulled over to gather my thoughts. Sure enough, as I looked up at the building in front of me and saw where someone had painted “The Ten Commandments.”
The timing was a miracle and I was immediately reminded why God had me there. Forgive the painter’s misspelling but enjoy the simplicity of his words…
As you know, we normally try to help 2-4 folks each letter. But this time, I feel strongly about one individual I encountered and would like to focus solely on him and his needs. So indulge me as I deviate from my normal format and give you a brief summary of a good Christian soul who needs our help.
Tommy B.- Tommy is a big man with Popeye forearms who warmly greeted me and shook my hand. He served in the Navy for 14 years mostly aboard the USS Ranger with his “5000 other buddies.” He’s a local product who grew up in the neighborhood and attended Lincoln High School. He went on to play football at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M Commerce) on the D-Line with former cowboy #79 Harvey Martin. He attended Cowboy training camp but injuries kept him from pro ball. He went on teach at DISD until health complications forced his retirement.
Tommy lives in a very small house built in 1936. Some of the interior appears to be in its original condition. As you can see, Tommy has maintained the outside extremely well (see picture below) telling me he repaints it every chance he gets.
Tommy told me, “I’m never just sitting around… there is always things to do on my house.”
But quite frankly, the inside is not appropriate for a human being to live in. It’s tidy, but it’s falling apart. There is no air conditioning or lighting. He has electricity but hasn’t been able to use the lights because of some electrical issue that needs repair. The kitchen and restroom are similar to what you might see in a gas station bathroom in a bad part of town. How this gentle giant is able to get around and use these facilities is beyond me.
Tommy has issues with his legs, which confines him to mostly using a walker. He did walk with me briefly before needing to sit in his walker to talk. Heat exacerbates his leg problems and makes them swell worse. This is obviously a big problem in a non-air-conditioned house in Dallas. Keep in mind that this is a guy who still maintains his own house!
Tommy is clearly a proud man who has a warm personality. He attends Church of Christ near his home and is a strong believer. I commented on his Last Supper painting and he said he “couldn’t get by without God…no way without God in my life.” He still volunteers heavily in the neighborhood, going to all neighborhood meetings and at church and other places. He is also an active volunteer at one of the Christian Charities I work with called Dallas Leadership Foundation. One of the DLF guys told me there was a stretch where Tommy showed up every night for an event they had this year. A tireless Christian who sure needs a hand up.
“We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead” 2 Corinthians 1:8-9,
The need is at least $4,000 to focus on A/C, electricity, restroom, and kitchen repairs.
As always, the Lord had a plan and I know He led me to Tommy Wednesday morning. I am very lucky to have met him and was touched by his faith and story. I wish you all could have the pleasure of meeting him as I did.
The rich and the poor have this in common: the Lord is the maker of them all. Proverbs 22:2