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It all began with “Biblia”.
“Biblia”. What an amazingly profound power lies within the word. Many take it for granted without ever realizing its full potential and utmost supremacy. It speaks to souls yearning for peace, comfort, and love.
On a beautiful Saturday of November 9th, 2013, my husband and I decided to be a part of the Lord’s plan in bringing hope to the ones that were left behind. People on the Streets. Or in other words, the homeless – what they’re usually known for. Walking through downtown Portland, we have both decided to accomplish our monthly ritual of feeding the hungry with meals from the local McDonald’s and share the Word of God by offering a card with an encouraging verse from the Bible on it. We have prayed about this mission a lot and were filled with great joy lending a helping hand to someone in dire need.
Walking miles and miles in pouring rain, we offered a glimpse of hope to those that were hiding underneath the bridges, behind garbage cans, inside the nooks and crannies of ancient buildings and almost around every corner we turned. One particular corner struck my eye in the most unusual way. It was exactly that time when we only had one bag with a meal left in hands and my husband was hurrying to get back to our car because it was freezing cold. As we turned the corner of one of the more depreciated buildings, I’ve noticed something on the ground. Something so wet and drenched in mud, that one wouldn’t be able to recognize it. As we came closer, my heart nearly dropped to my feet.
“Biblia!” – I exclaimed.
As soon as that word came out of my mouth, a pile of old, raggedy blankets began to move in the corner and at once, an African American man appeared before our eyes. He jumped to his feet and a smile stretched across his face.
“Biblia, Bilblia!” – he exclaimed. “Yes, Biblia!”
We were taken aback somewhat by his upbeat personality. He kept on mumbling what sounded like a bunch of unorganized words put together in sentences, (partly because of the fact that he was lacking many teeth & partly because he spent too much time without food & shelter in the cold) in between which, we could make out that he wanted us to buy him some medications. As he proceeded to point us in the direction of a nearby supermarket, I reminded him about the Bible. He lifted it roughly and placed it on an old pipe that was dripping. While I was focused upon this man and trying to comprehend what he was saying, my husband Vadim stood a short distance behind me. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a man appeared before his eyes and sneaked a $20 bill into his hand, whispering: “Keep going”. When I turned around to see the man’s face, it seemed as though he had disappeared into thin air. Trembling, more so from the unexpected encounter than the cold, windy weather, my husband glanced at me with an astonishing expression on his face. He described it as an “enormously overwhelming sensation that electrifies every fiber in the body”. We both felt it. The feeling came from above, as though God himself was speaking to us in the most magnificent way. Without wasting a minute, we have agreed that we will help this African American man in any way that we possibly can. We assured him that we will buy all of the medications that he was requesting and more so.
The man carried on with his gibberish conversation until we’ve reached the supermarket, where a middle-aged woman of Asian descent genuinely greeted us.
“Hello” – she said. “How can I help you?”
Before we could tell her what our plan of action was, she greeted the man that came in with us by his name.
“Hi Charlie, how are you doing?”
Charlie began his somewhat incohesive speech, trying to explain why he was visiting her store and what “these amazing, God-sent people” were doing for him. We told him that he could have anything that he wanted (excluding smokes/alcohol) and that it was his happy, blessed day from God. He was ecstatic! He began singing at the supermarket, while picking out the most important things, necessary to survive on the street. Most of his items were personal hygiene items, food, warm clothes, and Tylenol for pain relief (he was complaining of headaches).
While he was browsing the store, we have asked the cashier about his whereabouts, because it seemed like they knew each other very well. She has informed us that he was part of the local alcohol abuse program that was dedicated to saving peoples’ lives on the streets. She has also mentioned that he was her regular “customer” (he has not actually bought anything himself, just visited her at the store), for a while now and that she has not seen him engage in any foul activity. We appreciated the information obtained, paid for all of his items and were about to leave, when something struck a chord within my heart.
I wanted to help this man so much, that I’ve asked my husband if he could do me a favor. Since Vadim is a licensed, professional denturist, I’ve pleaded with him to make Charlie a set of dentures. At first, he was hesitant. But the Lord was working on his heart the entire day, and He surely was not finished with him yet. After careful consideration, he was ready and willing to accept the uneasy task, but a load of questions came pouring down my way.
“Where will we find him again? Where will I be able to take impressions of his mouth? Where can we send him to get the leftover rotten teeth extracted? How will we find the means to carry all of the equipment and materials to a place that we don’t know of to help this stranger?”
The questions seemed to be incessant and before we were going to confuse poor Charlie, we have decided to talk about this matter over a cup of coffee later on that day. We have blessed Charlie and wished him well, telling him that we will be back to find him on the streets of downtown Portland very soon again…
And although we have yet to find a way to reach out to Charlie and others by giving them beautiful, comfortable teeth that they could chew their food with, we are working towards our goal, one day at a time.
IF THIS TRUE STORY TOUCHED YOUR HEART, AND YOU WOULD LIKE TO DONATE TO HELP PEOPLE ON THE STREETS, PLEASE CONTACT US VIA PHONE/EMAIL/ONLINE FORM. THANK YOU VERY MUCH AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU RICHLY!
We care about your smile and we will put in every effort to make your treatment as pleasant as possible. We are looking forward to serving you and helping you improve your smile and be confident again.