Charleston SDA Church

Charleston, WV

Wow, wow, wow! I was truly amazed to see what the Charleston SDA church is doing these days. My first introduction to the great things our God is up to in this church was Friday night when I arrived. I was immediately met by a lovely young lady whose introduction was, “Hi, my name is . . . . I’m now off the streets, and I’ve been clean of drugs for seven months!” I thought, “That’s great.” Then, the next morning as I was listening to their praise and testimony time, another lady stood up and thanked God for the changes God was making in her life and stated she would soon be getting her daughter back. My ears perked up. I thought, “Who is this church reaching out to?” Then it became obvious. In between church and my afternoon meetings, the church packed up the leftovers from the “potluck” (which was quite a lot of food, nonetheless), and we headed downtown to feed the hungry. Man, they came out of the woodwork. Then I met Isaiah. He was slobberingly (is that a word?) drunk, and then our eyes met. There was something different about him, and I think he noticed something different about me as well. He reached out to me and began to cry. He said, “I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but I’ve tried so long to give up the bottle. I need help. I’m tired of my life. I’m tired of all this. I want to be free. Please, can you help me?” I reassured him that I could not set him free, but I knew someone who could. I looked into his eyes and said slowly and firmly, “My friend can help you. And the best part is He doesn’t care where you’ve been. He just cares where you are going.” Isaiah hopped in the car with us as we headed back to the church and stayed through my last two presentations. He encountered Calvary that day as he had never heard it before. I know he was inebriated, and some may scoff at this, but he did make a decision that day. He accepted Jesus that day as His Lord and Savior and stated he wanted to go to heaven to live with Jesus. He wanted to be free from his alcohol and have Jesus instead. I wonder sometimes if we really mean it when we say, “Come to Jesus, just as you are.” Certainly Isaiah did just this. He’s in the hands of that local church now, and I can’t wait to be met at the door next time with, “Hi, my name is Isaiah. I’m off the streets now, and I’ve been sober for seven months.” May the gospel continue to change lives in real and practical ways. Praise God!