After I wrote last, you people came together in a miraculous way. Within a few hours, $3000 showed up in our bank account and another group of people had worked together to book Donte a stay in an extended stay hotel. What we needed that day was more time. You bought Donte the chance to live free.
During his two week stay at the hotel, things continued to come together. A group of three Christian guys stepped forward and wanted to consider having Donte live with them. We shared more of the story and Donte met with them. After a few more days of prayer, Donte moved in to their converted garage extra bedroom. One post on Facebook later and a free mattress showed up for him.
A few days later, Donte called me one morning asking if I knew who Jeff was. I did not. He explained that he was supposed to meet Jeff at the address where at his office, but he didn’t know which office he was in and Jeff wasn’t answering his phone. After failed googling attempts, I told Donte to just start going into every office in the building asking for Jeff and explaining why he was looking for him. His search turned up empty. But, several people pointed him in the direction of one specific office. He walked in there even though he knew it wasn’t where Jeff would be. He told them the same thing he had told every other office. One of the employees said, “We don’t have a Jeff here but you say you are looking for a job? We can help with that.”
Turns out that office was a hiring agency. We still haven’t figured out who Jeff was or where his office is. Donte completed all of the hiring agency paper work and was honest about his background. A lady came back a few minutes later with the news, “You start Monday at 4 pm. Show up at this address and you’ll need a pair of steel toed boots.” Donte found himself a job.
He has been working hard the past two weeks at a beauty supply distribution center on the night shift. It is hard to believe we all survived those first few weeks when he was released from jail. It is incredibly clear that God made a path for him: people offering their home for a night at a time so he had a place to sleep, dozens of people donating small amounts of money so that we could pay his bills and a provide a place to call home for two weeks, connections coming forward from all different corners to connect us to agencies that may be of help, a group of guys feeling led by the Lord to open their home long-term to Donte (even after I resisted several urges to take matters into my own hands and prod this group of men to consider it) and a job landing perfectly in his lap without any of our help.
I got to the end of myself: the end of my own strengths, abilities and connections. You people rose up. You paid the price for Donte. You paid what he couldn’t pay for on his own. It was beautiful. Without your help, he would not still be free. We had to have approved housing by a certain day and as that deadline was approaching, we had nothing. You purchased his freedom. The money you gave is still helping to cover his bills until he is able to take them all over.
It is so obvious that this is the heart of our God. When we couldn’t pay the price for ourselves, God paid the price to purchase our freedom. His Son gave His life in order for us to live free. Now we are able to decide how we want to use that freedom. Will we continue to walk with God and recognize all that He has paid for us or will we live for ourselves? Will we offer our lives to Him or will we pursue only our desires?
This is where we find Donte now. The pieces are in place for him to be successful; but, where there is great freedom there is also great temptation. There are still many cards stacked against him: Probation and no training in managing personal finances are two of the big ones.
Our hope for Donte is that he will use his freedom to pursue things that honor the Lord. We want him to chase after things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). His life serves as a reminder for me to use my freedom to do the same. The price of freedom is costly. What will you do with yours today?
What’s the backstory here?