This story is told by a volunteer in the first person.  Names have been changed to protect confidentiality.

I wanted to share with you about a conversation I had at the food pantry tonight. Originally I thought I would take the night off, but around 5:30, when normally I would have been on my way to the school, I was overcome with a tremendous sense of loneliness – which I thought was my own and so I needed to be in community!

As soon as I got to the pantry though and saw Juan, one of the regular volunteers, I knew something was wrong.  Juan is a petite man, perhaps in his 50s, who seems to have some mild cognitive impairment. He lives in his elderly mother’s house. He lost his job at a car rental agency back at the beginning of April. When I first asked Juan tonight about what was weighing on him, he didn’t want to talk about it, but soon a pretty complicated story tumbled out.

We spoke for over an hour about how he’s in a bad situation, using his unemployment benefits to pay for a hotel room for a woman who is homeless. The story was a bit hard to follow since he has difficulty communicating clearly when he’s feeling overwhelmed, and he was also hesitant to use names, but the woman is somehow related to his half-brother who is very troubled, and she herself was a drug runner at one desperate point in the past.  Juan said several times “this is such a burden” and so I asked if I could pray for him, and surprisingly he said yes.

Together we prayed that God would lift his burden and make a way for him and his family. I also gave Juan the phone number to Rosie’s Place for this woman to speak with a case worker about housing options, and spoke withPastor Dan from First Congregational later about setting aside some groceries to “accidently” still have by the end of the night to give to Juan, since he is financially struggling but is too proud to ask for help.

Please pray for Juan, that God would intervene in this situation and draw Juan to himself, and that this woman would receive the help that she needs and find housing. Juan currently volunteers with First Congregational Church of Revere but it sounds like he hasn’t gone to a worship service for years, although he was very proud to tell me that he had gone to the 8am service at PSC once years ago!  At the end of our talk he looked me squarely in the eye and said, “I enjoyed this conversation very much.” I told him that I did too, and that I would continue to pray for him – because God can move mountains.