… my friend from ‘Columbia’ …

… Columbia, South Carolina that is.

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” (Psalm 37:23–24, NLT)

… i am very pleased to have a visitor with us.  my new friend from Columbia came in on the noon train.

 

… actually closer to 1:00 pm, as American trains are seldom on time, but arrive he did.

… i ‘met’ my new friend on Facebook a few months ago.  just ‘another’ homeless man with a vision and a heart to help others, and by doing so – help himself.

… i had been ‘watching’ as events transpired around him, and heard that he was having problems with his leg.  as any friend should do, i ‘offered my couch’ for my friend to lay on and heal.

… what could possibly go wrong?

Lon_homeless_hungry… the first immediate problem was, neither of us had any ‘green backs’.  we had just sent our extra money to pay off the debt of a family that had been stuck in slavery for 3 generations.  they only owed a few hundred dollars, but it was all i had.

… it would be almost two weeks before there would be money available to bring my new friend up from the Capital City of South Carolina, to the Capital City of Virginia.

… and so, time went by.  occasionally we would ‘like and share’ something the other had posted on a group or personal page.  as the ‘magical day’ called ‘payday’ (also called 15th and 30th – respectably) i wondered how sensible this offer had been.  i mean, it is 2015 – almost 3 years since the Mayan Calendar predicted the ‘end of the world’.

… i mean, who can you trust?

… for all i know, he could be like all those thugs up in Baltimore.  but he didn’t look like an undercover cop.

… and so my friend started asking questions about what to bring, how long would he be staying for, would i help him set up a “501c3” corporation.  to which i replied ‘whatever you want, as long as you want, and sure’ – i mean it’s ‘Facebook’ right?

… as the 30th loomed, i started checking on the best way to transport my friend to Richmond.  as Richmond had spent millions of dollars to refurbish the ‘Main Street Station‘ i figured that would be a real nice place to bring my friend into the city.  the price was around $130 and took 14 hrs.  the price to a station on the other side of town, the Staples Mill Road station, was less than $100 and only took 8 hrs.  as it only takes 15 at noon to get from the one station to the other, i made tentative plans to book a seat on the train to Staples Mill Road and wondered why we spent millions of dollars to make a building pretty – that hardly anyone uses ….

… now the difficulty of getting money/tickets to my friend – as quickly as possible – to allow him to do whatever he needed to do (break camp, store goods, refill prescriptions, etc.) and still have time to catch the 4:07 am train that comes through Columbia, South Carolina on it’s way to our Nations Capital, Washington, D.C., and points north, on Friday the 1st of May.

… i offered to send money via WesternUnion, and then let him purchase tickets, etc, but Amtrak only takes credit cards, as so many places do now.  i could purchase a ticket, but then he would have to get the teller to print it – or they could email me a ticket which i could forward – then he could get that printed – which costs money – at the public library.

… and you start to wonder if any of this is really a good idea.  they make it so difficult to do anything nice for anyone, why should i bother?  i mean, i don’t even have a clue what this guy looks like..

A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9, NKJV)

… and so, early on the 30th i looked for the bank transfer, so that i could put the plan into action.

… i sent some money through WesternUnion, and purchased a ticket on Amtrak.  i selected ‘print at teller’ but it sent me a pdf of the ticket anyways.  i went ahead and sent that to my friend, but i didn’t know if he would be able to print it – but print it he did, and less than an hour later, he had a few dollars and a ticket to ride.

… a number of text messages, and a few hours later, and i was at the train station waiting to pick up ‘my little Columbian friend’ (cracks me up every time).

… had a nice conversation on a lady waiting on the train for Philly.  and then my friend arrived, wearing the USC hoodie i warned him about wearing.  you have to pass through Duke and NC State territory, not to mention Virginia State before arriving in the backyard of VCU.  lol

… off to get something to eat before starting the whirlwind afternoon.

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… the afternoon was filled with many gasps of, “the LORD does answer prayers”, out of both our mouths, we hooked up with my good friend, the up and coming artist, Melvin Brinkley, for an evening at the Richmond ‘First Friday’s’ night out.  there are different art galleries open late on the first Friday of every month.  they usually have a new artist on display, as well as snacks, cheese and wine.

.. thanks to our friends at Artemis Gallery who had wonderful live music as well some beautiful pieces of art and craft.

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“… i can’t remember the name of this gallery, but the banana bread was ‘out of this world’ delish’.. odf

 

… anyways, we had a wonderful first half day.  i really believe that we can help each other, by helping others.  through the course of the evening, we looked around and everywhere we went, the signs of homelessness loomed heavy.

… my friend has dreams of making life easier for his friends.  some he has already met, some he has yet to meet.

… i’m glad to have my new found friend here for a visit.  i am sure we will both learn a whole lot.

… i hope to get him blogging real soon.  his poetry is beautiful

… if you want to help my friend with his vision, ‘buy him a cup of coffee’ at his gofundme page.

 

 

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Author: orland

.. i was born into an average family in the mid-west of the United States of America. my parents were divorced when i was young. ... i have been fortunate to have experienced many things that only the rich get to see. i once stayed in the Presidential Suite of the Lai Lai Sheraton Hotel, in Taipei, Taiwan. this suite composed the top two floors of the Lai Lai, where my private room overlooked the city of Taipai. ... and i have spent time in the Federal Prison System of this country as well. ... i had a construction company on the road to 'success and prosperity' and fell pray to the lures of the American Christianity Syndrome. but thank the good LORD, He allowed it all to crash around me. ... now i am quite happy to be poor, relying only on Him ....