Henry is a 20-30 year old citizen of Zimbabwe, Africa. He came to the United States on a work visa and has been working through out the country. He has family back in Africa. His work visa expires at the end of April. His friends, also African, from church invited him to go “on holiday”. Henry was found wandering the streets of a tourist town early yesterday morning, in tears, in distress and scared. He had left the cottage that his friends and he had rented because he felt threatened, and being in a strange town, in a foreign country, he had no where to turn. A Christian woman named Dottie saw him pacing back and forth in front of her home and stopped and asked him to talk to her for a while. Henry is tall, very black, clean cut. Dottie is about 5 foot 2, in her 70’s, and living alone for the week. For her to step out of her comfort zone, and reach out to a distraught very tall black man is the grace of God, courage from Christ.
The story that we were able to put together is that Henry became involved in a church that preaches the Bible, but does cult like actions…sacrifices and rituals. His friends were making plans to perform some kind of ritual with Henry that he did not want to be part of. Henry is Christian, he believes in God, in the Bible, in Jesus. He chose to walk away from the situation, leave his things, and be alone on the streets of a strange city and country rather than stay where he was. Dottie was his Grace. Dottie took him to a church, the pastor there intervened and provided transportation for Henry to get to a bus station. He had an escort back to the cottage to retrieve his one small bag of clothes that he had with him. All he wanted was to get away, and go home to Africa. He financially had the means to do it, he didn’t know how to do it. He got the last ticket on the last bus to the city where he needed to go. He was afraid the room mate friends would follow him. They had no idea where he was going, but they had managed to make Henry paranoid and fearful through their actions.
How much different is Henry than the American who winds up on the street because he was evicted from his apartment…not because he didn’t pay the rent, but because his landlord didn’t pay the mortgage and the building was foreclosed upon. How much different is he than a woman who is abused and finally says enough and leaves an abusive relationship? They are all the same. The difference is that in this instance, there was someone there to help Henry, by God’s grace. It took courage for Dottie to help Henry. Different genders, different races, a whole platter of differences. She did it. He had a chance to get away from a bad situation. Why can’t we do that all the time? It’s time we took a look around and have the courage to make a change.