David Ross is a Rabbi who has been homeless, had an addiction, served time, and has accepted Jesus as his Savior. For those of you who are less than familiar with the Jewish faith, Jesus was a prophet, but not seen as the Messiah, our salvation- by most Jews. He is the first Jewish person I have met in my life that is born again, believes in salvation and the crucifixion: that Jesus gives us life after we die.
He has been serving the Fort Myers Beach area homeless for a long time. He said he has lived in Fort Myers Beach for forty four years. He is also known as Ice Cream Dave. People who are homeless in Fort Myers Beach and make an impression upon the locals end up with a nickname. Most people don’t know last names: there’s Jay, Captain Bruce, Panama Bruce, a number of guys called Cowboy, Scary Sherry….you get named by what your outstanding characteristic is. David runs an ice cream business on the beach. Seasonal income, and off season gets tight. While the rest of the country enjoys trips to the beach in the summer, south Florida season ends in May and doesn’t begin again until around September. Income can get tight for David.
David can relate to the homeless as clergy because he has been homeless, has had an addiction, and has served time. That gives him credibility in his actions. He is a devout believer. He teaches a Sunday school class at Beach Baptist that finds Jesus in the Old Testament. This in itself is unique because so many people forget that the New Testament is tied to the prophecies of the Old Testament. It’s important to understand the Old Testament in order to understand the New Testament.
David tries very hard to listen for God’s word, to do His will. For most of this, it’s difficult. Often, what we are being told by God is overshadowed and drowned out by the world around us. David, it seems, has learned to be still enough to listen and hear what God wants him to do. Like so many of us, trusting that God will provide, that God will let things work out when you do His will, that is difficult for David. David used to have a beach ministry. He preached the gospel to the drunks and homeless on the beach. He stopped doing it at some point. He said that he feels he needs to begin it again. When he did it before, it was successful. He was able to earn a living and maintain. He is hesitant for some reason. Watching David walk and talk to the population of homeless that have been in Fort Myers Beach, I can see that he can reach out to them once again. I pray he follows the calling.