Apparently the Drop Inn has had some trouble with people keeping food and trash in their lockers. So over the weekend they emptied out all the lockers, and told the guys they couldn't keep stuff there during the day. So I had some gym bags I took down there. While I was there, my friend Daniel told me he had lost all his stuff in the 'clean up', so I invited him to go with me to Goodwill. Since it was predicted that the weather was going to be cold, I wanted to pick up some blankets or sleeping bags.
We hit the mother load in blankets. I picked up all I could find, and we headed back downtown. I asked Daniel to come along to see if we could find anyone under the bridges that needed them.
It was raining hard, and we weren't able to find anyone in the usual places under the bridges. It was already dark, so I asked Daniel if he knew of any abandoned building where there might be people staying that could use the blankets. He said he did, so we headed up to around Republic and 15th St, the very pit of the drug culture. He said that the people in the building were very concerned about 'blowing their cover' and didn't want anyone to know they were staying in that building. So I parked about a half a block away. There was about a half a dozen drug dealers on the corner, and Daniel told me to stay in the car and lock the doors and not speak to anyone. He would go up in the building and find out how many people were there.
As he was getting out, one of the dealers approached the van, telling me about some good stuff he had. Daniel shouted from the other side of the van for him to get away - that wasn't what this was about. I looked at the dealer - he couldn't have been more than about 17 or 18 - I smiled and said that I wasn't here for that, but that I was here to pray for him. He backed away at first - and started to walk off. Then he came back to the van and said, yes - would I please pray for him. (Daniel was dumbfounded - and couldn't say a word.) I asked his name (Sean) and we held hands thru the window and began to pray. As we closed our eyes, I heard the other dealers approach the van and say to each other - "No, it's not a hit. - They're praying!!"
When we finished, Sean smiled and thanked me. Daniel regained his composure and headed for the building. He was only gone a few minutes when he came back and jumped in the back seat of the van. He was followed by several men and women. As he was getting the blankets out, the people came up to the windows and peered in, wondering what was going on. Daniel threw the bags of blankets over his shoulder like Santa Claus and headed back up to the building with the others following him. As he got out of the car, I heard the others shouting thanks and blessings my way.
Daniel was gone about twenty minutes, When he came back, he was on fire. He kept repeating to me that he had never experienced anything like this in his life. Apparently this building was the place where he always used to go when he wanted to get high. Any time he'd ever brought anyone there before, it was always for a drug deal, and that's what everyone thought this was, at first. When he told them about the blankets, they thought I was going to exchange the blankets for drugs. He shouted, "No - This is a God thing!!" - and then he said the Holy Spirit took over. He spoke things to them about God that he had never said in front of his drug friends. And they listened, apparently shocked to hear such things from him. He said there was an immediate transformation in the atmosphere, and in him. He said "Nothing like this has ever happened down here before!"
When we got back to the Drop Inn, we sat in the van while Daniel kept telling me how amazed he felt. We talked about the joy of giving, and now he understood. He had been part of the outreach at Music Hall, but he said it was nothing like this. He told me if he had thought beforehand about what he was about to do, he never would have gone up to that building. And when we had arrived there, he had been a little fearful at first, but when he saw the dealer praying with me, he knew the Holy Spirit had already gotten there before us. He said "I'm going to get a buzz off this for a week." As he started to go, I reminded him not to forget his blanket. He told me it had been given out too. He said in that building he was not even thinking of Daniel. He said 'Daniel was not even there. God took over and He was doing all that." Then he said, as packed as the Drop Inn was tonight, he was going to have to find a corner off by himself and talk with God about what had happened.