Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Today, I return to the State Fair here in Tulsa, to work with the "carnies." What an interesting people they are. I met many, and their stories are pretty amazing. Traveling from state to state doing the fair circuit is an interesting life. These folks have very little.

One of the ladies I met had just a few teeth left. She had a very outgoing personality. I guess you would have to, to lead that lifestyle. Her name is Rhonda. Rhonda had traveled from Albuquerque where she had worked the fair, to get here. However, she had to hitchhike to get here. Some truckers took pity on her, and saw that she arrived.

Rhonda had a car and a boyfriend, but as the fair drew to a close in New Mexico, he decided to leave with her car and her money. She was literally left with the clothes on her back, and penniless.

Rhonda and I talked about Jesus. She knew it was coming, and was proactive in the conversation. The carnies have discussed their beliefs with chaplain after chaplain, at fair after fair. Most of them remain very gracious.

She was out front with her belief in God and her proclamation of a personal relationship. Why is it that it can be hard to believe? The fact that her life is different than mine cannot be reason enough. Yet, it seems to be the launching point for me to make judgments. I know I shouldn't, but our traditional view of carnival workers is that they march differently.

After all, they tend to dress different, a different aroma often wafts from their general direction, their language is course, their English broken and alcohol often seems to be one of their staple food groups. You know, it is every bit like the mission field!

Instead of passing judgment on these that I see and share with, Lord help me to have a burden for their salvation. Show me how I can impact their lives by loving and listening. Help me only to speak when you open my mouth. They have heard it all, and seen life from a very different perspective. It is not my right to consider them less, but only to love them like the "least of these."

Dean is another carnie I spent time with. Dean arrived from Oklahoma City's fair. He has a 22 year old daughter who is strung out on drugs. His wife often accompanies him, but is not here in Tulsa.

You see, their daughter has gone missing. Tears formed in the corners of Dean's hardened eyes as he opened up. He fears the worst, and hopes for the best. I do not understand that kind of pain. I shared with him that I had lost a son, and knew what it was like to have him missing from my life. Dean then revealed that he too, had lost a child. Another child. Another daughter.

The pain and hurt around us is staggering. Praying for Dean was the most I could do, but I confess that is feels so hopeless, sometimes. This man has learned to go on in life under circumstances that would cripple me. However, Dean needs Jesus.

I do not know how those who don't know Christ can cope with life. I am thankful that He has blessed me with the ability to do so, and that He has provided me with opportunities to find a mission field here in my backyard.

Bless a life today, share Jesus.



At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today I take my first case as a Special Advocate for children. It, too, seems hopeless as sooooo many children are suffering. So many families are broken, right here in our back yards. I heard God calling me to work with these kids two years ago, and was waiting for the "right time". I don't know how many lives I would have touched had I heeded His call to me then, but I know that I am going now, one family at a time, to show love and compassion to these families and try and do what is best for the children involved.

Touch a neighbor in need, touch a child in need, touch someone that seems helpless. Get involved with people that REALLY need our love and prayers -- today.

At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The more I engage with the world, the more I understand Christ's urging to love one another, care for the least,last and the lost. There is so much pain, hurt in the world. Hopelessness reigns in cruel reality. Jesus IS the only hope of the World. And the need is so DEEP, it seems to overwhelm and intimidate me. But with God, all things are possible. Jesus we, I need you!

At 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



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