The attorney’s desk was large. At first, it felt like we were sitting far away from him. He was the executor of the estate that owned the old, now vacant, post office building in Broderick, California. Our mission that morning was to convince him to rent the large building to us, a couple of wide-eyed idealists. We wanted to start a soup kitchen for the down and outers that had become our friends.
For nearly a year, we had taken our message of hope to the little community. A Baptist church had partnered with us, hosting our Vacation Bible School and other outreaches. Steve had walked the streets, inviting many of the men to our meetings. Our little team of mostly young couples (all in our 20s) had come to realize that we needed a venue. We needed our own place to host all the programs we had envisioned. We had no funding, no big organizational sponsors to back us. Our own church thought we were a little over the top at times. All we had was our trust that God was leading us to help the poor in whatever way He led us and we were idealistic enough to believe He would make a way.
The lawyer listened intently as Steve told stories of how God had come through time after time for us. A family “happened’ to make an extra loaf of bread when we needed. Our house rent was “somehow” in our checkbook right when we needed it. Steve told him about Joe who lived in one of the one room shacks in the area, yet walked with the dignity of a statesman. He told him about Red who’d accepted our invitation to dinner in our home, but had difficulty finishing the food. Apparently, the sight of our little family reminded Red of what he had sacrificed for his life of alcoholism. We soon learned that Red and Joe were just two Wounded Soldiers, wounded by life and their own decisions.
We knew we had no special gift to give them except our friendship and a warm meal. We hadn't made a vow of poverty, exactly. What we had determined, though, was that we chose to live as simply as possible so we could remain as authentic as possible. Thus we didn’t have a lot of money to offer this lawyer or his estate.
Suddenly, before we knew it, the attorney stood up, shook Steve’s hand and said, “If you can trust God, I can trust you.” We got the building and while there, we never missed a payment.