Category Archives: One Moment

This is a collection of “one Moment Stories.

My encounter with Eric a man filled with Hope

My encounter with Eric a man filled with Hope

Alicia A. Ivey

When I woke up this morning, my plan was to go to a small group meeting at 9am, then catch the remainder of the 9am service. After that, at 11 am, I would then go to UCF for my trigonometry exam scheduled for Monday morning. With all this in mind, I thanked God for waking me up and whatever it is that he would have me do today, and that I would be bold enough to do it.  I also asked God to help me with my unbelief. With that I set out and about my day, with an open mind to move as the Holy Spirit would have me to move. The meeting was great. I was thankful to hear how God is moving within the other small groups and about the friendships that were being formed.

Since service had already started, I sat in the Atrium at one of the tables. As I sat and took notes, two older ladies asked to sit with me. I told them sure please have a seat. They sat for a few moments until another woman approached them and they left the table. Not even 10 minutes later two young ladies asked to sit at the same table, once again I said sure! They noticed that I was taking notes and asked about a reference scripture. I asked them if they had ever attended the Voice (college ministry) they said yes, and I began to share with them that I co-lead Empowerment Mondays. One of the young ladies said, “I’ve wanted to go to that, but I end up falling asleep.” She continued to say this must be her confirmation that she should go. I was able to share with her what we had experienced over the last month and how fasting and tidal wave (revival) had really impacted everyone that has been attending. She said that I sold her on the idea and that she would definitely check it out Empowerment Mondays. It was about 10:30am and as the ladies left for Sunday school, I made my way to my car, trying to mentally prepare for a trig exam review.

As I drove, I was like OK Lord, I didn’t eat breakfast before rushing to church, and I should really eat something before I go to the study session. My question was what should  I eat? What route should I take to school, and what food establishments are along the way? I decided on a particular route and remembered that there was a Wendy’s, and I didn’t have to go out of my way. As I pulled up to the light in the left turn lane, I noticed that there was a man holding a sign. I read the sign as he walked along the median, “down on hard times, hungry anything helps, God bless”. I thought to myself I don’t have anything to give, then I remembered that I had some change from when I needed to put air in my tires, so I gave that to him and he said God bless you before I could. As he walked away I had an overwhelming urge to pray with him. But the light changed and as I made the u-turn and drove into the Wendy’s parking lot a scripture came to mind. When I was hungry you fed me, and with that I put on my backpack and walked towards the street and yelled to the man, “Hey, do you want Wendy’s,” as I pointed the restaurant behind me.” He said yes and made his way to where I was standing.

As we walked into Wendy’s, the man began to say,” You know with it being Sunday and all, you’d think people would be friendlier. You know Christians,” without me asking what do you mean. He continued to tell me that they pass judgment that he is an alcoholic, or uses drugs and yell things like “get a job.” He said that he would get that type of response from people driving in cars with a fish on the back or a sign that says “Blessed.” My heart sank. We placed our orders and I paid for lunch and as we waited I asked him his name.  He said “Eric” and smiled. I mentioned that I was on my way to an exam review but I had to get something to eat and I was led to get him lunch. He was very thankful. As we walked with our trays, I asked him, “What is your story”.  I asked one important question and that was all that it took. What I originally thought was “Ok Lord, I am being obedient, and doing what you said, and I will be a blessing to this man.” Boy was I truly mistaken. This man shared the love of God with me! There were several instances where I was moved to tears, but I was able to keep my composure. He shared how he moved from up north somewhere and he did not have any family. He did graduate with Associate’s degree in either agriculture or horticulture. He showed me his calloused hands, and said, “this is not paint. I work hard and I am not lazy.” Monday through Friday he goes job hunting. He has been living in the woods, and whatever he has, he shares with others that are in need. He also makes sure to witness to those around him about the love of God, who God is’ and how good God is. As he shared, I could not help but see how hopeful and how important it was for him to share the gospel. I told him that his ministry and his purpose is to reach those that are homeless and without. I would not be able to reach those he has access to. He nodded in agreement.

He also shared with me how one day in the woods, he cried out to Jesus. He was abused as a child, his father was an alcoholic and a lot of bad things had happened. He had suffered from depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. He was sick of it all, so he cried out and said “Jesus, if you are real, give me peace! I want peace! “And he said that he began to weep and he felt like something had been lifted off of him. He said no one could tell him, that it was not the Holy Spirit. Then we began to discuss that what we are fighting against isn’t flesh and blood but principalities that are working through people and the spirit realm. Even something like saying “God bless you” for some has turned into mere words when they hold such power and authority. I sat there listening, and was thinking of how could I help him, who did I know to call to help him.

As he spoke and I looked into his face, it was as if God was showing me how real things are about to get. I am sure that we could have sat there for hours just talking, but he said I know that you have to go study for your exam, so I don’t want to keep you too long. I told him “not problem.” I was glad to meet him and listen to his testimony. I asked him if I could pray with him before we parted ways and also how could I find him if I hear of any work. He said sure. As we prayed, I knew that his spirit was being renewed that the views that he had of what a Christian was had changed. Throughout the conversation he had mentioned those around him. He was selfless, putting others first. He gave away his backpack and sleeping bag to someone who needed it.  Even as we walked out of Wendy’s he still had his cup of sprite, and there was man sitting on the sidewalk. I hugged him and told him that I loved him and I would be praying for him. He smiled and waved. As I walked away he spoke to the man and gave him his cup of sprite. I was totally in awe.

I know that there is a shifting taking place. People are hungry for the truth and one way to show love to our brothers and sisters in Christ is to not only be hearers of the word, but to apply what it says and do something. If someone needs a shirt, don’t just pray about it, give the person a shirt! I have been praying for boldness and revelation, and this was most definitely an eye-opening experience. We tend to have schedules and our days are filled with things to do, but when you allow the Holy Spirit to take you off of the path which you have in mind, amazing, mind-blowing things will always happen.


“In a Hospital Room”

By Ruben Figueroa

It was late about one or two in the morning.

The room was quiet and dark, as dark as a hospital room ever gets. There were the lights from the monitors, the light coming in through the bottom of the door and the night lights of the city below.  It was cold as the air conditioning appeared to be set to zero.

I was tired but awake.   I had just gone through the most physically traumatic events of my life.

I had survived heart by-pass surgery, an emergency ileostomy and my kidneys had stopped working.

As I lay there in my bed trying to look at the street lights I felt the presence of God, he said ” I’ve heard the prayers of the many for you.”

That was  all he said.  But what I heard and understood was, I will always be with you.  In that moment he gave me peace, strength, rest and an assurance  that I was safe in his hands.  I was loved.  It was not a rah-rah moment.  It was not a get up and yell moment.  It was what I needed, it was God being my father. Assuring me that he was there and that he would take care of me.  It was not a hallucination, I had hallucinations before he arrived and after he left. I knew what a hallucination was. His presence will never be misunderstood.

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“A Little More Quality Time”

No one must have heard the gunshot, since his cousin found Don a couple of hours later.  They said it wasn’t a pretty sight.  He had become another sad statistic.  Another troubled soul seeking release from the prison of addiction and mental illness – another case of suicide.

As I sat in an unfamiliar church beside my wife and son, I was pleased to see our former minister officiating the ceremony.  As the sketchy details began to emerge, I soon concluded it must have all ended in an instant.  With guns so accessible, how could Don have known the one he purchased years ago would become his nemesis?

One by one, I listened as close friends and family members reminded me of the great father, friend, and dedicated Christian man Don had been.  Someone had left the backdoor open.  Cars along the street could be heard passing by.  I could only conclude they’d left the back door open in case anymore guests came late to pay their respects.

Wouldn’t there be more people attending? I wondered.  How sad that the shame of Don’s demise had further distanced the family from the warmth, strength, and presence of friends they now needed.

The passing cars outside distracted, yet reminded me that life goes.  For Don’s family, life would never be the same.  He left behind a former wife, a grown daughter and a now grown son – The son who had been my son’s best friend as a child.

When we first entered the church, I spotted Don’s son standing up front and watched as my mine headed toward him.  As our sons embraced and held one another for awhile it broke my heart.   Their unspoken words would have been inappropriate.  What this son needed was my boy’s presence and pledge to be there for him.  In a sense it was a shared grief between the two of them.  Don had been like a father to my son.

Sitting there in that padded pew reflecting on Don’s life, I realized that I couldn’t really call Don a friend.  He was just an acquaintance.  Growing up our son’s friendship was tighter than any two brothers could be.   I was the one who was always too busy working to tag along with their little trips.   It was Don who drove the boys through the forest, gave them a ride along the beach, and taught my son to shoot.  Regrets haunt me still.

They say it happened when Don’s self medicating became ineffective.  How could his physician have prescribed more pills needed to balance his brain chemistry if he was abusing his script?  It was an inevitable catch twenty-two.

When the disabling headaches began, I knew where Don lived, yet never visited.  After his wife and children left, I could have stopped in to encourage him, but didn’t.   Why?  The old worn out excuses that I had to work or didn’t have much in common with him sounds heartless and insensitive now.   Some call it survivor’s guilt.  I had to own my part in Don’s death.  Could my friendship have really made a difference?  Saved his life?

The eulogy and pictures displayed on the communion table up front spoke of Don’s great character of the admirable man of God he had always been.  Soon a co-worker stepped forward telling how Don had spent every holiday with his family for the last two years.  He validated the life that had been lost.   To my surprise, God had provided this special friend for Don at his greatest time of need.

I couldn’t help wondering if quality time hadn’t been the love language Don had been longing to receive all his life?  The love and companionship Don had so freely given to my son, I’d failed to return.

By the time the service had ended, I cornered this Christian co-worker who had befriended Don – pumping him for more information.   The longer I listened the more I could see what a true friend he had been.  This Christ-follower who had ministered to Don’s troubled soul had lessened my guilt, but did little to erase my sense of shame.  Whether this man had been a guardian angel or angel of death I’ll never know.   Yet, I hugged and thanked him for being there for Don.

Those lost years of opportunity with Don can never be re-lived, yet I can exchange my regrets for the prospects of others I can help today.   There’s a world of misunderstood people out there just trying to do the best they can.   These folks need little more than a hug, a vote of confidence, or simply a smile.

The lesson I learned from Don’s life is not to depend upon the angels to do what God has equipped me to do for other.  For most of us – all we need is to offer a little more quality time.