Often, when we begin our projects and partnerships around the city, we start with a plan of action and foresight into how God will use our efforts to advance his Kingdom agenda. Seldom do we know all the ways God will work through our steps and his plan for our actions.
Mr. Johnnie was a longtime member of one of our partner churches, Bethel Baptist. At 90 years old, he still managed an active lifestyle, walking his neighborhood every day. He was described as someone who cared for his community, a man of integrity who walked closely with the Lord. However, in recent years his house had fallen into disrepair. Mr. Johnnie lived alone, and even with his daughter’s help, there was still much needed for the house that he was unable to accomplish alone. We were connected to Mr. Johnnie through Bethel and began to plan alongside him to fix up his house. We ultimately decided on repairing some windows, restoring the floors, fixing/replacing the siding around the house, and doing some serious yard work.
Work on the house began on a hot Friday afternoon. A large group of volunteers headed over to his house and started the yard work and prepped the back wall for siding. CSM staff who talked with Mr. Johnnie said he was doing well and was excited to have everyone working on his yard. They also said he was sitting by the window happy and content, watching everyone work around his house. That Friday afternoon, our group finished up most of what needed to be taken care of in the yard and headed home.
It was that same Friday evening when we got the call. While Mr. Johnnie had felt fine that morning, he began to feel ill later on in the day. He was taken to the hospital, where he passed away that evening. We were deeply saddened to hear of Mr. Johnnie’s loss, and our condolences go out to his family and the members of Bethel church. The future of his house is uncertain, and we will proceed with guidance from his family.
While we are saddened that Mr. Johnnie will not see his earthly home finished, we find solace in the fact that we were able to provide some joy on his last day on Earth. In watching his yard being fixed and restored, we hope that we offered a glimpse of his eternal home. We rejoice knowing that while he is no longer with us, he is now resting in a place where his house IS finished, where all have been reconciled and restored, and where neither moth nor rust will ever corrupt or destroy what God has created.