ONE VIDEO - This video was shot last week on a day when the temperatures were in the 30s. In it you will see my friend Sim and my new friend Jonathan.

TRAGEDY ONE - Sim was a high-paid attorney in Philadelphia and lived in an upscale condo.  Life threw him a curve ball…he suffered a traumatic loss…his mind snapped and he just gave up.  He has no clue how he ended up homeless in Lakeland – but his story checks out. Sim stays to himself, has no interest in getting off the streets and refuses to come indoors no matter how bad the weather. A few moments after this video was shot I gave Sim a big cup of coffee and another sleeping bag.  He still wouldn’t agree to stay at Impact! Church overnight to get out of the cold. Every day we ask him if he needs any help.

TRAGEDY TWO - The guy that walks up is Jonathan. I had never met him before we were shooting the video.  He did come to our church that night to stay warm. In the middle of the night he slipped into the bathroom, pulled out the K2 he had smuggled in and OD’ed.  We managed to keep him alive until paramedics arrived and after several days he recovered at the hospital.  As soon as he was released he immediately went to a drug house and spent three days getting high. We are still trying to convince him to get clean.

ONE LESSON - It gets discouraging trying to help folks that do not want to be helped – but you keep trying anyway.  God is still at work, love wins and sometimes perseverance pays off in a BIG way!  Never give up…never quit trying. Love God, love people and make an impact!

An Update On Big Al

November 18, 2014 — 2 Comments

Last week I posted about my friend Big Al.  He has been an alcoholic living on the streets of the Parker Street Community for over 20 years.  On Sunday, November 9th he gave his life to Christ during the Sunday service at Impact! Church and pledged to get sober. I told him that I’d take him to a steak dinner when he got clean.  After a week in the hospital getting help, Big Al was discharged yesterday CLEAN AND SOBER!!!  Last night we had an great time laughing, talking and praying around the table at Longhorn Steakhouse. You should have seen the smile of Al’s face as he devoured a porterhouse.

Today Big Al will begin his rehab program.  Because of his past all of the local rehab centers have refused to take him.  I can’t blame them – he has quite a history of being difficult to work with.  However, everyone that knows Al has seen a HUGE change in him.  I attribute that to the power of God in his life.  As a result, Impact! Church will be taking Big Al through a rehab program supervised by Lighthouse Ministries – a great local addiction ministry here in Lakeland.

Please continue to pray for us, Lighthouse Ministries and – of course – Big Al.  I truly believe that the best is still to come!

Jeff Eppinette does not live in Florida. He lives in Texas. Jeff Eppinette does not attend Impact! Church.  I do not know how he heard about our ministry to the Parker Street Community. All I know is that a few months back Jeff started contributing financially to Impact! Church via our online giving page. Jeff’s generosity is making a HUGE impact in people’s lives that he will most likely never meet. On behalf of the folks in our community and Impact! Church, thank you Jeff Epopinette for loving God, loving people and making an impact!