Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hello again,
It is New Years Eve and I am between services for the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. The Archdiocese of the Bahamas only has two Holy Days of Obligation, Christmas and Mary the Mother of God on New Years Day. I just did the 6PM vigil service at the AUTEC Navy Base and at 9PM I will start my drive to Cargill Creek where we will sing Christmas carols from 10-11 and then at 11 start what will be the midnight service by the time we are done. St. John's will have its service at 8:30AM New Years Day (if I can out of bed, I should get home around 1AM and will need to get up by 6:30 to meet those that start arriving around 7:30).

Yesterday a man I had never met before dropped by in the middle of the afternoon. He had walked up the hill to the Church so didn't realize he was there until he started pounding on the door. He was about 50, his clothes were in shreds and he had no upper teeth. It was a difficult encounter because he wouldn't talk. When I asked how I could help him he just looked at his feet and shuffled back and forth and, with a nervous laugh mumbled, "I be here". I really couldn't understand him and I had to ask him to repeat it about three times until I figured out what he was saying.

His unwillingness to talk went on for awhile and it was a bit unsettling with me asking questions and him not responding. Eventually he told me his name and that he had been baptized here, "Dis be my Church". When I pointed out I hadn't seen him here in a month and a half he said, "I be away Faddah" (Please know I mean him no disrespect in typing his responses like this, I do so only to give you a sense of the language barrier). He really wouldn't talk or tell me much about himself and I eventually accepted the fact he just dropped by.

His shirt was full of holes and it was obvious that it hadn't been washed in some time. I asked if he had another shirt - no answer. I had just done a load of wash that was drying on the clothesline so I walked him over there and I took down a T-shirt of mine I'd recieved from a Red Cross Blood Drive and asked if he wanted another shirt. He smiled, which I took as a yes, and I gave it to him. He took off his shirt, put on mine, then tied the sleeves of the old one around his neck so it hung down his back, then he headed on down the driveway. A strange encounter but I'm still learning things like this may not actually be that strange.

When Peter, our groundskeeper/maintenance man came by I asked him about this guy and he said that sometimes he gets 'stressed out' but he was 'a super-cool guy' and I shouldn't worry about him (easier said than done). Time will tell if he drops by again or not, we shall see.

Keep us in your prayers, we can never get enough of that kind of support.

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