White Boy

He called himself “’White Boy,” and in broken English he told me he lived on the street. When I invited him to our Bible study that afternoon in the park, I was surprised he said yes. He glanced around nervously, as if being watched. After all this was the Bronx, and the park was known for drug deals, not Bible studies. I handed him a Bible, and he listened. Afterward, we took a walk and discussed spiritual things, his life on the street, and how our backgrounds were similar. “White Boy” had never gone to church, had never cracked a Bible, and in so many ways was telling me that although he believed there was a god, he had no knowledge of Him. We passed a gang of tough looking guys and they motioned for him to come over. I stood on the corner and waited. When he returned he told me that they wanted to know who I was, and if they needed to “do something” about me. He told them I was a minister.
Then we sat down on a park bench and talked about the Gospel. His questions were something a child would ask, innocent and exploring, so unlike his life on the street. He had spent time behind bars, and just that day had been expelled from school.
“Whiteboy,” I asked. “Do you want to change?”
“Yea,” he whispered, all the while looking down. I could tell something was bothering him, so I probed.
“My friend was killed a few months back,” he began. “Shot twice in the back… he died a slow death. He had gone back to church, and wanted to change, really wanted things to be different, but….” He trailed off.
“What,” I asked?
“They didn’t like the change they saw in him,” he said. Glancing behind his back, he looked me square in the eyes.” “If I believe in Christ, I can’t keep doing the stuff I’m into, right? I don’t know if I can afford that right now.”
I nodded my head, and we were silent for a long time. Later, I asked him if I could pray for him. “Sure,” looking again over his shoulder. He wore a funny expression, and I knew why. “Don’t worry,” I said. “I’m not going to kneel down and make a scene. Prayer is just talking with God, so keep your eyes open and I will too.” When I finished, his chin was on his chest, and when he lifted his head tears were hanging in his eyes.
“God has a plan for you, “White Boy,” I said.
“Christopher… my name is Christopher,” he corrected.
“Christopher,” I like that name, “
He smiled.
I watched him walk away, the Bible I had given him stuffed awkwardly in his back pocket. Strutting, eyes cast down, hand jigging at his side. I whispered a prayer.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Jim says:

    He is no fool, Christopher, who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot loose. Thanks, Kevin, for this story – it touches me in a way that I am ‘must-ed” to pray for him. There is a graffittist in Prague who puts up some amazing art. Dobis, his name. In the corner of his work he writes, “pray for my soul.” Dobis.

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