Originally posted on ABCCM’s website December 14, 2017
Earlier in the year a young man close to my age came into the Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM) Ferguson Family Crisis Site in Candler seeking assistance with an extremely high electric bill. His name was Elijah, and he had recently received a clean bill of health after a hard battle with cancer. This was great news! The issue that Elijah and his family of seven were facing at this point was that the temporary disability funds and food assistance he was receiving during his treatment was rather abruptly cut as soon as he had been given a healthy diagnosis. Elijah had to spend every cent of his savings to pay his mortgage and other essential bills. As a result, he was unable to afford electricity or food for his family.
This is an unfortunate reality that many of our neighbors experience in times of hardship, but what made this story stand out for me is how easily this story could be my own. Elijah is a father, I am a father. Elijah is a carpenter, I was a carpenter. After speaking with him for a while I realized that we had a lot of other similarities, but one of the big differences between us was that Elijah got sick, and I am (so far) healthy.
The fact that something so serious, and so random, can so quickly put a person or family into a serious crisis situation is one of the reasons why I feel so blessed to be able to work with an organization like ABCCM. As we often do, we were able to help Elijah avoid disconnection of his electric service and provide his family with some food. Of equal importance, we were also able to sit with him, listen to his story, show him that there are people who care and want to help mitigate unfortunate situations, and provide a path forward.
Elijah is now working full time and is taking classes in order to enter the medical field. He feels called to give back to the world by joining those who helped him beat cancer. When he walked out of our office, he expressed his deep gratitude for our service and care.
As we prepare to walk into another year, I feel called to express my deep gratitude to the churches, individuals, and businesses that support ABCCM, to the volunteers and clients who we work with to keep God’s word, and to the Lord Jesus Christ who gives us the opportunity to follow in His example.