In October 2013, my friend Chris Guffey and his wife, Monica, were serving at the Charlotte Rescue Mission when they encountered a group of men who are in the Rebound Program. This program is one that allows men who desire to get help can actually be helped. While serving dinner at the Rescue Mission, Monica asked Chris to come over and share his story and pray with the four men sitting at the dinner table. After Chris shared his story, each of the four men began sharing their story and how they had gotten where they are. One that stood out was Alvin “Dale” Joyner.
Dale had his first drink at the age of 3 when his uncle gave him moonshine. As a teenager, Dale began drinking more often and even partaking in the occasional drug. What started out as occasional marijuana eventually led to “testing the waters” with crack. After experimenting with crack, he was hooked. His addiction to alcohol was now out of control as was his addiction to crack. In addition to his drug and alcohol addictions, he had also gotten several tattoos, one which represented his stance on religion, a satanic symbol (pictures at the bottom). As a result of poor choices, Dale began losing the relationships that meant most to him and more significantly, was on a fast track to lose his own life.
While most people would have given up on Dale, Jesus didn’t. Recently, Dale surrendered his life to Christ. Dale now not only comes to worship on Sunday mornings, he is also volunteering and is plugged into a men’s bible study. Although Dale’s life had certainly take a drastic turn for the good, there was still one thing that he just couldn’t get over. Each time he looked at his hand (the satanic symbol), he was reminded about his past and couldn’t come to terms with how God could use someone like him to make a difference in the world. With the pain that he was still carrying, Chris began praying with Dale asking God to make a way to remove the reminder that Dale was facing.
One week later, after worship, Chris was introduced to Jordan (a volunteer on the Usher Team). Chris quickly started inviting Jordan to come and join us for men’s bible study on Wednesday nights. After being invited, Jordan responded by stating that he would love to come, but that he was unable to attend due to his work. Chris then followed by asking Jordan what he did for work. Jordan’s response blew our minds. “I own a tattoo shop.” With eyes wide open, Chris began to share Dale’s story and Jordan stopped him mid-sentance and said, “say no more. I’ve been praying for this man even though I’ve never met him.”
Last night, before men’s group, Chris and I went down to Charlotte Rescue Mission to pick up Dale and a few other men for our Wednesday Night Bible Study. While this was typically a normal occasion, last night was different. On the way to Bible Study, we stopped by Jordan’s Tattoo Shop (Divine Arts Tattoo Co.) because Jordan had a surprise for Dale. Jordan wanted to be a blessing. Jordan covered that satanic symbol with a new symbol, one that represented Dale’s new life in Christ! (See pics below).
I’m thankful that we serve a God who answers prayers and is working behind the scenes even when we have trouble seeing him. Thank you Chris, Monica, Jordan, and all those involved in allowing God to use you to minister to Dale’s life. We are blessed to be a blessing.