He stood 6' 3" tall and weighed 300 pounds, a tower of a man, but a gentle giant indeed. Ross, unlike some other first-time guests, seemed quite anxious, even delighted to have our "first-time-guest" visit. So we worshiped by studying God's Word in chapel, followed that with a hearty breakfast, then settled in for our visit. What a blessing it was, to him and to me!
His story went something like this. "I grew up pretty rough - got into a bad motorcycle scene, was into women without marriage, and a lot more. A motorcycle accident left me in a coma that lasted for two years. Unlike myself, many others in my family were Christian believers, and they really showed it when I was at my worst. They visited me, talked to me (even though I could not respond), talked together of spiritual things in front of me, and prayed for me many, many times. One doctor told my Father after six months that if I did live, I would be a vegetable the rest of my life. He wanted to unhook my life support, but my mother said 'No, we will leave it in God's hands.' How blessed I am that she did!
"My Family had been so good to me that after my recovery I started going to church with them. One day the pastor asked if he could talk to me, and he posed this question, 'If you were to die today, would your place be in heaven or in hell?' I responded that I would go to heaven. When he then asked me how I knew that, I told him, 'I'm a good person, and I don't do much wrong, and when I mess around with women, I don't mess with the ladies from the church. So I think I should go to heaven.'
"He told me I was wrong, and that I needed a better answer than that before I really did have to respond to God instead of a man. I told him I didn't know where to look for the answers, so he gave me some Bible literature and told me to read it and see him in two weeks. When I came back, my answer had not changed much, and he told me I still needed to search for the truth. I enrolled in a class he taught on evangelism, (at this point Ross' face lit up like the sun, his smile taking over his face, and his eyes just shining) and now I know that when the Savior shed His precious blood on the cross for sinners, that He was dying for me! I know the answer, and I know where I am going!"
It is hard for me (Rev. Poteat) to express what his testimony did for my heart! I was ecstatic over the excellent work done by this pastor in the spiritual journey of my friend, Ross. To be partners with such effective servants of the Lord in the churches is an honor and a blessing. We can never give a man all he needs here at PRM; they are only with us a while, and then they are gone, many times not to be heard from again. But their ongoing relationships with their churches and their pastors and teachers can keep supplying what helps them keep growing.
There was a practical as well as a spiritual connection with Ross. A long-time truck driver, Ross was out of work because his employing company had gone out of business. He is one of those individuals who needs and deserves unemployment compensation. Ross had some problems getting this going for him; his cell phone had run out of minutes, and he missed the call from the Employment Commission about his hearing. The relative with whom he was residing asked him to leave, and so he missed the follow-up letter as well. I found out about the call and letter when I called the Commission on his behalf. We were, however, able to get the process moving again, and shortly his first payment showed up on the card they had given him! He was thrilled, and so was I. I urged him to be wise and not spend his benefits unnecessarily. That was on a Thursday, and when I saw Ross the next Monday, he told me that he had not spent any of his money yet. He was proud, and so was I!
To be able to interact with a man on eternal and temporal issues, and to be able to offer help and encouragement in both those areas is a true blessing here at PRM. Thank you to the many who lend support by praying, donating financially, sharing material goods, and volunteering in so many ways. We love being your partners in ministry, and Ross appreciates all your help!
Read more stories of God's working through the ministry of the Peninsula Rescue Mission