Posts Tagged 'homeless lunches'

Herman’s story is getting harder to tell

I’m so behind on the updates. Seems like life and my 3 kids are gettin’ in the way of my blogging lifestyle.

Ah, who am I kidding? That’s just an excuse. The real reason I haven’t written is because this story is getting hard to tell.

But our promise was to tell you the story…

At the end of May we had a really beautiful birthday party for Herman. Ben wrote a great update that I’ll be posting on Wednesday, with some pictures from the party.

Last Monday, Ben and I visited Herman in prison.

Yes, Herman is in prison. He got locked up. There’s a convoluted story about him trying to cash a bad check in Chester. Of course we don’t suppose to know the whole truth.

Let me say right here – Ben and I are convinced more than ever that God himself helped us hand pick Herman. He’s easy to love and hard to love at the same time. Why is loving so complicated?

Two Wednesdays ago, we went looking for Herman and couldn’t find him in the usual spots.

Ben asked Delancy, “Hey Delancy, you seen Herman?”

Delancy responded, “I heard Herman got locked up.”

Ben and I looked at each other. Got in the car and headed to the one and only men’s prison in Wilmington – Gander Hill (pictured above). We found Herman – but we had to wait about a week to see him.

On our 1 hour visit – we talked to Herman through a glass window, with terrible old school pay-phone-like telephones that buzzed the whole time. It was like a painful hour long hearing test.

All this time we could go hang with Herman whenever we felt like it, all on our terms – until now. Now we were separated by glass. Glass is such a divider. It makes it worse that you can see through it.

Herman was wearing all white. He looked a little agitated. But he was happy to see us. At one point, he said “I knew if I got any visitors it would be you two. I knew you would find me.”

Ben and I took turns straining to hear Herman. We pieced together his story. Towards the end Ben got to say his last goodbyes to Herman, and I heard Ben say – “I love you Herman.” I could tell from Ben’s voice that he meant it. Like really meant it. (Ben moved to Houston last Wednesday. He’s going to be an amazing doctor.)

I told my children that Herman is in jail. Tonight I was praying with Eden. She asked me if she could pray. What did I say? Yes, of course! 4 year olds say the most amazing and beautiful prayers.

Eden prayed….”Jesus, help Herman to get out of jail soon.”

A simple prayer, that I know God heard.

I don’t know how to pray for Herman – except that he might truly be transformed by God. That God would change him. I know I can’t. And that God would provide for all his needs.

I was reminded again on Sunday to seek out compassion for Herman. Our Pastor was closing his sermon series on Hebrews. Right there at the end of Hebrews was a verse I needed to hear:

Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. Hebrews 13:3

In a way, Ben and I have earned a voice in Herman’s life – a voice that will hopefully call him to a new place in his life (maybe over time). At least we can give him that opportunity. I’m learning through this that I can’t change anyone. Only God can, and even if I do everything in my power to change someone – it’s still totally out of my control – you know?

Oh the money! Almost forgot. It’s been a while now that Ben and I have realized that Herman is not ready for an apartment. We were in the process of looking into a couple of programs in Wilmington that offer housing and drug and alcohol recovery assistance all together. At this point, we still hope to use the money directly for Herman – once he’s in a healthy place to receive. We’ve even talked about using the money for counseling.

Just in case you’re wondering – we’re not going to pocket the money! We’re not that lame, I promise. The money will sit in a separate account until we figure out how to spend it.

You know, in the end – money doesn’t solve anything. It’s not the answer.

Give Herman One Dollar – update #2

If the statement,”Give Herman One Dollar” doesn’t mean anything to you – start with the original post. If you know about the wildfire, read on.

To all you Herman supporters…

Your response to Herman continues to overwhelm us. We talked to Herman last Wednesday (4/23), and gave him some of the hand written notes that you wrote him. Ben even read a few aloud to him.

There was something really amazing in hearing those letters read to him, as we all stood together under Heman’s Bridge. Something real is happening. I remember one note that Ben read was very simple, but it captures what a lot of you are saying to Herman. It said…

Herman, I’m praying for you in Vermont.

We gave a handful of your notes to Herman, and will give him another handful next time we see him. We’ll wait and give him all your dollars at once, but as we already said – it won’t be in cash. We’re working on a few ideas on how to best pull our resources together for something significant. More to come…

Peace!

Terry

PS – We’re approaching $300 dollars (that’s what physically has come in and doesn’t take into account all the comments on the original post)…so with the match we’re over $600. Yeah! So if my math is right, that’s 300 people that have each given Herman a dollar. I love simple math.

Give Herman One Dollar -update #1

If the statement,”Give Herman One Dollar” doesn’t mean anything to you – start with the original post. If you know about the wildfire, read on for update #1.

Our simple contract: You trust us and we’ll tell you the story.

It’s obvious from your initial response that you trust us. Thanks. Ben and I will do our best to hold up our end, and tell you the story.

The story so far? It’s working.

On Friday, I took my son Eli to Herman’s PO Box. Eli was seriously pumped to open box #363. And so was his daddy. With excitement, we turned the key and peeked in. It was only two days after the original post, so I wasn’t sure if we would find anything inside…but we did.

Herman\'s PO Box

Eli checking Herman’s PO Box (don’t worry, we fuzzed out your return addresses)

Your response overwhelms us! We’re sure now that this will turn into something significant for Herman. I went to the PO box again today, and there were 20 envelopes from around the country. The layers keep expanding and we’re giving grass roots a new name. Wildfire.

Ben posted a great update, check it out.

Special thanks to other bloggers for posting the story, like Curtis and Greg. You can find an excellent summary on Jason Boyett’s relevant blog. It’s worth the read for the Seinfeld reference. And we’ve noticed that other Relavant readers are jumping in.

Eli had “daddy” day at his pre-school on Friday. Afterward, he and I went out to lunch downtown and then took a walk over to Herman’s Bridge. We found Herman, gave him some T-shirts and fruit, and I told Herman about our experiment. He agreed to be the main character; he’s excited to see where this might go.

Eli giving Herman fruit

Eli giving fruit to Herman.

Several things that have surprised us so far:

  • How willing people are to trust
  • How this spread across the nation in about a day. (A map is coming soon that shows where the dollars are coming from).
  • How many children are getting involved. (One kid is even giving his birthday money, that’s huge)!
  • The hand written notes to Herman, that wrap the dollar. (We’ll make sure Herman gets each note – keep them coming).

We’ll continue to tell the story. Feel free to post any questions or comments on this or Ben’s post and we’ll respond. And make sure you leave us a comment on the original post so we can track the response. Be sure to leave your name, city and state so we can track this across the nation.

A lot of you have asked how we plan to spend the money on Herman. We’ve already started that conversation with Herman. He has some great ideas on how to help himself – but we’re going to make sure it’s something significant. More on that soon…

Thanks for helping our friend.

Eli and Herman under Herman\'s Bridge

Eli and Herman under Herman’s Bridge in Wilmington, Delaware


author – Terry Foester

I'm a family man at heart. I admit my world revolves around my wife Libby and our 3 hooligans...Eli, Eden and Silas. They are easy to love. I'm trying to learn to love the rest of you. I also like to ask questions.

Give Herman One Dollar

Greylias Worship
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