linvilles in sharing the gospel

Our experiences sharing the gospel and what we learn from them.

linvilles in Love with Mr. Bishwas

[UPDATED as of Sept. 17th, 07:50am EST]

Dearest prayer warriors,

On September 17th, at 4:41am EST, Mr. Bishwas’ old and broken body lost it’s mortal grip, releasing him to behold his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, finally and forever.

We’re so humbled and thankful for all of your love, prayers, and support.

Please pray for my national partner, Jacob (Mr. Bishwas’ son). Jacob was out getting one of his dad’s medications when Mr. Bishwas passed away. Jacob is thankful that his dad is now with Jesus, but he’s very disturbed that his dad died alone, calling out: “Where’s my son? Where’s Jacob?” as heard by Jacob’s wife who found Mr. Bishwas deceased when she checked on him a few minutes later.

Please leave encouragements and Scriptures in the comments and we’ll be sure to write them all out on cards and give them to the Bishwas family.

in Love

the linvilles

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linvilles in Love with getting wet

I have a confession: there’s going to be a change around here. After recently going through our permanent pages (the Welcome page, About Us page, etc.) I realized that I have not done with this blog what I intended to do.

My original intentions are still spelled out quite clearly on the Welcome page, as I had learned to do from the many “how to start a blog” blogs out there, but I have failed to produce a single post that conformed to my original intentions.

The reason I started this blog was so that we could have an outlet for confession.

I think I started the blog out to formally. I put too much time into it and I made it into a treasure. When I finished setting everything up, I began writing about others instead of myself. Consequentially, I got off course.

I confess, often the Lord really shows himself spectacular in my life, but it’s usually because I’ve really messed something up, and it’s hard – due to my pride – to confess that failure and give God the glory he deserves for it, but that’s what I started this blog for.

I’m a wreck of a man, but God never leaves me or forsakes me, despite my incompetence. He’s put in me an unquenchable joy in Jesus Christ and he’s placed me at the ends of the earth to preach Christ, and Christ crucified, but I mess up. This blog exists to testify to how God works everything out when I mess up.

The hope in doing this is to inspire YOU to get out there and try. Try to start and lead Bible studies; try to start homeless ministries; try to start orphanages; adoption programs; emergency pregnancy centers; Alcoholics Anonymous meetings; international ministries; or immigrant acclamation services. Prayerfully Try!

I’ve changed the sub-heading of this blog to “Confessions of faith & failure” to convey a sense of realism to radical Christian service – that walking by faith means getting wet, and often very wet, but that getting wet is a good thing. Do you think that after Christ pulled the Apostle Peter back up onto the waves, chiding him for his lack ofwalkingonwater faith, that Peter regretted getting to walk on the water with Jesus? Perhaps. But he would be forever stuck with the memory of what it feels like to walk on water, upheld by the power of his King! Nevertheless, despite that powerful experience, would Peter mess up? Yes. And not once, but thrice (haha, I got to use ‘thrice’).

The Apostle Peter “wept bitterly” for this, confessed and repented, and eventually became a contributing agent in turning the world upside down for Jesus. Getting wet, walking by faith, does not entail success, but by God’s grace it does entail progress, and progressing towards being made into the image of Christ should be the purpose of our lives everyday!

But first we must put aside our fear of failure, and nothing eradicates fear like familiarity. So, henceforth, I hope to expose you to my greatest blunders, my most fantastic mess ups, and my most devastating failures, for the purpose of demonstrating that God isn’t thwarted by my shortcomings, but glorified in them.

But he [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

So, move! Go! Speak up! Standing in line at Wal-Mart? Share the gospel! Arguing with a friend about predestination, start a Bible study! Have a cousin in jail? Start an inmate outreach. You can do it, and be excited about messing up!

One of the most influential quotes I ever read came from a biography I read on the 26th president of the United States of America. Enjoy his insight:

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt


Categories: linvilles in life, linvilles in scripture, linvilles in sharing the gospel | Leave a comment

linvilles in Love with m&m’s, THE END (of the beginning)

What follows is an ongoing story. Please read these previous posts before continuing if you haven’t already:

The Intro

Act 1

Act 2

Act 3

Act 4

THE END (of the beginning)

Scene 1:

July leaves and August enters with miraculously answered prayers! Although, this wasn’t entirely unexpected…

A month prior, our dear friend, pastor Rod Wilton, had invited my wife and me to fast with him and his church through the first week of August. For the next thirty days, we prayed for God’s grace to do this because it would be the longest fast either of us had ever attempted. As we prayed, God gave us a spirit of peace and, when the fast began, we were enabled to join in. The experience was amazing and produced the most intimate and passionate times of prayer my wife and I have ever known.

Dear readers, I know it’s been a long time since my last M&M installment, and I deeply apologize. Thus, to be sure everyone’s on the same page, let me quickly recap events thus far chronologically:

July 1st ~ We begin to pray for the faith to fast through the first week of August.

July 23rd ~ Mekhi shares his burdens. God blesses us to bear them together. I share the Gospel with Mekhi for the first time.

July 24th ~ Mekhi brings Kayla over for us to pray for her to stop having nightmares about her late baby sister, Hope. Mekhi asks me to share the Gospel with Melanie.

July 29th ~ Melanie laments Mekhi’s recent downward spiral into depression and alcohol over the loss of Hope and continued unemployment. Mrs. linville shares and encourages her with the Gospel. I pray for a miracle.

August 3rd ~ God answered. Mekhi dreamed.

The doorbell rang. It was around 9:00pm. I was tired from a 13 hour shift. I didn’t want to answer the door. God graciously, but forcefully, pushed me. God gets all the glory. Mekhi was standing in the hall and motioned for me to come out. As I did so he stepped back, put his hands over his face, leaned against the wall and slid down with a groan of defeat. I was nervous. We’ve had 2-3 hour long conversations while standing in that hall. How long would THIS conversation last if he was already taking a seat? At a loss and curious to find out why he’d summoned me, I sat against the wall opposite him. He confessed his recent frustrations, which I already knew a little about from Melanie, but then he went deeper. He opened up and got vulnerable. It was surreal and somewhat like deja-vu, except I hadn’t dreamt this before, no, something else…I had prayed for it!

Scene 2:

Mekhi was a persuasive speaker, largely due to the passion with which he speaks. I don’t like vanilla ice cream, but in five minutes Mekhi could have me unconsciously nodding in agreement with how great vanilla ice cream is if he wanted to. Now imagine that type of passion pouring over you, but sorrowfully. His life has been hard and painful and he didn’t spare many details in describing it to me: where he’d come from, where else he’d been, how he got here, and why he wanted to leave, but couldn’t. His trust was completely unexpected and his vulnerability completely uncharacteristic. For me, only one explanation sufficed. God was working on Mekhi and I was witnessing a miracle! I sat patiently and listened, honored and delighted, cautious to note the details, focused (by God’s grace) despite my exhaustion. All of this backstory was not merely venting, as I might be tempted to assume; no, Mekhi was leading up to something and I needed to be ready when it arrived. It didn’t take long. I was warned by the sudden choked pauses in his story. I saw the tears well up that he fought back down. And then he said it: “I miss her, Mr. linville. I know she’s in a better place, but why did it happen? Why? I can’t stop thinking about her; who she might’ve been. I’ve been dreaming of her, about her laughing. Nothing else. We’re just there, laughing together. Melanie says I’ve been laughing in my sleep; laughing so hard it wakes me up. Then I realize she’s gone. That I can’t laugh with her…” He paused, the Spirit smacked me over the head indicating an opportunity to glorify Christ, so I said the first thing that popped into my head.

Scene 3:

I heard myself talking, but I could barely believe that it was me. I told Mekhi that Hope was with Christ and that he could be with Christ too, right now. God became flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus Christ! I invited him to accept Christ as his Lord and Savior, and explained what that meant. He looked at me so intently that I could feel the war raging inside of him. When I finished my invitation, which only took a few minutes, the following silence was almost deafening. Mekhi kept staring at me and I held his gaze, praying desperately for his soul. I knew this was his defining moment. I knew that he was about to become my brother in Christ; that this was what all his previous hardship was for. All the difficulties of his life culminating upon this one eternal point in time. I knew God was about to rescue another lamb from the slaughter.

I was wrong.

Scene 4:

The call came only two weeks ago. It was our neighbor, Ross, who called us. “Mekhi is gone.” The police investigation was conclusive: he had been stabbed. The knife had pierced his heart. Even more shocking than is: Melanie had wielded the knife.

At only 23 years old, Mekhi was gone. He is gone! Gone! Gone!! GONE!!!

Immediately, my mind rushed back seven months. Recalling that fateful night, sitting on the floor with Mekhi, holding his gaze, praying, a war of eternal consequence raging in his eyes. I knew God was doing a work within him; but it wasn’t what I expected. Just as though it were yesterday, I remembered how He abruptly looked down and said, “I can’t get with God yet, but I feel Him, and I know He’s just right there, but I can’t until I figure a few things out.” NO! I had screamed in my mind, but remaining silent. Something inside me had broken. I remember fighting against Mekhi’s decision to wait, but he was resolved. When we had finished, I prayed for him aloud, and we parted ways. I couldn’t sleep that night, knowing in my spirit that a horrible divergence had occurred right before my eyes, yet  with all my heart, I hoped that I was wrong.

Scene 5:

Between August and November, the month we moved out, we grew as close as family with M&M. We were always in each other’s apartments. Baby linville and Kayla were cousins in all but blood. My wife watched over Kayla and Melanie watched over baby linville as their own. Mekhi not only got a job, but several. His hard work and determination even got him some promotions! They eventually bought an old car from a friend and even gave up alcohol (which had been a huge monthly expense). We studied scripture as one big family and I was blown away when Mekhi turned two Jehovah’s Witnesses away after an in depth theological debate of John 1:1-3.

Mrs. Linville made progress with Melanie in teaching her life lessons from Scripture as the opportunity arose and slowly began to see a real conviction of sin reveal itself.

When the time came to leave The Mill behind, there were sincere tears, even from Mekhi, relinquishing his blithe persona. We moved in with some members from Treasuring Christ Church and focused on the task before us: preparing for our training in Virginia. We didn’t forget about our friends; indeed, it was difficult to since Kayla’s school and the police still had us down as M&M’s primary contact. As time came between us, these calls became more frequent, until we had to ask to be removed as contacts since we also couldn’t get ahold of them. All things considered, we couldn’t help but realize the implications of these calls: M&M had heard the gospel, and had received it with joy, but as soon as their faith was tested, it proved unfounded. Jesus speaks of this in Luke 8:13, “And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.”

For this to be the end of Mekhi’s story is the definition of tragedy. His is the epitome of hopelessness. Nevertheless, I have hope, for I speak from assumption, inferring his heart from actions as we watched them unfold through the grape vine. I pray he really met Christ; that he figured out what he needed to and denied himself, took up his cross, and followed Jesus. Or perhaps he saw things clearly during his final hours in the hospital. I will continue to hope, but, should the contrary be true, I know my God to be just and Mekhi’s condemnation will be seen as utterly right, for God is faithful to His promises. Now we turn our attention toward Melanie, currently being held in Wake County Detention Center. My wife has sent her a letter in attempts to encourage her that all is not lost, that she is not lost, if she still holds fast to Christ. We cannot judge her, and are forbidden to do so, just as we are desperate to love her, and are commanded to do so.

Even though we soon depart for the opposite side of the globe, we are blessed to live in an age that allows us to still communicate instantaneously. Melanie is not lost, and my wife rejoices in the opportunity to continue to reach out to her, even from across the ocean. We have also been greatly encouraged by the members of Treasuring Christ Church who are already organizing efforts to begin visiting Melanie in our stead. The story is evermore! That is why this small chapter is merely the end – of the beginning.

Categories: linvilles in fellowship, linvilles in life, linvilles in sharing the gospel | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

linvilles in Love with m&ms, Act 4

Before continuing m&m’s story, a family update is in order.

We are living on the floor and it’s awesome. Save for a few orphaned couch cushions and forsaken pillows, we have nothing to sit on. We eat meals off our coffee table. Baby linville loves it, and we do too.

Mrs. linville is busy getting all her craft supplies in order to sell/distribute/give away following the annual Craft and Bake Sale at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She really outdid herself for this and brought home over $700 in profit!!! My wife is amazing!

I (Mr. linville) am about to have my final weigh in which will skyrocket us into a torrent of paperwork as we take the next (and final) steps toward going overseas!

And now: our feature presentation!

What follows is an on going story. Please read these previous posts before continuing if you haven’t already:

The Intro

Act 1

Act 2

Act 3

Act 4

Scene 1:

Working in the medical field is hard (13-14 hour days!), but there are little things that make it easier, like only working three days a week. Even so, I came home Monday night, July 23rd, feeling good, despite knowing I’d be up at 3:00am the next morning. God was working in our lives to get glory! In my experience, there is no thrill as exciting as that; not public speaking, guitar performing, rock climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding, mountain-boarding, cliff diving, skydiving, nor airplane or helicopter flying. No exaggeration! hanging from a cliff or flying through the sky is not as exciting as seeing the Creator of mountains and air WORKING through you to get glory for Himself!

So, Monday went by in a flash. I don’t think I ever stopped smiling. The tech I worked with for the day was probably a little weirded out. Fortunately, she’s a Christian and understood (I hope). Mekhi was coming over that night to use the computer and I could hardly wait to talk to him about what he’d been reading in John and how he had been experiencing God in prayer. I was ready to hear about some supernatural transformation! When Mekhi came over he certainly seemed different. Wearing a big smile, he mentioned some texts from John that moved him, and some that confused him, but he said he had to go and wouldn’t be using the computer that night and then left. It was anti-climatic, but God wasn’t done.

Scene 2:

Through July, Mrs. linville helped me get my tendency to watch online shows under control, so instead of sitting and watching something during/after dinner, we sat and talked. The Lord really blessed this and we were still talking at 10:00pm when the doorbell rang. Opening the door we found M&M standing there with Kayla. They all came in and Mekhi asked us to pray for Kayla. He shared how she had been having nightmares every night and would wake up screaming for Hope. We prayed and comforted Kayla as best we could, and then something amazing happened.

After an awkward silence, Mekhi thanked me for talking with him about Christ the day before and then asked me if I would mind sharing with Melanie what I had shared with him. Woah, what!? My heart exploded and then grew back in the same instant. I joyfully shared the gospel with Melanie again (the first time was when she sought shelter from Mekhi after their big fight). She listened intently and began crying as I shared with her the love of God to reconcile us to Himself through Christ. Once again, I was in awe. God wanted these people and, despite themselves, He was going to get them. Seeing God’s pursuing love of this couple filled me with peace. He will complete what He has begun, both in me, in Mrs. linville, and now in Mekhi and Melanie! I don’t know why I assumed it would all happen without any trouble. I don’t know how I forgot about the enemy and the darkness of our own hearts, but in the joy of the moment, it had slipped my mind.

Scene 3:

Six days later and it’s Sunday. We’re sick and staying home from church. There’s been no communication between me and M&M since Monday night, although Mrs. linville and Melanie have been hanging out more regularly. I had just finished cleaning up after an amazing Sunday morning breakfast and Mrs. linville had just stepped into the shower when the doorbell rang (many of our adventures begin with that doorbell).

Melanie needed to wash a load of laundry so she proceeded to sort while I watched baby linville and Kayla. After a few minutes she came out of the laundry room and called Kayla to go back over to their place. I was curious about how things had been going since our last encounter, so I asked for an update. She hesitated.

While Kayla had stopped having nightmares about Hope, Mekhi had not, and his fears didn’t disappear in the daylight. They haunted him 24/7. I am not clear on the details here, but for whatever reason, Mekhi had come home drunk several times since Monday night. The worst had occurred on just the previous night! Mekhi’s behavior had forced Melanie to seek refuge in their neighbor Wes’ apartment. Mekhi had followed Melanie there and cussed them both out. Although Wes called the cops, Mekhi was fortunate that Wes didn’t press charges for being verbally assaulted and physically threatened in his apartment.

I could hardly believe it. Neither could Melanie. Mekhi was going through something serious, but he was keeping it bottled up inside, only showing the turmoil within when his hindrances were crippled by alcohol. Melanie and Kayla had stayed over at Wes’ apartment for a few hours to let Mekhi sober up. When they returned, Mekhi was weeping and rocking himself in the corner of a dark room listening to sad music and holding a picture of their late baby, Hope. Melanie said she didn’t know what to do so she just knelt next to him and prayed, but he kept interjecting “I don’t want none of that” as she prayed. She asked me if she had done the right thing. I affirmed her decision and explained to her that it’s good that Mekhi recognizes that he doesn’t want God or anything from Him. It’s good because when he looks at his life he will see clearly why God is just in condemning him and why he needs God to save him. She seemed to understand, but it looked like she was ready to change the topic. I switched directions and focused on how she was doing. I shared the gospel with her again, being sure to emphasize her need to cry out to God to be saved and ask Him for faith to trust in Christ to save her. Mrs. linville was quick to shower and dress and continued the conversation with Melanie while I watched baby linville and Kayla, and silently prayed.

Five days later, God answered those prayers.

…To be continued in The Final Act…

Categories: linvilles in fellowship, linvilles in life, linvilles in sharing the gospel | 2 Comments

linvilles in Love with m&ms, Act 3

What follows is an on going story. Please read these previous posts before continuing if you haven’t already:

The Intro

Act 1

Act 2

Act 3

Scene 1:

I know the gospel and I know how to share it with others, but doing so has always been nerve wracking for me, until that moment. On that day the Lord began taking away my fear of others and of what they might think of me, beginning His process of freeing me to fully enjoy the privilege of sharing Him with the world!

So, with my new found freedom, I walked across the hall.

Scene 2:

Mekhi answered his door and, upon my request, followed me into our apartment. On the way, I told him that we were going to help financially, but only if he allowed me to share the gospel with him. Somewhat bemused, he agreed. We sat down at the dining room table to begin.

Feeling prompted by the Lord, I prefaced with a most important clarification: that Mrs. linville and I were not good people, and this financial act of benevolence didn’t affect that. Only Christ is good and all goodness comes from Him and from being in Him.

He was confused. Good. That’s honesty.

With that unintentional introduction, the Lord had led me to express our depravity which logically requires an explanation of original sin! Praise God, He really does give us the words to say! This lead into God’s justice in forgiving sin while remaining just: the necessity for Christ’s deity, incarnation, personal perfection, wrongful condemnation, prophetic crucifixion, atoning expiration, redeeming resurrection, and miraculous ascension!

Such topics were not expressed so tersely to him; although, God did drastically limit my propensity to proliferate verbiage. Yes, He did! It happened!

Scene 3:

Mekhi didn’t break eye contact with me once while I  shared with him, but I didn’t realize this until after his humble reception of our gift and departure. During the moments following, I felt confident that something substantial had really gotten through to him. But how substantial?

The doorbell rang.

Mekhi entered holding a Bible, asking where he should start reading! All Glory to God! Having only moments before our Sunday night small group started shuffling in with the distracting aroma of food and the cacophony of children, we looked over John 1:1.

The experience was greater than any I have ever had. It was more than I would ever deserve. I was in awe, but this was nothing compared to the awe that I would know on the following night.

…To be continued in Act 4

Categories: linvilles in sharing the gospel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

linvilles in Love with m&ms, Act 2

For Christians, it is important for us to preach the Gospel to ourselves every day. Why not make it a prayer?

…Dear Lord…

“Salvation is transformation, not behavior modification.” – Mr. Linville

What follows is an on going story. Please read these previous posts before continuing if you haven’t already:

The Intro

Act 1

Act 2

Scene 1:

The cat was out of the bag. We had seen Mekhi and Melanie at their worst, and that didn’t bother us at all. We are just as bad, if not worse, so now we might all get to play on the same team. The team that knows we are lost without Christ.

Indeed, we ironically started seeing more of M&M after the night of the fight. Sometimes it was good, sometimes it wasn’t. Regardless, we were glad they knew that we couldn’t judge them; that they could be themselves around us. Eventually, we had them over for dinner, and got to know them a little better formally.

Unfortunately, life sometimes sweeps us away and we get distracted from what’s really important, and this is what happened to me. I stopped checking in on my neighbors. When I finally did after three months, I was embarrassed that I had failed to be there for them. Things were still getting worse, just less drastically so.

Scene 2:

It was July 22nd, twenty one days ago, when I finally caught up with them. I was walking toward the apartment when I noticed Mekhi and another tenant, Darnell, talking together outside the entrance. As I approached, I was tempted to just say “hi,” and continue on my way, but the Lord wouldn’t let me.
I greeted them and stuck around awkwardly, listening and learning. What I learned made my heart sink. M&M’s car had been repossessed with all of their belongings inside due to a recent trip they had just returned from. Mekhi was venting about how it was going to cost him cash he didn’t have to get his own luggage back.

We are just as poor, if not more so, but God was pricking my heart to act. Unsure of how much we could afford to help him out with, I offered to talk to Mrs. linville about it. He seemed hesitant, but after a moment his shoulders drooped and he commented that any help would be appreciated.

Scene 3:

Talking to Mrs. linville about this was…interesting. We began the discussion pessimistically; after all, we are trying to raise support for missions! Every spare dime already has a destination! When we started talking we agreed to give Mekhi half of what he needed, but as we talked more and more, the amount quickly went lower and lower, until suddenly we couldn’t help him at all. God began pricking my heart again; this was wrong. I suggested that we take some time to pray alone and reconvene.

What a difference the Lord makes! When we came back together our hearts had completely changed! Where there was apprehension before, there was conviction after; in the place of stinginess, there was generosity! Fearfulness was replaced with cheerfulness, and frustration with joy! God was giving us the grace to give! But it didn’t end there. After we were settled on giving, the Lord laid another task upon our hearts: we needed to share the gospel.

…To be continued in Act 3
Categories: linvilles in giving, linvilles in prayer, linvilles in sharing the gospel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

linvilles in Love with m&ms, the intro

Weight update: oh yeah!

I’ve reached my goal weight!

I thank all those who prayed and supported me!

Tip#1: think first, then eat. Tip#2: embrace the unique pain of muscle soreness. It’s never enjoyable, but it’s a friend.

The past 18 days have been very exciting. We stand in awe of the miraculous power of Christ and his faithfulness in sending to us the Holy Spirit to teach us all things and bring to our remembrance all that Christ has said to us (John 14:26). Time has revealed the purpose for this, and it is because He desires to be loved and worshiped by our neighbors across the hall.

So now without further ado…

The Intro

This beautiful family, the M&Ms, have given me permission to share the following, but to respect their desire for anonymity, their names have been changed:

Mekhi, Melanie, and Kayla found themselves in an entirely new environment as 2011 came to a close. The bright lights of the city of Atlanta had been replaced with the moon’s soft glow; all the buildings they once knew were now swaying trees on every side; and instead of the blaring sound of traffic below they now heard a new-born baby’s cries.

Mekhi needed to get out of Atlanta. He needed a better, safer life for his family, but leaving would be hard. Deep roots held him there: knowledge of the streets, his reputation, easy money–but not fast money. Despite the pressure, Mekhi knew the difference. Unlike many, he could wait for it. Unlike most, he used his brain. But Mekhi enjoyed more than just good common sense. Working numbers was second nature to him and as a teen he was awarded a position in the Future Leaders of America Foundation (the parent foundation of the Washington Scholars Fellowship Program). As a teen, when Mekhi called New York City home, all he wanted to do was ball. Dominating the basketball court was his past time, something that took most by surprise since Mekhi looked more like a lightweight boxer, and to be sure the man could box, but basketball was his first love. In New York he had everything. Life was easy. The future was easy: play ball, get scouted to play for some school, get better and go pro; but that future disappeared overnight. In one day it was all ripped away, but that’s another story. Atlanta was his home now and for him those streets were made of gold.  He could stay and maybe continue to prosper, but then there was death, which was always too close for comfort, and getting closer.

Melanie had to grow up fast. Home was not the easiest place to live, but it was better than being homeless, although sometimes she wondered. If only loyalty and kindness could be cashed in, she’d be rich. Unfortunately, strong character didn’t pay the bills and she had Kayla to care for, so she worked a job like the rest of us, well, maybe not like Mekhi with his streets of gold. It’s likely that Melanie wasn’t fooled by the strut or the swagger when he came waltzing into the gas station while she worked behind the counter. That time she didn’t even notice him, but he noticed her. Eventually, she took a good look and yeah, she liked what she saw. Mekhi wasn’t about to turn down the attention of a woman as beautiful as Melanie, so it probably wasn’t long before they were seeing each other exclusively.

Little Kayla was too young to remember meeting Mekhi, but to his credit he didn’t let the fact that Melanie already had a baby keep him from pursuing her. Mekhi didn’t realize it right away but deep down he was a family man at heart. When he had to make the choice of whether to stay in Atlanta or leave, he left. Melanie and Kayla could survive Atlanta with him, so it was something else that pushed him over the edge, something that meant so much to him that he was willing to give up everything else for it. What was it? It was his baby, Mekhi’s first child: Hope.

It all happened so fast. Life is like that. At first, life just goes on as usual, nothing changes for months, even years, and then everything changes all at once. That’s the way Mekhi’s move to Atlanta was, and the move to Wake Forest, NC was no different. He wanted to be out of the city before Hope arrived and, sure enough, the day he signed the lease for the apartment across the hall from us was the day Hope was born. Mekhi was a family man. His family was safe. He had dodged the bullet, escaped the trap, and put some distance between himself and death, or so he thought.

…To be continued in Act 1

Categories: linvilles in life, linvilles in prayer, linvilles in scripture, linvilles in sharing the gospel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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