Posts Tagged With: True Story

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, Act 1

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

The Intro

Act 1

Scene 1:

Some people can break one law and have to pay it for the rest of their lives. Some people can break hundreds of laws everyday and just walk away. Mekhi was the latter. Despite getting caught up in a bad way with a rough crowd, Mekhi was able to keep his record relatively clean; clean enough to get a good job as a correctional officer here in Raleigh, NC.  Now he had a good roof over his family’s head and he was bringing home the bacon with a respectable career. Mekhi was even pleased to meet some neighbors who lived around him and, even though they seemed a little weird, he could tell that they were harmless.

Yes, their new home was definitely nothing like Atlanta, but with everything falling into place, being here just felt right; and then it happened.

Scene 2:

Mrs. linville and I were in a dead sleep when we heard it: a blood curdling cry. I opened my eyes to see red and blue lights flashing against the blinds, but no sirens. Another unrestrained scream. It had to be around 1 or 2am. Another long mournful cry. It was coming from the stairwell right beside us. More crying. I heard the static of a police officer’s radio through the wall. Someone was talking to the woman crying. We didn’t know who it was, but we prayed for her. The sobbing erupted into another vocal chord ripping scream that became a cry which ended in a chocked out moan and within the moan we heard words. Horrible words.

“No, no, noooo, no, no, no…”
“Not my baby, NO! Not my baby!”

Another blood curdling cry.

Scene 3:

We couldn’t get any details until 2 days later when I happened to be out in the hall as Mekhi emerged from his Apartment in a daze. He shared with me what happened in broken sentences and random pauses wherein he seemed to see something invisible far away that would steal his attention. Hope was gone. The police investigation concluded that she passed away from S.I.D.S. (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Mid-Sentence he turned and shuffled out the door, still talking.

After sharing this with Mrs. linville and praying, we began to feel from the Lord a powerful compassion to serve them in whatever capacity we could. We made sure to be at Hope’s funeral to reflect His love.

Scene 4:

We learned later that the ordeal had rocked M&M so violently that it cost them their mental stability for several weeks. Having nothing to turn to they sometimes resorted to drowning their sorrows in booze, a pursuit which almost killed Melanie when, crazed, drunk and distraught, she leapt from their car while Mekhi was driving. Although bruised and bleeding, she survived! Mekhi also suffered from a bad emotional roller coaster that alcohol only made worse, leading him and Melanie into several fights that ended violently, something we were totally unaware of until one fight spilled right into our apartment. That was a rough night. The doorbell rang at around 11pm. Our hearts broke when we saw Melanie, trembling and bleeding out of her left eye with Kayla huddled by her side. Mekhi was close behind, bleeding from his arm and yelling. The tension was almost tangible, but God is always greater. We got them separated and spoke with Melanie. After hearing her side of the story I went and spoke with Mekhi. We labored in prayer for them to know His love.

In the end, Melanie threatened to leave Mekhi. He said the right things to convince her to stay; but try as they might to make things right, an even greater challenge awaited.

…To be continued in Act 2

Categories: linvilles in fellowship, linvilles in giving, linvilles in life, linvilles in prayer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 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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