One Tuesday evening, just as I (Russ) was finished with the dishes, there was a loud banging on our front door. Linda was in the front room, and she heard a loud voice calling, “Help me!” She opened the door and found a young man lying on our sidewalk, with blood on his face and heavy on the front of his shirt.
I grabbed my coat, a blanket and a washcloth and went out to help him. Linda called 911. He said, “They were trying to kill me,” and that “They brought me out here to kill me.” I asked if I could pray for him, and he readily agreed. My prayer was interrupted several times as Linda was relaying questions from 911 dispatch, but I assure you, I prayed silently several times, along with the out loud prayers!
It turns out that “they” had stopped right next door to the church at a commercial nursery’s parking lot, where the man had been beaten and shot in the shoulder – then left there. We were the closest place and had our Christmas lights on – along with a light in our parking lot and a light on in the church that displays our stained-glass window – with Jesus as the Good Shepherd. So, he eventually headed towards us.
Before long (though it seemed like a long time) all sorts of first responders came. Portland Police, our volunteer fire department, the dispatched ambulance crew and our county Sheriff’s Department, as well. Every television news station in Portland, along with 1 radio news station and the newspaper sent someone out to our island, either that night and/or the next day, and Linda and I were both interviewed.
I tried to see him at the hospital the next day, but he was not on the hospital’s census (though he was there and being protected). On Christmas Eve morning, he called to thank us and to express his desire to come to church sometime – he was hoping to come to our Christmas Eve Service.
Linda and I reflected on this event and marveled at God’s grace for this young man and for the privilege of being able to help him. There are a lot of places that “they” could have stopped, which would have been much more isolated than our section of the island.