A Homeless Man Named Robert

by Bill Rudge

It was about 8:00 p.m. as my wife and I were riding from Viejas Indian Reservation to Alpine, California, in our daughter's and son-in-law's van with our two grandchildren and daughter that Tabitha said, "Dad, I saw the most destitute man I have ever seen." He was sitting by the road with a sign that read, "Wanted food." As we approached the site, I checked the van for any food or clothes, but had nothing. I left my usual bags of clothes, food and pamphlets that I give away in the other vehicle, which was at Tabitha's house.

We stopped at a fruit and produce place to buy him some food, but the gates were closed. I was going to stop and talk to him. With my young grandchildren in the van and the road being so busy, we decided that was not a good idea.

As we passed him, he appeared to be heading into the desert-like brush to bed down for the night. I said a brief prayer,

"Lord, You will have to send someone else to help him."

We arrived at Tabitha's house a few minutes after 8:00 p.m. It was getting dark so I decided not to go back with food and clothes. Then the Lord strongly impressed on my heart to do so. I got a half-gallon jug of water and some food and headed to where I saw him last. On the way I said,

"Lord, if all these attempts to give food, clothes, and pamphlets to street people are worth the effort, then please let me find him."

Within a few seconds I saw him walking down the shoulder of the narrow, darkened road, which leads to Alpine. I did a U-turn and pulled in front of him. I got out of the car and asked, "Can you use some food and water and a ride?" He replied, "I sure can!" I also gave him several shirts and a pair of pants.

He was in his 40's and underneath all the filth and stench, I could tell that he was a nice looking man. He loaded his large, smelly pack into the backseat as he got in the front seat. I asked him what brought him here and he said that he was from Yuma, Arizona, and had colon cancer. He said he lost his job, his wife left him, and his family abandoned him because he could no longer hold a job and make money. He said that everywhere he had been everyone thought homeless people are on drugs or alcohol, but that is not always true.

I asked him if he had any church background and he said when he was younger he went to both Baptist and Catholic churches. He said he had his Bible with him and read it often. He said he had a strong faith in God, but at times it was difficult. He excitedly said, "I was really down, but I just asked the Lord to give me a ride into Alpine about five seconds before you stopped." He told me his name was Robert and asked what mine was.

As I dropped him off where he wanted to go, I also gave him a copy of my book, The Last Days and my testimony. He assured me he would read them and told me he was very interested in Bible prophecy. After praying with him I said, "I wish I had more to give you." He replied, "You gave me more than you will ever realize." As he thanked me repeatedly I said, "If I don't see you again here, I will see you in heaven, my friend." He enthusiastically agreed and got out of my car with a big smile on his face.