Guest shares his story at Trinity
Life takes everyone on very different paths, but sometimes it takes just one thing to make two very different paths come together.
This was the lesson the youth of Trinity Lutheran Church of Blue Earth learned on a youth trip to Chicago when they met one very special man.
Marcus Lewis, of Chicago, probably never expected to find himself speaking in a church in a small town in Minnesota. However, that is just what happened last Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 20 and 21.
And all because of one common force bringing Lewis and a group of students from Blue Earth together and that force was God.
It was 2010 when the youth visited Chicago with Trinity youth director, Kim Jacobsen.
“We stayed in a very old church and every morning after breakfast we would notice this man in the fellowship hall with a cup of coffee and a very well-worn Bible,”?Jacobsen says.
Jacobsen adds from the first time she saw the man she knew there was a story.
“As the week progressed we started to learn his story,”?she says.
They would not only learn that man’s name was Marcus Lewis but they would also learn that in his 65 years of life he has overcome many obstacles.
“He was 61 when we met him and he had been homeless most of his life,”?Jacobsen explains. “Forty of those years he had been addicted to drugs, but was now clean.”?
Lewis says it was God.
“A pastor came to visit him, he met him under a bridge with some sandwiches and Bible,”?Jacobsen says.
His story captivated the youth from the Blue Earth area.
“When the week ended they all hugged him and cried when we left,”?Jacobsen says.
They never knew if they would see the man again who made such an impact.
However, they exchanged addresses and sent letters to each other for a couple of years.
Fast forward two years later and Jacobsen and another group of youth returned to Chicago.
“I called him and told him we were coming,”?Jacobsen says. “He was so excited we hadn’t forgotten about him.”
On that trip they learned Lewis had gotten a job for the first time in his life.
The students even visited him at his job where they hugged him, again bringing joy to his day.
And they parted ways wondering if they would ever see Lewis again.
But, sure enough they met a third time during another youth trip to Detroit.
Now, just in time for the giving season, a Thrivent action team fund of $250 made it possible for Lewis and the Blue Earth children to meet a fourth time.
Lewis was able to travel to Blue Earth to share his story with a crowd at Trinity just two days after his birthday.
His gratitude and love for God was apparent from the moment he began sharing his story.
“I am Marcus Lewis and I?believe the Lord has saved me,”?he says. “I?am truly grateful to God.”
He was homeless and on drugs in Chicago since he was 20 years old.
“I was raised in a foster home because my mother was too young to take care of me,”?he explains.
His foster mother had raised her own children and was a senior citizen when they decided to take in foster children. Lewis explains that her only hope was to see those foster children graduate from high school.
“But, just four months before graduation, I?got kicked out of high school,”?Lewis says.
So he decided to join the military.
“After one year and seven months, I got kicked out of that too,”?he says.
He says he then found his birth mother and decided to go stay with her. But, that too came to an abrupt end for Lewis.
“She died not too long after,”?he says.
He started to find himself at the end of his rope at this point.
“I thought life was like a baseball game three strikes and you’re out,”?he says. “So I?became homeless which lead to hopelessness.”
Lewis says that by the time he was 57 years old he knew something wasn’t right and that’s when he met the pastor in Chicago who brought him sandwiches and the Bible.
It wasn’t in that very moment that everything turned around for Lewis. In fact, he continued to struggle with his drug addiction for some time.
But, what did change was his hopelessness.
“I?thought everything would be fixed after I started reading the Bible,”?he said. “But it didn’t, but what did change is that I?woke up everyday with hope.”
He says that although he was still doing drugs, ended up getting arrested and ended up in court that God was working in his life.
“The judge said that if someone stood up for me they would come up with something different,”?he explains. “And the church stood up for me.”
Lewis was put on probation for two years.
“I?passed two years probation. I?felt like I?had accomplished something I felt good,”?he said.
Eventually, he got a job, became very active in church and met the youth from Blue Earth who he likened to Christ.
“He told me that he knew what he was going to talk about at church after the last time we saw him, He was going to talk about the day he spent with us in fellowship and how the kids were Christ to him, so accepting, so loving and giving,”?Jacobsen says.