I first met Rolando—an outgoing Hispanic man in his early fifties—at Gold’s Gym. I came to work out; he came to shower and shave since, as the entrepreneur explained, he was living out of his nearby office, but only until his next big deal paid off. Fast forward ten years, and he’s still living out of various temporary locations, waiting for his next big deal to pay off. In this city, there are many like him who live by their wits as best they can. He’s also typical of believers who are passionate about, but not well informed by, God’s word.
Rolando’s “Bible,” I learned, was a pastiche of verses and platitudes he had gleaned from popular Jewish and Christian sources. When invited into his office/home, I found his Reina Valera (Spanish Bible) wrapped in a prayer shawl and tucked under a well-worn copy of Your Best Life Now. His faith declarations had the ring of authenticity but contained little substance.
Through the years I’ve tracked Rolando’s ups and (mostly) downs through various failed business schemes, associations, and decisions—all of which lacked wisdom. When discouraged, he would lay out of church saying, “I have nothing to offer the Lord.” He would stop calling me because he couldn’t offer to buy me lunch. I would track him down for prayer and to offer a Biblical perspective on his situation. Over time, Rolando has traded his guilt-ridden, works-righteousness mentality for a more biblical faith. Still, the tireless entrepreneur with no visible means of support would not be tied down to a job since it could interfere with his next business opportunity.
Rolando recently found himself on the street again. Reluctantly he called, and I got him a bed at the Union Rescue Mission. A few days in an orderly environment where meals are provided can work wonders! He has since been recruited as Assistant to the Hispanic Chaplain at the Mission and invited to help lead daily Bible studies. His personality, gifts and experience make him an ideal fit for this ministry; and now he has a reason to enroll in our classes at The Urban Ministry Institute! Please pray that Rolando will fully grasp his identity in Christ and find his true calling.