We met this drunk man on the street a couple weeks ago. It was pouring rain and about 9:00 at night. We were trying to figure out how to use our last hour of the night, because we didn't have any appointments. We just passed him and said hi, and stopped at the corner to discuss our plans. He ended up coming up to us and asking us if we could do him a favor. He kept repeating that he wasn't going to ask us for money, and we agreed to help him. He then asked us for money to buy cigarettes, and of course we rolled our eyes and said no. But he didn´t really want to leave after that, so we kept talking with him. He told us about 4 times that he lived in the Campo, but then changed the location every time. Though his story was filled with contradictions, Elder Ryan took pity on him, and we dragged him over to a little store, where we bought him some bread and ham to eat. He claimed he didn't have any money to get back home to where he lived in the Campo. We had high suspicion that he was lying, he clearly wasn't homeless, just not interested in spending his own money to find worldly pleasure. We gave him his food, and told him to take care, and sent him off.
Over the course of the last two weeks, we occasionally saw him on the streets. We always said hi, but didn't talk much, but he never forgot what we did for him. Though I was reluctant to help this man, who had clearly chosen to get blasted drunk and then had run out of money and luck, I did learn a valuable lesson. We ran into him again on Saturday, and this time he wasn't drunk, and we talked a lot about who we are. Now I don´t have high hopes that he will start investigating the church, but his heart was softened by our actions. He never forgot what we did for him. What I learned is that we shouldn't neglect those who have made unwise choices, and just slap on the excuse that they caused this on themselves. I was studying the Book of Mormon this morning and came across some scriptures that go over this exact situation.
17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
19 For behold, are we not all beggars?...
20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance,so exceedingly great was your joy.
21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.
22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.
23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.
24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.
Have a good week everyone!