I met Charles about three years ago when I stepped into their home off of School St. for a bible study. I went with a few friends that would bring some food and meet with a mix of people from South Church at Lifesource and a few other friends from New Heights. Some of these folks didn't have jobs and living off of food stamps and others were architects. I wouldn't say it was the cleanest of places and there were dogs running around everywhere. A bit messy and unorganized to hold a bible study, but it worked. Charles was happy to have people in his home and saw it as a service to have people talk about God and read the bible in his home. His wife, Molly, at first was usually not interested in participating in the bible study and their son, Little Charles, was always making some kind of noise or distraction from doing anything. However, after a period of time many people's hearts were softened in that home. I have kept my relationship with this family as I regularly see them at South Church and sometimes throughout the week.
Looking back, I've seen a big transformation in Molly's life. She would share some interesting remarks towards those that would come around the house but now she always wants a hug from me and asks me to pray for her family. I often see her tear up about different hardships going on and sees me as a good friend. Little Charles is probably the craziest kid I've ever seen. But I love him. Many people in this community have seen him around South Church or other after school programs and would agree with me with his free spirit. He isn't afraid to ask questions and get people's attention. I could see him having a huge impact in his community when he grows up if he makes the right decisions and hangs out with the right crowd.
The video above was taken two years ago when I was still getting to know the Troy family. Here is a biker jacket that Charles got me to match Little Charles.
Charles and Molly live a little bit different lifestyles than me and are in a different season of life. I am not the one to know all the answers or know what's best for their family. I can't fix their current life situations, but I can love them and be their friend. I can talk about Jesus and why I live my life the way I do. I can help them out every once in a while and give Charles a tow for his broken down car, or bring them some potatoes and eggs to eat, or take him to church and take him out to eat every once in a while. They have done a lot for me and have opened up their home to me. One of the funny things that Charles does all the time is call me to see what I'm up to. He usually calls when I'm at work or it's too late but he always leaves a voicemail. I recorded just a small number of them and wanted to share them.
I remember taking to Charles to IHOP a few times to get some pancakes. I look almost the complete opposite of Charles. We always get weird looks when we go eat together. People can't tell if he is my grandfather or some person that has been living outside. I once had some older women sitting at the table next to us tell me, "God bless you for doing this." when Charles went to the restroom. I didn't really know what to say because at this point it was just two friends going to get something to eat. I almost felt offended that I would be seen as extra loving or spiritual that I would grab some food with a friend. I guess it isn't normal to spend time with people that don't look like you.
Charles has told me that he would do anything for me. He tells me how much he loves me all the time. I am grateful for his friendship and he has made a an impact on my life in way that shows me that I don't have to love people that just look like me or act like me. He sometimes asks for help with different things, and he's ok if I say no. I love him and his family.
I did a charcoal portrait of Charles because I want to share his story with others. Someone that has loved me well and has been a good friend.
Little Charles said his Dad looked like Jesus! I got a good laugh. If you would like to see more stories or find something valuable in Charle's story then please share. Thanks for taking the time to look.