Paying a Dealer's Debt: Part II

Several weeks ago we shared about the opportunity we had to help pay off a local user/dealer’s $50 drug debt. The guy he owed money shot his dog as a warning. Some guys from our community group took Jonesy and his dog to the vet that night. A $650 vet bill and 18 hours later the dog died. One of our community group members fronted the money. As a group we’ve helped him cover the costs.

One of our friends read the update we posted and was encouraged by it. He confessed to me later that he was tempted to be a little bit cynical. “Would that expense and effort really amount to anything?” Honestly, that’s a question we’ve asked ourselves regarding more than one relationship that we’ve had. But our responsibility is to be faithful to what God put’s in front of us, not guarantee outcomes to ourselves or anyone else. The Christian community is to serve in faith with unconditional love, putting off cynicism for hope even in the face of the stark realities of inner-city brokenness. We know that hope that is seen is no hope at all (Romans 8:24).

We did not know if or how Jonesy would respond to our redemptive help. Our own experiences in the neighborhood and with Jonesy left us with our own doubts. One thing was certain, though, that we had removed an immediate threat to his life. This was confirmed a few weeks later when a woman in her forties was shot to death over $60 about 4 blocks away from where we were that night. You better believe that collection threats are real in a drug culture.

So what of Jonesy? Any updates? Yes! Two weeks ago one of our community group members reported that he had accompanied Jonesy to a local church on two different Sundays. This is uncharted territory for Jonesy and us! Last week, he enrolled into a residential recovery program at the Jefferson Street Baptist Homeless Shelter where one of our community group members serves in leadership. As a community group we are sharing the cost for him to stay in the program for the next two months with the hope and expectation that he will get a job and pay his part for the following months. God has extended our opportunity to directly care for Jonesy as he struggles at this possible point of transition and transformation pointing him to Jesus.

Jonesy is by no means out of the woods. But he’s made steps that none of us have ever seen him take before. That’s encouraging. In fact, as a symbolic gesture, I suppose, he’s asked that no one call him Jonesy anymore but to call him Al, his middle name. Jonesy wants a new name. It’s a good start. Please pray for “Al” and his recovery, for his friendships in the shelter, for those from the community group that will be going to visit him on a regular basis. Pray that “Al” finds a job and sticks with it. Pray that through all of the efforts to serve him and love him that he encounters Jesus and falls in love with him.

Thanks for your prayers on behalf of our family and our work at G.O. and in the city. For those of you that partner with us financially, your helping us help give Al a new chance in Jesus’ name. Thank you! If you don’t partner with us financially and would like to Jeff would be glad to discuss it with you. Email him at or click here for more info.