After all, the Vietnam vet shows up without fault every Sunday morning to help setup and participate in our ministry that cooks and serves breakfast and “does church” inside the carport of a low-rent motel.
Ministry leaders simply roll their eyes with an occasional and loving: “Now, Ted!”
It’s been two years since I’ve met Ted at the Santa Ana, California, motel that’s on the city’s police watch list for drug selling, prostitution, and theft. Ted sees a lot as a resident of the motel since 2001 and he’s not shy about sharing “what’s really going on.” He loves to talk.
There’s grace shown there, too.
I was surprised to learn one recent Sunday that when I asked Ted if I could interview him on camera, he not only whole heartedly agreed, but showed how serious he was about serving in the ministry.
As I was listening to him describe his volunteer “job” for the motel carport church it occurred to me that although I’ve heard the adage about how important having a purpose in life is often, I’m seeing just how true that statement is right before my eyes.
Ted will put cinnamon in the coffee he makes for the approximately 30-60 people that come every Sunday – and he’ll tell you that he did so. He wants to make sure that you know how much he loves you. A little cinnamon goes a long way.
“We’re just basically doing what God asks us to do … with some good food and cheer, and a message for people that are hurting,” he said.
Ted’s life hasn’t been easy. We mostly hear bits and pieces from him… and there are questions. However, there’s no doubt that he’s struggled with his past.
Not too long ago, Ted made a public profession of his faith in Jesus Christ by being baptized in the motel Jacuzzi. Dripping wet, the big guy gave everyone he could a hug after his dunking.
He’s just that way… and he’ll tell you so.