David Johnson “a traveler” showed up at our Church three years ago worshiping with Grace Church. We were interested in getting to know him and spent time with him. David’s journey and his time spent with us, was chronicled in the March 2011 edition of the newsletter. He asked if there was a place for shelter for the night. We gave him shelter in the block building which he called “perfect,” and he ate dinner with Charlie and Janet. They eventually helped him on his way by providing a ride to Delta. David is truly on an adventure. He told us he started working in a restaurant until he decided he needed more in life so he packed up what he needed and started his ‘‘world traveling.” That was 19 years ago. He left on this trip from Kentucky, traveling by greyhound bus and hitch hiking. He was headed to a town walking along Route 24 when he spotted our steeple. He kept walking until he reached our church, and that is how he ended up worshiping with us at our Lenten Service participating in receiving ashes and communion.
On May 21 of this year he again walked into Grace asking our Secretary, Anna Mae, for a girl that lived about a block away from the Church. Charlie and I happened to be at Church working on the Church Cabinet in the Welcome Area when I found out he was looking for me. We went down to the lobby, and there sat David Johnson, a person we never thought we would ever see again.
Jack Warntz happened to be there as well, and gave him some food from the Food Pantry. Then Charlie took him over to the block building, and he asked us to take him to Giant for some extra food. We then spent several hours with him learning about his three years of travels and all of the people he had met along the way.
Since he had left us, he reported that he had been a victim of a hit and run driver. He was found by a policeman along the road who helicoptered him to the hospital. He was in the hospital for several weeks with all kinds of life threatening injuries. After being released from the hospital, he spent weeks in therapy treatment. No one was arrested for his accident.
Over the years we often talked about him, wondering what he was doing and also remembering him in our prayers to be safe. To us it was one of those life experiences that do not seem real. He really left a mark on our lives. To have him return after three years was a real blessing. We were blessed that God gave us this special opportunity. Never once did David ask us for money, only a place to rest for the night.
We will never forget the look on some of our church member’s faces when we spoke with him and took him to the block building. I am sure that they thought we had lost “all of our marbles” (as the old saying goes). This experience had reminded us again of the verse “You can open a door to a stranger, but how do you know that it is not the Lord on his travels.” There are times when the Lord tests your faith, and this was one of those times for us. When David Johnson came into our lives three years ago as a total stranger, he also left us as a friend to always be remembered.
Janet and Charlie Murphy