I am a former atheist who discovered Jesus in June of 2000. Now I am a chaplain and a licensed UPC minister who loves the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. . . I once was blind, but now I see. . . never say never.
About a month ago or so, when I picked Blessing Bob (formerly known as Cigar Bob) up for church he met me at the door of his home very upset. He had seen a news story that in the upcoming weeks or months that all television transmissions were going to be digital and that his little old TV with the small fuzzy picture wasn't going to work at all any more. At the minimum he was going to need a converter box and with Bob and his friend George being on a very limited income and not understanding about the government sponsored rebate coupons, etc., Bob was very upset.
Bob is 87 years old. He has been coming to church with Terry Wallin and I for probably 8-10 weeks now. Bob, Terry, and I sit in the balcony and worship God together each week. A few weeks ago, Bob's room mate George also came to church with us. George is in his 90's. 87 year old Bob is 90 something George's caretaker. George and Bob have almost no contact with the outside world other than television, so for Bob it was a crisis, facing the possibility of no television.
I sent out an email on December 22nd letting people on my little list know of Bob's need for a television. I figured that someone might have an unused television in the garage or in their basement that Bob might be able to have. Television really is an important contact with the outside world for Bob.
A friend of mine. . . really a business associate who is a friend and brother in Christ from the state of Iowa whom I met for the first time almost a year ago, while making calls with him in his state, responded to Bob's need by email that he and some friends of his would like to contribute to getting a television for Bob. I was very touched.
My friend from Iowa, Shane and his friends, who are members of a prayer group, gathered some money together over the holidays and sent a check to me for Bob. I received the check a couple of days ago and tonight Bob, Terry Wallin, and I went out shopping.
I have no idea about televisions. Anyway today I tried to educate myself as to prices, and different options for televisions so that I could spend Bob's money as wisely as possible, so I searched around the Internet to see what was out there.
Even it if were possible, I didn't want to buy Bob some huge 60" plasma home theater kind of system. In the neighborhood that Bob lives in, that would just be setting him up for a robbery. I felt that for the money that Shane had collected for us, that we could buy Bob a nice television, but when we picked up Bob and headed out I really felt strongly that rather than heading for Walmart, that we should go to a little locally owned TV and appliance shop on the north side of town. I thought maybe that they might have something in the back room, an obsolete model or maybe a scratch and dent floor unit that we could pick up cheaply. Bob doesn't have cable or satellite. He just has a little pair of rabbit ears on top of his set for over the airways reception.
Bob wanted to go inside with us and look at the televisions. It was a cold wintry Monday evening. I think we were the only customers in the store. The sales clerk who waited on us happened also to be the owner of the store. I explained who we were, Terry and I knowing Bob from our street ministry and how a group of people from Iowa had donated money to get Bob a television and we were hoping that maybe he had an obsolete model or something that was less expensive, but would give Bob a nice television.
Mr. Higley replied that coincidently (Read: Thank you Lord!!!) just a few hours ago a man had traded in a relatively new 27" Sony digital TV. His vision was going bad. He had bought the TV at this same store, but now needed a larger screen due to his increasingly bad eyesight, so he traded in the 27" for a 32" just a few hours ago. Mr. Higley wanted to go through it and make sure everything worked, etc., but that he could let us have it for $120. I told him that would be wonderful. It is a very nice television with a nice remote. Bob's voice was quivering and cracking with emotion. He was very close to openly weeping right there. . .Mr. Higley, Terry and I were similarly very emotional and happy.
Bob mentioned that he also needed a stand. I told Mr. Higley we had roughly a $100 left to spend and if he had a stand we would like that also. He is going to check out the TV and look for a stand today. Hopefully Terry and I will be able to deliver Bob's TV tonight. We may also end up having to get Bob an outside antenna also. Mr. Higley said that the digital transmissions will not be nearly as strong as the present signals and that in all likelihood rabbit ears antenna will no longer work.
Please keep Bob in your prayers. He is so very devoted to his friend George. Terry and I tried to take Bob out to Cracker Barrel or Bob Evan's to eat last night, but Bob wanted to get back to George, so we stopped at Dairy Queen and got Bob his usual three chili dogs and large coffee. Every Sunday after church we get Bob the same thing. Two chili dogs for Bob, one chili dog and the coffee for George.
I asked Bob how George was doing. He replied, "Rough." George wants to die. . .Yesterday Bob called George's doctor and the nursing home where George recently spent two months recuperating from his pacemaker implant. My guess is that George will soon be back in the nursing home and Bob will be totally alone. . .
When Bob heard Terry Wallin and I talking about going to the prayer meeting at our church tonight, initially Bob said he wanted to come, but then remembering how bitterly cold and the forecast of blizzard like conditions for tonight, he declined, but he said that he would like to start coming to our prayer meetings on Tuesday evenings. . .
It is such a blessing knowing Bob and having him in our lives. It is such a blessing having wonderful friends from Iowa who care about a couple of old men in need in Elkhart. . .