Scripture teaches us that far more often than from signs and wonders, God’s direction comes in the form of a gentle whisper in our hearts. Cliff Danley, our Street Outreach Coordinator, is no stranger to nudges from the Holy Spirit. It’s put him in the right place at the right time on more occasions than he can remember. A few weeks ago, while patrolling the streets in the Hope Coach, handing out water, supplies and hope as a part of our Code Red initiative, a small, still voice suddenly altered his route. In an unorthodox move, Cliff decided to take the van off-road. Unbeknownst to Cliff, he was on his way to a divine appointment – one that would ultimately save a woman’s life.
Riding with Cliff that day was Geoff, a regular volunteer at Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Changing Lives Center and first time Hope Coach passenger. “Writing a check has always been easy, but I felt that God was asking me to do more than that,” admits Geoff, when asked why he decided to take a ride that day. “Actually going out and telling people, ‘Hey we care about you.’ Or asking them ‘How are you doing?’ or ‘How can we help you?’ that’s when you become a link in the chain that leads them to Jesus.” Riding shotgun on the Hope Coach, Geoff was about to become a link in a way he would never forget.
Cliff tells us, “I received a call from Glendale PD to check out a potential homeless situation by 47th Avenue. We didn’t find anything at first, but then I felt led to do a little off-roading. I drove past a broken brick fence into an open field. That’s when Geoff saw her.” Lying face down in the dirt, unmoving, was a young woman. “She had a pink top, otherwise she would have blended in,” says Geoff. “We couldn’t wake her up. Cliff said that in all his years he hadn’t yet come across a dead body… but that perhaps this was the day… Then we felt her breath, just barely. We called the Glendale PD.” That’s when that small still voice nudged both Cliff and Geoff one last time. “While we were waiting, we knelt and prayed that God would keep her safe.” God answered. Shortly after, police and EMTs arrived.
After a few tense moments of trying to rouse her, the paramedics hooked up the IVs and they were able to get her conscious again. Most people would find it hard not to panic in a life or death situation like this one. Geoff had a different experience. “I can’t explain it, but there was a calm that God was in control,” says Geoff. We learned that her name was Anna. She was too weak to stand so they rushed her off to the Emergency Room. “We were just a link in God’s chain,” says Geoff. “That’s what the Hope Coach does – it’s a link in His chain, getting people help who need it. It’s another confirmation for me that God is in control.” It was a combination of God’s direction, Cliff’s willing heart, Geoff’s sharp eyes and your support that gave this woman a second chance in the nick of time. But there are so many others out there, homeless, hurting, caught with nowhere to hide from the deadly summer heat. That’s why it is so important that we reach as many like Anna as we can as early as we can this summer, to give them the chance to find a way off the streets before they find themselves hospitalized – or worse.