An Encounter With The Holy Spirit In Albion, New York...
An Encounter With The Holy Spirit In Albion, New York…
My beloved mother always tells me that those who were raised around the Gospel of Christ Jesus seldom get a visit akin to the proverbial Hand writing on the wall, as recorded in the Old Testament Book of Daniel from the Divine, but instead, such a manifestation of the Lord is more subtle, yet still awesomely earth moving for the believer. In 2008, I went up to Albion, New York, working in Banking Compliance in a consulting capacity when I witnessed such a manifestation of the Holy Spirit - no, I did not see anything physical, but for me, it might as well have been. One Friday, my co-worker and I were returning from our duties, and while we were at the gas station topping off the rental, we were approached by this stranger; at least, he was a stranger to me. At first, the stranger told my co-worker that he knew him, whereby my co-worker responded that it could not have been so since he resided all the way in Long Island… upon which the stranger said that it was so because they shared the same Barber and the stranger named said Barber… confirming that he indeed knew my co-worker. Both my co-worker and the stranger reminisced for a moment and in the interim I learned that the stranger resided in Brooklyn and that he and my co-worker were both Haitian Immigrants.
The stranger went on to tell us that he was arrested by Immigration trying to cross over to Canada by way of Greyhound bus lines; the stranger also said that he had been in immigration jail for two weeks and that they did not give him back the jewelry he gave to the authorities during his initial arrest. I told my co-worker that we had to do the right thing and take him to the Greyhound bus station so that he could get back to his family in Brooklyn. On our way to the bus station in Albany - some forty miles away from our hotel - I found out that the stranger was married and was a traditional Christian. I asked the stranger if he wanted any money and he said, no, and went on to say that he was thinking about going to Canada with his wife and children because he was in America illegally. My co-worker then asked him why he did not pay someone to marry him, without the conjugal rights… so as to get legal status… upon which the stranger responded that he was a Christian and that he loved his wife. I told my Christian brother that he was doing the right thing by not marrying someone solely to stay here in the United States… and that I would pray for him to get his ‘papers.’
In the interim, we were having a difficult time finding the bus station… so we did the unmanly thing and rolled down the window and asked this gentleman who looked as though he were a farmer for directions – the farmer had the typical pickup truck and farming equipment attached. In no time, the farmer found the bus station and I and stranger said that this man was a Good Samaritan and that we had to thank him. When my co-worker rolled down the window for us to formally thank the farmer, he interrupted us by saying, ‘Fellas, you guys are blessed because the Holy Spirit told me where the bus station was,’ and then he took off before we could offer our thanks. After seeing and witnessing the Holy Spirit direct that farmer to assist us… I did something worthy of putting Christ Jesus back on Calvary’s Cross.
You see in my weeks in Albion, my coworkers, although knowing that I was a Christian, would try to talk me into going to the Go-Go bars where the women danced naked. It is true that before I became a Christian, I never drank or smoke, much less do drugs, but my vice was going to clubs and picking up women and I especially loved to hang out with my buddies at the ‘Go-Go’ bars. So after we had dropped off the stranger, my co-worker nonchalantly said that we should go to the ‘Go-Go’ bar. I barely protested; it was akin to when Sarah told Abraham to go in and sleep with the concubine, even though God had told Abraham that it was Sarah that would be giving him the heir. Incidentally, my older sister always tells me that, had I noticed that the Patriarch Abraham did not protest, but jumped at the chance to sleep with the concubine. Like my old self, I was yearning to go back to my sinful vomit and went with my co-worker to the ‘Go Go’ bar with little protest… acutely aware of what God had done vis-à-vis the stranger and the farmer, a few minutes earlier.
I ended up begging my co-worker to take me back to the hotel and sorrowful for spitting in Jesus’ face. When I think of that situation in Albion… an apt scripture comes to mind, which is Romans 7:15, where the Apostle Paul opines, “For that which I do I allow not; for what I would, that do I not, but what I hate, that I do.” I used this quote, not as a license to sin… only to understand that the Apostle Paul must have came across similar situations like my going to that ‘Go Go’ bar. Yes, I could have ended the story above when we dropped off the stranger because it dovetailed into a neat spiritual bow, but my conscience would have pricked me had I not told you the whole story in its entirety of what transpired that night.