A couple of days ago, as I was busily running around preparing for my upcoming trip to Ukraine, I got a call from Austin Bonds, a great friend of mine on staff with The Relief Bus in New York City.  Their staff had just finished a meeting, and he wanted me to talk to one of their guest speakers.

To my surprise, it was Jole, who I had written about at the end of my New York trip!  (Click here to read the article)

In the article, I talked about my experience taking Jole to The Bowery Mission.  Jole, who had been homeless for more than a decade, was ready to turn his life around and begin the six-month program there.

As he checked into the Bowery, I knew that the odds were against him.  With the beautiful summer weather outside and his newly kicked habit of cigarette smoking, it was going to be very hard for Jole to stay committed to the program.

But there, on the phone, was a man who had overcome those odds.

Sure, he had only been staying at the Bowery Mission for a month and a half, but his life had already been changed forever.  In fact, he had accompanied the Bowery’s director, Tom Basile, to the Relief Bus staff meeting to tell his story of transformation.

We didn’t get to talk long.  Just enough to exchange a few words of greeting.  I tried to express how excited I was for him, but for the most part, I was simply speechless.

I’ll admit.  In my heart, I had definitely entertained some doubts about whether Jole would stick around.  But as I hung up the phone, I realized something significant…

The odds don’t matter to God.

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About the Author: Barry is the founder and Executive Director of World Next Door. A storyteller, traveller and giant nerd, he lives to compel suburban Americans to get engaged with social justice and find their place in God's kingdom revolution. His ultimate dream is to adopt a pet monkey named Kevin.

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  1. Jim.M said... 


    May 27th, 2010 at 7:40 am  

    Awesome follow up Barry! And how true about “the odds”

    Step two and step three in “the program”(A.A)

    2.Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to
    3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we
    understood Him.

    After step three….there should be a qualifier “No matter how bad it seems…the odds don’t matter to God!”

    You know it is hard sometimes to think that such broken lives can be made new, we develop a cynicism that is self protective of our our hopeless image of the broken…when we look differently, through God’s loving eyes, we see endless possibilities for restoration of the human heart and soul. When we see the “Jole” stories over and over…we change, we have no excuse not to change, we have been witness to God’s transforming power in lives that are lost.

    Praise God, who is all powerful!!

    Thanks for updating us on this man’s journey back home. Pray for him, that he will be fully restored. Pray that he no longer believes the lie about himself that was derailing him.

    James 4:8


  2. Jim.M said... 


    May 27th, 2010 at 7:46 am  

    One more thing: Jole’s journey home started with one man’s open hand to a brother in need, pray also that someone reading this will look differently into the eyes of a lost soul, and open their arms, reach out a hand, and say “come…” There is so much need and, so much abundance..people bring these two together.


  3. Breanna Sipple said... 


    November 16th, 2011 at 12:29 pm  

    We don’t always get to see the fruit of what God does in people’s lives that we interact with and pray for, but it is so encouraging when we do! So glad you got to touch base with him again. God’s so good.

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