Fallen Friends and Heartbreak

Last Tuesday a dear friend of Union Rescue Mission, Muhammad Ali Nassardeen passed away suddenly last week. Muhammad headed up a radio program and a movement called Recycling Black Dollars. He interviewed me in the thick of our Hope Gardens Battle and strongly urged the community to support URM in our efforts to move moms and children to the safety of Hope Gardens Family Center. Right during the interview, he was also hosting a gentleman who was planning a football event in Los Angeles that featured two historic black universities from the South. Muhammad arranged for more than 150 URM program participants to go to the fabulous game free of charge – it was a real treat for our participants! We won’t ever forget Muhammad’s love and support of Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens Family Center.

Just the night before, I received word that my Dad, Carl Bales, in Iowa, had suffered a massive stroke that has left him completely paralyzed on the right side. This was a horrific blow to my spirits and my children, who love their Papa more than words can describe! I am so thankful that my mom and dad were here in California the day that our women and children moved into Hope Gardens Family Center, and were able to walk the grounds and see how their prayers for our moms and children were answered. Those of you who have kept track of my writings about my Dad may know that I often lift the spirits of the little ones here at the Mission by having them call “Santa” – who is in fact my Dad, or at least, he is my Santa. He loves to say, “Ho Ho Ho” on the phone and has had some great talks with the children. Just 2 weeks ago, 2 year old Roger and 3 year old Carlton had quite a conversation with my Dad, Santa, as I tried to redirect them from grabbing all of the backpacks at a store where I had taken their older brothers to get school uniforms.

Each day as I drive to the Mission I make a practice of speaking to my Dad on the phone as I am stuck in rush hour traffic. 3 weeks ago we were facing a horrible financial crunch and we needed to come up with a $1,000,000 bank payment on Hope Gardens in just the next couple of days. My Dad told me to be encouraged, that he would pray and that the Lord would provide. The payment was due on Wednesday, October 3rd. A one million dollar check from the Lincy Foundation arrived on Monday, October 1st! I know my Dad’s prayers helped it arrive on time, because the Book of James says that the prayers of a righteous man availeth much, or in other words, are very effective!

This week I have been grieving for my Dad’s suffering, loss of mobility, and drastic change to his life. I have also been grieving for my children who are very concerned about Papa. Our URM children are going to miss those exciting calls to “Santa”. I am having a difficult time driving in morning rush hour without hearing my Dad’s encouraging voice and words. I leave today to pick up my Mom and Dad and bring them home to our house in Pasadena so that he can receive adequate care and be around the folks he loves so much. Keep us in your prayers. Thanks, Andy B.

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