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Down the Lane: Finding the right thing to do

When leaving church on Sunday morning, my husband and I saw a lady and a young child walking toward the church.

The child was barefoot and walking but being pulled along by the mother. My husband and I both stopped and spoke to them.

Thinking they lived somewhere around the church, I bent down to the little girl, who looked to be about 2 years old, and asked her if she would be coming to our vacation Bible school this week. I told her I would be telling lots of stories to the little boys and girls if she wanted to come hear them.

Her momma told me they were just traveling through and they needed to speak to the pastor of the church. I directed her into the the church where our pastor was.

I may have passed a judgment on them at that moment that I shouldn’t have, but I told my husband there is a man around here somewhere sending his wife with that little barefoot baby walking on hot pavement in to do his dirty work to ask for money.

Sure enough, we saw a man sitting in a car on what looked to be an iPhone talking with four other kids in the car.

My husband and I both felt mixed emotions on our ride home.

Truthfully, we did not know the true situation the family was in or what they wanted, but sadly, in today’s world, we see it played out so many times.

Instead of the man walking in to speak with the pastor, I felt he was using his wife with the baby to do what he should have. He was sitting under the steering wheel of the car and I assumed he could walk if he could drive. There, again, I made an assumption maybe I should not have.

I do know, however, there have been times people have made enough money within an hour of going to different churches and begging for money that we could have lived off for a month.

I have heard there are those who have hit several churches all in the same day. I remember at one church while the people were in church, their cars were broken in to and items stolen.

If someone is truly in need, I am all for helping them out. None of us knows when we may be in the same situation, but nothing makes me angrier than to think of someone too ornery to work and expect the world to make their living.

I could not help but wonder if the money that might be given to them would be used for drugs or alcohol and the kids have no benefit at all from the gift.

When I looked at the car of children sitting in the back seat, I could not help but think of my own family with five children and my mom and dad.

I hurt for those children. I hurt for them if the story was one of need or if it was a ploy to use the people of our church. Either way, the children in that vehicle I felt needed prayers.

Though we never traveled in style and a lot of times sandwiches and tea were made at home for us to eat if we got hungry, we never had to beg for food. Daddy worked hard to keep us fed and I guess his pride kept him from ever begging.

What should one do in these situations?

I guess the first thing would be to find out the true need. Knowing our pastor would be in a rush to get to another campus of our church to preach and not be late, I thought of him.

Then I thought the best thing to do is send them to the police department and have churches donate to a community fund for the needs of travelers.

If they are brave enough to go there, let the police determine if there is a need, then I would think it would be a legitimate need.

I think If money is given to the wrong people it could do more harm than good for         a family.

Sometimes. I think I have watched too many TV stories to have my mind wander like it does.

I wondered what kind of lesson was taught to the children in that car Sunday. Did they learn to beg and how to do it? Did they learn if you are in need go to a church and ask for help?

I wondered if they were embarrassed to be in the car. Were they victims of circumstances in their lives they have no control over? Were their mom and dad victims of some bad experiences that drove them to come to our church?

Or, on the other hand, did the family just need prayer? I do not know at this point, but for some reason, this family has stayed in my mind enough for me to write about it.

Sue Staton is a Clark County native who grew up in Kiddville. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who is active in her church, First United Methodist Church, and her homemakers group, Towne and Country Homemakers.