A long time ago, after Joshua had been in school a month or so, it became apparent that reinforcements were needed...for him, AND for his teacher! :) Enter: Mr. Rollo.
Mr. Rollo had been in the business world for a long time, and he had been retired for a long time. He had to be 80 years old if he was a day. AT LEAST. He told me that he wanted to "give back" to the community by doing something meaningful to fill his days, so he signed up to be a mentor/helper in Joshua's "special-Fred" class. I don't think he had ANY IDEA what he was in for.
I imagine he had visions of reading "My Little Pony" books to a quiet, well-mannered little girl.
There were 3 friends in the Special Fred class who were all about the same age: Robert, Matthew, and Joshua...and they gave Mr. Rollo a run for his money! I'm sure he wondered, "WHY didn't I just take up golf?" Ha! But, he was not a quitter, and he faithfully showed up every time. He would help the boys with their reading, some writing, and generally just tried to keep up with them. Bless his heart.
He was always dressed immaculately...dress pants, a nice shirt...and usually a sports coat. He wore cologne and a ring...and he drove a nice car. He was a fine, sweet man. He reminded me of my Dad...good intentions with NO CLUE what he had gotten himself into!
Our family became friendly with Mr. Rollo over time. He was attending our church, and Joshua loved to see him there. I don't know where Mr. Rollo was in his spiritual journey at the time...I'll just tell you what he told me: "Joshua changed me."
EE (evangelism explosion) and MasterLife and knowing the Roman Road...all important tools to equip you in sharing your faith. But sometimes...you just need to tell your story...and live it out. With Joshua, even at an early age, things were black and white. You either loved Jesus...or you loved Jesus. That's it. No other choice.
And Joshua had NO PROBLEM saying what was on his mind, so he was always talking about Jesus and God at school (gasp!).
God is always at work, and one Sunday during that year, Mr. Rollo walked the aisle of our church, and nailed things down for good. He was baptized soon after. Seeing this tall, proud, older gentleman...being so humble, making his decision public...is a sight I won't soon forget.
Do you think you are too insignificant, too weak, too small? Too old? Too young? Not good enough? Not smart enough? That you've made a mess of your life? That you don't have all the answers? That you have too many questions? Do you think God can't use you because of your past? Because of your present? I'm telling you, if you are willing, GOD CAN.
It wasn't long after this, that Mr. Rollo died unexpectedly. Joshua blamed himself for the longest time. Apparently, in a moment of frustration at school, he had called Mr. Rollo a "bird-brain." He used to say, "I called Mr. Rollo a bird-brain...and then he died." That's the only reason he could think of in his little mind...that would've caused Mr. Rollo's sudden death.
Now, tho, Joshua knows more about life. He's learned more about death. He believes more about Heaven.
We'll see you soon, Mr. Rollo.
"...whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me." Matthew 25:40