Written by: Greg Miller
A Marine veteran who was addicted to heroin for 5 years after returning home from Afghanistan shared his story at Uncommon Grounds Cafe. He had come to participate in “Church in the Margins”, a ministry where people not yet ready to enter church life can come and learn about Jesus.
This Vet had been searching for help but had been looked down on by churches because his appearance was too rough. However, he couldn’t stand his life of addiction so, when a policeman asked him how he was one day, he blurted out “I’m a Marine vet addicted to heroin and I’ve got a needle in my pocket”. A bit taken aback, the policeman sat him in his car and called for another officer. It turned out that there was a warrant for his arrest. Apologetically, the policemen explained that they had to take him to jail. He willingly complied.
After his attorney arranged for him to be released he went back to his girlfriend and started shooting up again. Old habits die hard. Nevertheless, he didn’t want to fall back into his lifestyle of addiction so he found a piece of paper that one of the policemen had given him. On it was the policeman’s name and phone number. “Call me if I can ever help you out”, the policeman had said. The Marine wanted bus fare to go to rehab so he called and asked the policeman for $2.50. The policeman met him and said “I’m going to give you $25.00. You have two choices to make. You can either go buy some heroin and continue in your old lifestyle or you can get something to eat and get yourself to rehab.” He was stunned. No one had trusted him like that before. He couldn’t let the policeman down so he went to rehab. In rehab he met Jim Skal. Jim MC’s at Open Mic night and runs Outdoor Immersion, a ministry that ministers to Vets. Jim talked to him about Jesus. The Marine came to faith, was baptized, and became a new creation in Christ zealous to learn about his new walk with Jesus.
This is just one story about lives changed that we hear at the Uncommon Grounds Café. It is a modern day Les Miserables tale. It is a story of grace and redemption and new life in Jesus. It reflects the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives. To God be the glory!!
Written by: Captain Nancy O'Leary
As I considered the Spring Street Garden’s start up for this year and the myriad of things that need to be accomplished, I was reminded that the work at the garden begins during the first week of our journey through the contemplative season of Lent. I thought of the scripture “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit (Is 11:1- 1), And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:1-2). It seems appropriate to contemplate the new beginnings of the garden and the Lenten experience as an outward sign of the reality of God’s redemption plan.
Considering the vision for ministry this year being Capacity for the Aliquippa ministries of which the Spring Street Garden is a part, I came across a segment in a documentary about Fred Rogers, where he states that “no matter what our particular job, especially in our world today, we all are called to be repairers of creation.” He stated that whatever we do and where ever we are, we are to bring joy, light, hope, faith, pardon, and love to our neighbors and to ourselves. I pray that this Lenten season will renew and inspire capacity in all we do as repairers of creation.
Written by: Lilikae Shepherd
Uncommon Grounds has had a very huge impact on my life. I love the way they always want to tell you about God and how good He is. The major love that the staff here has is great. They are all about helping you in anyway that can get you to where you want to be. They are answer people.
One of the new staff member's name is Tess. Tess has been so much fun to work with and be around. I love the times on Saturday mornings when I am working behind the counter with Tess. We always have a lot of fun. We talk and we dance while we are working. Customers will come in and laugh at us because we are so goofy while we are doing our jobs.
It is really great to be able to serve with people who love God and who also can bring joy into my life. I love working with these people and I love that we can have fun when we do. It makes community so much sweeter and so much more enjoyable when you can laugh while going through the every day tasks. At Uncommon Grounds Cafe, it's super easy to have fun with all of the people on staff at any point in the day.