John has been an IT guy for over 4 decades. His computer career began in The Netherlands, then there was a decade in South Africa and lastly 26 years in the USA. We moved to Sacramento 4 years ago when he was contracted to CalSTRS. That project more or less came to an end (for John) in December 2020. He was not quite ready to retire, so he decided to go back to school bus driving. (I say go back to because he had done this a bit in Chicago before we moved here.) The Folsom Cordova School District gladly took him on, and together with about 5 other “cadets” he went through rigorous training. After 3 months of every kind of training imaginable, he got his commercial license and was taken on board full time at FCUSD. It wasn’t a perfect situation as it was a 30-40 minute drive each way; an early start; and then an awkward gap in the middle of the day – too short to make it worthwhile to come home, but it was an inroad to bus driving and now, he had his full credentials. However, a week or two after being properly hired, they let him go! He still doesn’t know why.
This freed up a few weeks when we were in the middle of a big backyard project.
However, no sooner had he become used to being home again, another opportunity popped into his inbox…
The Gathering Inn in Roseville serves the unhoused for all of Placer County. They provide permanent shelter for around 100 individuals as well as supporting about 40 churches that undertake giving overnight accommodations and evening meals each night of the year to the remaining 30-45 unhoused individuals. This non-profit organization has a full-size bus and each evening they bus the 30-45 to whichever church is taking their turn. The next morning they bus them back to the intake center in Roseville. TGI needed a qualified bus driver. See where I am going here? When John called Ron at TGI, Ron very quickly gathered that John has a heart for the unhoused and had worked in prison ministry for over 20 years. Ron talked to Nate at TGI and collectively they wanted John for more than just bus driving. The Gathering Inn owns 7 houses for people who are getting off the streets and able to pay rent. TGI needed someone to help manage these 7 houses (each with 4-6 residents). John has been such a good fit for this work. Every day, he goes off with his tool box – there are always little maintenance jobs – and he comes home with stories of how the residents ask for advice or help with paperwork or transportation to appointments. TGI has recognized that John is a good listener without being judgmental.
Who is the Angel in this story? Is it the FCUSD supervisor that decided they didn’t need John? Or the managers at TGI who realized they DID need John. Or the internet that always seems to know what we need or what we are thinking? I believe the Holy Spirit is all around us and guiding us when we are open to listening to her.