Home Depot Annie...

February 28.


Our launch is set.


In just a few weeks we will be taking our journey as a new church on an entirely new path...  a path that will lead us into our local community. A path that leads us into a new building we will call home. A path that will help us reach the brokenhearted.


Nehemiah walked down this same road. He was a “cupbearer to the king” and his story can be found in the Old Testament in the book of his same name. Nehemiah got a burden, like us, to repair the community that was most dear to him by re-building the walls of Jerusalem. God gave him a vision and he took it on to lead it to the best of his ability. He gathered all he had…his position, his influence, his relationships, his personal talents along with his gifts and packed them in a suitcase then headed down to a place that was in great need of repair. The people there, his people, were defenseless and vulnerable and needed a leader to help them organize rebuilding the walls of their city that would protect them from outside invasion, looting and stealing, not to mention the pillage of their women and children. This man took on the burden to do something rather than just hear about their need.


Like I said, we are on a similar path. Although our community isn’t Jerusalem, it has been ransacked by the darkness of the enemy. The walls that protect the hearts and souls of so many have been ravaged by sin and the result is they, too, are facing an enemy invasion of depression, discouragement, addictions, unhealthy lifestyle patterns and so much pain. Our role is to reach into their hearts and help rebuild what has been destroyed.


Her name is Annie. Although her nametag doesn’t say she is a “cupbearer,” it did say that she was a Home Depot associate ready to help me answer any sort of question I had. And with our new home at Tempe Plaza needing much repair before February 28th, I had some questions on where to find things, like garbage cans. In our midst of walking to aisle 16, I simply asked how she was doing. Most people don’t let you inside their walls but I could nearly see through Annie’s. She looked exhausted and in need of some encouragement. After a few seconds of silence, she went on to explain that she wasn’t feeling so good. Annie was weak and nauseous. My natural suggestion was to simply say “go home and get some rest.” But she stopped me in the middle of that aisle and said, “I can’t. I have to beat this.”  “Beat, what?” As I stepped through another hole in her wall, she let me know that the previous day had been her first chemo treatment. First chemo treatment? At that point, most people would have smiled nicely, found what they were looking for, patted Annie on the back and been on their way. I took another step into the rubble of her life and asked her the “c” question – “What sort of cancer?” With moist eyes, she said, “Breast cancer. I have to stay here today to show myself that I will beat it. I can beat it.” What do you tell someone who’s wall is tumbling down right in front of you? I picked up some of the bricks that were protecting her heart and put them back in place. I asked if I could give her hug. Just a simple hug in the middle of Home Depot. She looked at me with a puzzled face and shrugged her shoulders finally saying, “Sure!” And it was there, in the middle of a busy trip to repair the walls of our new location in Tempe that I found myself helping repair the walls of a human being’s heart.


We launch February 28th and I hope Annie is there. Although I only had a moment, I know that my Savior can restore, encourage and give to her what I can’t… An eternal plan, A continued hope, A future beyond this life.


Like Nehemiah, I’m a nobody. Not even a cupbearer to the King. But, I am one of God’s kids and if I’m open, I can be his hands and feet to repair the broken and needy.


Will you repair the walls with me?


Mark Rempel/Disciple/Son/Husband/Father/Friend/Repairer of Broken Walls