Sometimes a chance meeting puts life purpose in focus.
Southeast Christian Church members Scott Goldbach and Norman Reeves were in downtown Louisville, passing out food boxes when they met Robert. He walked toward them barefooted from a park bench on the Great Lawn. Dressed in a running suit, he was frozen to the bone.
When they asked Robert if they could pray for him, he asked if he could pray for them and recited the Lord’s Prayer word for word.
That night, Goldbach and Reeves, who met years ago while working backstage at the Easter Pageant at Southeast and struggled with what to do when that ended, found their niche. Since then, they have partnered with The Forgotten Louisville, a nonprofit organized to care for Louisville’s homeless.
On Wednesday nights, they take pots of homemade chili, peanut butter sandwiches, hot dogs, coats and blankets to people in need. Members of their Love Where You Are group, led by Bruce and Trish Williford, and other groups often go with them.
On Jan. 21, 2013, Goldbach founded My Daily Armor Ministries to reach as many people as possible with encouraging words, daily Bible verses and devotionals. Reeves works on the leadership team along with his wife, Wilma, and Goldbach’s wife, Leslie. Other Love Where You Are groups have also joined them for outreach.
“A lot of folks call to see if they can help us,” Goldbach said. “We see God provide what we need every week. What we do is a natural outflow of who we are.”
It’s been a fasten-your-seatbelt adventure.
They have befriended families living in their cars, people in homeless camps and people passing through town. They created a website that is visited by about 500,000 people a month who want to read an online magazine, listen to a radio program called “The Shield” that is broadcast to more than 100 countries and to check on projects with orphans in Tanzania, Ghana and Syria.
What began in Louisville is now stretching around the world.
“We are so blessed by what we’re doing,” Reeves said. “Every day is different. A few weeks ago, we met a single mom whose husband committed suicide. We get calls from homeless friends who need propane and Sterno on bitter cold nights.”
Both Goldbach and Reeves converted their garages into mini-warehouses to store donated items such as bread, potato chips, cookies and more.
“We feel as if we’re following bread crumbs that God puts there for us,” Goldbach said. “The only thing we think about is what Jesus would do for these people.”
If the men are surprised by anything, it’s deep need. They have met homeless folks in Fern Creek and Jeffersontown not far from Southeast.
“It breaks our hearts when we run out of food and water,” Goldbach said. “We met whole families living in their car and others who had no one to call when they were ill, hungry or afraid.”
The Willifords help whenever possible.
“These guys are doing it. One night, we handed out canned hams, gloves, water and blankets in 70-mile-per-hour winds and pouring rain,” Bruce Williford said. “Soon we were standing in three inches of water but everyone got what they needed. Nothing is too hard or too much trouble for them. And the supplies are just a small part. It’s how they love these people that makes a difference.”