Tim leaned into the large trash bin in a parking lot behind a secondhand store. He was looking for anything he could use. He pushed some trash aside and saw a book that looked familiar. As he examined the cover, a wave of memories washed over him.
From early childhood Tim had loved books, especially books on religion. His grandfather had helped him collect books on different religions. One of his favorite books was Bible Readings for the Home. This book had led him to question some teachings of his family’s faith. “Why do Christians worship on Sunday when the Bible says that God blessed the seventh day?” Tim had asked his grandfather. “And why must I confess my sins to a man when the Bible says to confess to God?”
But instead of answering Tim’s questions, his grandfather donated Tim’s religious books to a second-hand store. Tim had been crushed.
Tim was then sent to military school, where his life became a roller coaster of abuse and behavior problems that eventually led to juvenile court and reform school. When he was eventually released, he tried living with his father. But life wasn’t any better, and eventually Tim found himself homeless, living on the streets.
He slept in shelters or on the street and scavenged for any treasures he could find in trash bins. That’s where he had found the copy of Bible Readings for the Home. As he leafed through the book’s pages, he found a newspaper clipping he recognized. This was my book! he realized. After all these years it’s come back to me!
Tim looked around and realized he was standing in the parking lot of the same second-hand store where his grandfather had donated Tim’s books years earlier. Tim was convinced that God was using this book to reach out to him.
One day while volunteering at a local shelter for homeless people, Tim met a sad-looking young woman. “Would you like a cookie?” Tim asked as he held out a cookie.
“Do you have a chocolate-chip cookie?” she asked. Tim found a chocolate chip cookie and gave it to her. The two quickly became friends.
Tim listened with understanding as Tina told him about her difficult life that had left her unable to trust others. The two felt strong bonds of love, but Tina was afraid to commit herself to anyone lest they be taken from her as so many others had been. They stayed together on the streets for six years before Tina finally agreed to marry Tim. The couple started their married life still living on the streets.
Tim shared his growing faith in God with Tina, who hungered for God. The two studied the Bible together, but Tina couldn’t understand the book of Revelation. Then one day, a woman gave her a brochure and said, “You might need this.” Tina felt a shiver of excitement as she read the title: “Learn the Prophecies of Revelation.” God wants me to hear this, Tina thought.
Tina and Tim attended the seminars on Daniel and Revelation. As they listened to the speaker unlock the mysteries of Bible prophecy, Tina realized that the book she had feared wasn’t so mysterious after all.
Tim and Tina received an invitation to attend the worship service at a nearby Adventist church. Tim wanted to go, but Tina wasn’t sure. “I’ve heard Adventists are weird,” Tina said. Finally she agreed to go. “But they ain’t getting me,” she declared.
As they entered the church on their first Sabbath, Tina was wary. But the church members welcomed them warmly. The love they felt and the meaningful worship service convinced Tina and Tim that God had drawn them to this church. At the end of the service, Tim and Tina turned to each other and said, “We’re home.”
Tim and Tina took Bible studies with a couple in the church, and their lives began to change. They had found a church home and were approved for government housing. At last they were no longer homeless.
Tim and Tina continue their journey with God as they find ways to share their faith with others. Tina makes hats, gloves, and scarves to give to people, thus creating opportunities for her to tell them about Jesus. They find joy working in their church and taking part in a nursing home ministry.
God used simple things—a book in a trash can, a chocolate chip cookie, and an invitation to a Revelation Seminar—to bring Tim and Tina to Himself. ⎭
Tim and Tina Pawlik share their faith in Silver Spring, Maryland.