Many of you who know me, know that I enjoy encouraging and sharing my faith with service industry people. Waiters, waitresses, cashiers, gas station attendants, policemen, firemen, landscapers, salesmen, builders, nurses, and doctors – our lives are absolutely filled with people that we come across everyday… and many of these people need Christ. People like Caitlin Vaccaro. Last Easter, the Lord introduced me to Caitlin – who was working as a waitress at Honey Tupelo restaurant in the Market Common. I was eating with my daughter Callie and, as I so often do, I began to create small talk with Caitlin, who was waiting on our table. In our exchange I was able to share my faith with her. After Callie and I finished eating, I gave Caitlin my card and told her, if she ever needed prayer or encouragement, to give me a call. At the beginning of last summer, I met Caitlin again. Ironically, Callie was home from college and she was with me, just like before. This time, Caitlin was working as a manager at King Street Grille. When she saw us she was very excited and, as we talked, Callie had the opportunity to share her faith. Caitlin told us that she was experiencing health problems and that she was overwhelmed after buying a new home in the Rosewood area. Callie and I prayed for her. A few weeks later, Caitlin came to the office at SPC for prayer regarding her health. Martha Jo and I prayed for some serious health issues that Caitlin was experiencing. A few days later, Caitlin texted me to say that her health issues has cleared up. I told her that I felt that the Lord had healed her. After that, we had very little contact, but I was convinced that Christ was working in Caitlin’s life.
Last Monday I heard from Caitlin again. I saw her number pop up on my cell phone and when I answered, Caitlin was in tears. Due to Hurricane Matthew, her house in Rosewood had been devastated. She had worked so hard for the last three years to save enough money to purchase and renovate her home. And now it was in a shambles. I listened to her as she wept and then I prayed for her. I asked, “Caitlin, can you come into the office this Wednesday at 2:30 to talk to me and Pastor Riddle?” She confirmed. I encouraged her a bit more and then I hung up the phone. How could I help this young woman? I was exhausted and overwhelmed from ministry here at SPC in light of a very busy fall schedule. I had no expertise in the area of her need. How could I offer her something more than a prayer and a hug?
This past Wednesday I was suffering from a migraine that was associated with a pinched nerve that I’ve had for the last three months. After a busy morning, I decided to go home and rest. I hoped to get rid of the headache before meeting with Caitlin. I laid down at 1:30pm. At 2:28pm, I woke up to the sound of my cell phone. It was Caitlin. “Tim, I’m walking into the door of the church”, she said. Oh no!! I jumped up and said, “I’m on my way Caitlin!” While driving over to the office, I prayed. “Lord. I don’t know how to help Caitlin. I don’t feel well. I’m tired. I have a migraine. I’m not prepared. I feel helpless. Please help me Christ. And please provide some help for Caitlin.”
I pulled up to the church and began walking toward the entrance of the fellowship hall. All of a sudden, two women – Grace and Kim – came out of the doors. They were dressed in blue outfits labeled “Billy Graham Ministries”. I introduced myself and they told me that they were working with Samaritan’s Purse and were recruiting volunteers to work in the flooded Rosewood area to help victims of Hurricane Matthew. I was confused. Who had called these women? Had Pastor Riddle called them to ask them to meet with Caitlin? Had Martha Jo called them? I quickly discovered that no one had called them. They had simply shown up at our church at the exact same time that Pastor Riddle and I were scheduled to meet with Caitlin. I was astonished. I began to share Caitlin’s story with them and I said, “I think Christ may have called the two of you here, at this moment, for a divine appointment.” They agreed. We walked back inside the church and I introduced them to Caitlin. After meeting, we all sat down to pray and I sensed that the Lord was leading Grace and Kim to meet with Caitlin alone. After praying, Julian and I excused ourselves and went into my office to continue praying. How excited we were when Grace and Kim came to my office door with Caitlin and said, “Guys, I would like to introduce Caitlin Vaccaro to you – a new sister in Christ.” Wow!!! Doesn’t the Lord work in wonderful and mysterious ways?
Since Wednesday, I have been working with Samaritan’s Purse to get help for Caitlin. In addition, our own Sam Paul – who lives in the Rosewood area – and Eric Harrison are also in need of resources and volunteers to help them recover from Hurricane Matthew. Would you like to help? If so, here is what you can do:
1) Pray: Pray for Samaritan’s Purse, the Rosewood Area, Sam Paul, Eric Harrison, and Caitlin Vaccaro.
2) Give: If you want to give, write checks to “Surfside Presbyterian Church” and earmark it for “Hurricane Matthew Relief”.
3) Volunteer: Our deacons are going to organize a team of volunteers who will work together with Samaritan’s Purse in the Rosewood area. If you would like to volunteer to work on this team, please respond to this email with your name, email address, and phone number.
Also, if you would like to encourage Caitlin personally, you can reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Blessings to you all!
The following is a message from Caitlin: