Sunday June 5, 2016

This was an interesting day.  For one thing, the bishop was out of town which left me in charge of things.  We had a shortened Bishopric meeting at 7:00 AM, followed by Ward Council at 7:30.  One of the topics of discussion was what the Bishop described as an "Indexing Blitz".  It's a church-wide effort to index as many names as possible within a 72 hour period during the middle of July.  We're planning to have a Linger Longer after church, followed by instruction from our Family History Coordinator, Jim Kepple, on how to do indexing and then everyone who can will use their own laptop to perform indexing for an hour or so – should be interesting.

It was Fast & Testimony Sunday.  The meeting went well, although seemed a little slower than normal.  Afterward, I had to play "Bishop", interviewing a Sister regarding her request for financial assistance.

Things got more interesting after all the meetings.  The Bishop had received a call (he was in Houston) from someone seeking help for his nephew who was planning to pass through our area.  He was supposedly getting dropped off in Canton and needed lodging for the night and then would board a bus the following day for Houston, Texas.  The Bishop asked me to try to find lodging for him for the night.  We weren't sure of his arrival time so Susan and went home as usual, but on the way received a call from the guy – Shane – telling us he was arriving at the Greyhound Station in about 10 minutes.  At home, I searched for a possible hotels near the Canton bus station and found one that seemed good enough. Then Susan headed out again with the intention of picking him up in downtown Canton and then take him to a hotel.  On the way, he called again, wondering where we were.  After I hung up, I realized that he had called from an Akron number instead of Canton so called the number back and discovered it was the main desk at the Akron Greyhound Station.  We were heading the wrong way!  We made an adjustment to our route and traveled to Akron.  We found him there, and learned more of his story. He had been kicked out of his apartment without warning by his fiance earlier that day and was left with not much more than the clothes on his back.  He had no money and no food, although he at least got the ring back from his fiance.  He managed to get a ride by someone from another church from Newcomerstown to Akron with no means of going further.  He seemed to be in shock at his whole ordeal and we felt sorry for him. 

At the Akron Greyhound station, we didn't see any nearby hotels, and after asking people, discovered that the nearest was a few miles away near downtown, and they weren't cheap.  Then there was the problem of transportation back to the station to catch the bus the following day. The Bishop had only authorized me to spent about $50 so I didn't know what to do.  Shane didn't have a bus ticket for Houston yet and had no way of purchasing one.  His uncle was trying to come up with they money, but thought the price was $180.  Shane then checked at the counter and found that a ticket would cost $233.  I called the Bishop at this point.  He really didn't want to spend that much money and even wanted to wash his hands of the whole thing since we were now in the Akron ward instead of Canton.  So we were in stuck.  I tried to contact the Akron Ward Bishop, but no luck.  We considered the possibility of taking him all the way to Canton and the cheap hotel I had originally planned to put him in – and then let him board the bus the following day from the Canton station instead of Akron.  In the meantime, Shane found that the next bus was leaving a little after 8:00 PM that evening and said he'd really like to be on that bus rather than spend the night anywhere in Ohio.  This seemed like the best option – saving both money and time, but we still didn't have a way to pay for it. The uncle said he couldn't afford the ticket and was apparently trying to get other family members to chip in, but we needed a decision fast. Finally, after further conversations with Shane's family – namely his mother and uncle, the uncle offered to pay the full amount, which was a huge relief.  The plan was for him to purchase the ticket online, which we thought would be cheaper.  

At that point, the solution seemingly in hand, we turned our attention to getting some food for Shane so we headed toward town hoping to find a grocery store.  On the way, the uncle called again and told us he couldn't make the purchase online because it would require Shane to show an ID to claim the ticket, which he didn't have.  This meant the only option was to purchase the ticket at the station with Shane standing there. This caused some distress because the clerk had told Shane that there were only 3 tickets left and that "they go fast", so there was the danger that they would be gone by the time we got back.  

We quickly purchased about $30 worth of groceries – much of it "junk" food, unfortunately. Then headed back to the bus station and were relieved to find that a seat was still available on the bus.  However, there was one final problem – the clerk informed us that he was not allowed to take credit card information over the phone.  This left us with no way to pay for the ticket. Fortunately, the clerk had a heart, however, and decided to make an exception for us.  He took the uncle's card number over the phone and Shane was all set.  We left him at the station with about 3 hours remaining before the bus was to leave.  We do hope he made all his connections and arrived safely at his destination.  We also hope he can heal from this experience and can find some joy on his life again.

As a side note, we had been planning to have Andrew and Tina over for dinner that evening.  We left the house, thinking we could be back in time, but it took much longer than expected. About the time we were looking for grocery store for Shaned, Andrew called and said they had almost arrived at the farm –  about 1 hour early!  I had told him they could come early, but I didn't really expect them to do that.  So I told him they could go inside the house and we would get there as soon as possible, but he didn't think that was a good idea.  Fortunately they'll be here for Father's Day, which is 2 weeks later, and it gave us a chance to eat some leftovers that might have gotten too old had we fixed the food we were originally planning.

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