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"I have got to find him," determined Hannah, "before he dies." Hannah looked at her surroundings. The city was enormous. People passed by Hannah's bench, criss- crossing each other's path, intent on their destination. None of them smiled. Hannah had never noticed that before. She searched the crowd, looking for someone who wore a smile. A siren echoed through the tall skyscrapers, and faded beneath the noise of the city. Sitting there, she felt as if the world were in a dream-like state, desperately fighting to awaken from the nightmare it was living. "God," she said, looking up, "please, don't let him die. 'I am poor and needy; yet the LORD thinketh upon me: Thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.'"

"Where do we start?" volunteered Jenny.

Hannah shook her head. "It's too dangerous. I'm sure your husband would protest, and besides, you have your baby to think of." Jenny stroked her stomach. Even though she was not showing, her baby was due next month. "Thanks for the thought, though," said Hannah.

"Are you going alone?" asked Jenny timidly. She had always admired Hannah's bravery, especially when it concerned Mr. Hanley.

"When you return to work, call up Greta. She owes me a favor, and will fill in for me," said Hannah, looking into her friend's concerned eyes, "and pray." Jenny reluctantly left Hannah, and returned to work. "She'll be all right," thought Hannah. "Greta can stand up to Mr. Hanley. Jenny will be fine."

After a few moments of thoughtful prayer, Hannah decided to check the homeless shelters first. 'First Hope Baptist Church Shelter' was the closest one located to the hospital. The small building dwarfed in comparison to the office building where she worked. Pastor Mark, the pastor of 'First Hope,' led Hannah through rows of cots and sleeping bags, each one sheltering a person. In most places, the beds were so crowded together, that it was impossible to pass.

"It's early for bed, isn't it Pastor?" asked Hannah in a low whisper. Pastor Mark nodded.

"Yes, but if they don't claim a bed early, by evening, there's no more room. About how old is your friend?" he inquired.

"I'd say, somewhere in his twenties," replied Hannah, guessing outloud. Pastor mark shook his head sadly.

"He's probably a runaway or a throwaway."

"A throwaway?" repeated Hannah.

"A 'throwaway' is someone who has been literally thrown away by his family, or by an institution." Pastor Mark led Hannah outside. "If you really want to save your friend, get him off the streets. I have seen it many times before. At first, they fight with both hands to survive. But, as the years go by, the will to live slowly fades." Hannah thanked him gratefully. Pastor Mark watched as Hannah walked away, continuing her search elsewhere.

"The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?"
~ Proverbs 18:14 ~

end of chapter
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