As you travel the roads of life, you will come upon those who are hurting or in need.
A great parable in the Bible is about the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30, which was about a traveler who was beaten and robbed. A priest and religious businessman both passed the wounded man without stopping to help.
Then came a Samaritan (seen in society as a less-than half breed!), who ministered to the wounds of the stranger.
The Samaritan helped the traveler with medicine, clothing, wound care, transportation, housing and financial support. He did not ask him about his faith, ethnicity, age, race, political affiliation or sexual orientation.
The Good Samaritan just helped, and thatâ€™s what made him a good neighbor.
The valleyâ€™s first LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender) Resource Center has been open for over a year, but their grand opening is Friday, October 9.
The center is located in El Centro, at 1073 Ross Avenue, Suite D. The director is Rosa Diaz, a retired correctional officer and social worker, who also has a graduate degree in theology.
She is a Christian who has served in different valley churches. At the center opening, there will resource tables, music, informationâ€”and of course help for wounded travelers. Ms. Diaz is both a friend and a neighborâ€”and a very good person for the director role.
I first met Ms. Diaz when I attended a LGBT Saturday morning conference at IVC a couple of years ago. Why would a heterosexual, Christian like myself attend this rainbow-flavored symposium you might ask?
Well, I have friends who are gay. In college, I lived in a large house with different college roommates, and a few were gay and lesbian. They paid their rent, shared in the cooking and I kept out of their bedroom.
I attended the IVC invitation to learn, but also to share that Christians arenâ€™t a bunch of haters.
By the same token, I have been a reborn Christian for almost 20 years and I havenâ€™t witnessed the church doing much for this diverse group in our community. Before you pick up a stone regarding the centerâ€™s opening, ask what your church has done for this group in the past decades.
I have worked with young people for decades. The LGBT community, young and old, is at risk for a variety of serious issues. In the past (and the present), the AIDS epidemic claimed the lives of many.
Today, there is still HIV, suicide, substance abuse, family abandonment, depression and discrimination. The resource center is good thing for valley residents and Rosa Diaz meets all the criteria of a good neighbor and great director.
God is good, all the time. Little did I know, that while I was attending the IVC conference,Â my granddaughter (who was attending the University the Georgia) was transitioning to become my grandson!
I am the grandfather of a transgender or â€œtrans.â€ Erin became Lawton and is due to graduate this June, a celebration I will attend.
How did I cope with this radical change? Well, Godâ€™s word helped a lot, as did my family. We have all welcomed Lawton because we are called to love.
Lawton has come to the Valley the past two Thanksgivings and we had much to give thanks for. Has this been a rough trip for this traveler? Yes.
Are you wounded, whether gay or straight? There is help for all kinds of folks here in the valley. Come to the open house in October.
If you want to give Ms. Diaz a call for coffee, counseling or consultation, she is available. The number for the center is (760) 960-1705. For any resources, call the SURE Helpline at (760) 352-7873.