This post is going to be a lot more Jesus-y in verbiage. So for my friends who aren’t down with the whole Jesus thing, but just like to follow along because I‘m a good person and do good things, this might be weird for you to read.
Ultimately, I would love for you all to have the same feelings I have about that Jesus guy, but I definitely know that people all have good and bad experiences with church, religion, and Jesus, so feel no pressure from me, just know that I’m all in on Jesus and if you like the things I do, you would probably have liked what Jesus was about too. :)
So, I have been super emotional the past week or so, tears streaming while praying and worshiping on my commute to work, extra sensitive to the hurt around me, and very much open to God using me however.
I have found overtime that when these things happen and I feel these feels, that God is trying to speak and I need to pay attention.
These are hard and super draining times, but I have seen God do so many cool things that I don’t want to miss out on the next one - thankfully I was listening and I had the opportunity to be a part of a another holy moment out on the streets today.
The first striking thing is, I wasn’t even supposed to be out today, I was planning on staying in the office to get some work done. Though, because we were super low on volunteers, I decided to swap out and go to Harlem with one of our outreach leaders, a weekly volunteer, and a guy doing community service hours that we will call David.
I was ready for a day of craziness, 4 volunteers total when we normally have 15 to 30.
As we were driving in and getting to know each other, I was explaining what happens out on the street, how we operate, and just basics of what you expect to Henry, a guy doing community service hours with us.
I asked David, the guy doing court-appointed hours what he thought about God and he basically said that he went to Catholic school, tried out Seventh-day Adventist for a few years, but recently hadn’t done anything.
I told him no problem, that he was welcome to come no matter what and that our goal is for whoever comes to be welcomed, cared for, and loved well.
He was down with everything, so then we went into worship.
During our drive in to every outreach, we spend about 30 minutes just praying over the day, thanking God for what he’s going to do, and asking for miracles for friends and us like.
For people who are not doing the same thing with God that we are, I always encourage those people to just stop and listen to the words, be still for a few minutes, and prepare their hearts as well for the day that is ahead of them.
There’s a part in the Bible that says when you spend yourself (serve, care for, feed, clothe, ect) on behalf of the poor, it’s basically like serving Jesus. So my prayer the entire trip in was that David would come face-to-face with Jesus for the first time in his life. Jesus would walk right up and change everything for David in one day. For 20 minutes, I just basically prayed that over and over again.
As you can probably tell with where this is going, that happened.
The very first man I sat down with, I quickly realized his English and my Spanish skills were not compatible, we needed help!
Luckily, and/or a miracle, the only person we had at the bus who could translate was David.
Now I am pretty to the point when it comes to talking with people, I try to figure out what’s going on, get them the pertinent, most helpful information, and then send them with a plan and directions. I try to stay as efficient as possible as the needs are great and there are at times hundreds of people that need help, so as much as I would like to sit down and talk to one person for two hours, in my role, that is not as productive all the time.
But once again, today was different, the man we sat down with, his needs were so great and complicated than what I would try to normally do in 20 minutes, took nearly an hour and a half.
After getting the story straight, I started working on a few workarounds and resources. As I did that, David and our new friend, Reyes, conversed freely in Spanish.
After about 10 minutes of me working on next steps, I asked David if there was any new information that I needed from their back-and-forths.
David said no, that Reyes was filling him in on all things God, he said basically starting with Genesis and going from there.
!!! Jesus is here!!!
As Reyes (Jesus) continued to speak and I continued to work, David’s everything changed.
He started talking about all the times that he had seen God do things in his own life.
He started to speak like someone who had known Jesus his entire life.
During debrief on the way home, David even changed how he viewed the people we were serving, not like troubled “bad” people, but like nornal, “good people”.
I prayed that Jesus would show up, that David would meet him face-to-face, and He did.
It was so so so beautiful.
In addition to that, Reyes, who had showed up in a horrible situation, abusive home life, 75 and nearly homeless, walked away filled with hope and joy, and full plan on how to move forward!
God is constantly working, moving things, shifting views, and searching for ways to show you how much he loves you.
He might use me, the mailman, your next-door neighbor, the homeless man sleeping outside of your apartment complex, the nurse at the hospital, your boss, your mom, your ex-wife, heck, even your tax collector, everyone is free game. It just depends on who is listening and willing to be used by God to love people.
Are you listening, are you willing?
David showed up to for fill community service hours so the judge does not throw him in jail. Was he expecting to see God in this situation, I would bet definitely not.
God uses all situations you are going through, good and bad, to make His goodness known.
Much love my friends!