How's this for a good subject line? I think it's quite fitting. You all know that last week was a hard week for me being my first one on the streets. This week has improved one hundred fold simply by merit that I have gotten used to where I am. I'm getting to know people, enjoying being immersed in the culture, and keeping my eyes on Jesus and representing him to these people. God is providing for all of my needs. I have tangibly felt your prayers last week in a way I never did before. This week has seen me more established and settled. People know me now (and I'm getting to know more all the time), they know what I stand for, and I've had the opportunity to minister, pray, and love these people more-something that God is teaching me more to do. A few guys I've met have started calling me "Red" (Gee, I wonder why?). My hair is sort of red, but especially my facial hair is red and so I guess Red is my street name now. I kind of like it, especially since it's my favorite color. I want to have God's heart more than anything-because He loves these people, so do I. I truly want to be able to say that. I've been volunteering some (here and there) at the Lighthouse Mission-a wonderful group of people who love Jesus and have poured out kindness on me, I've joined a recreation and outreach program at a Calvary Baptist Church which gives out sack lunches to the homeless, provides showers (Praise God, because I needed one!), as well as a gym, weight room and game room. They've even offered me access to their media center/library if I need to be alone to pray or I want to study. I've enjoyed listening to a lot of stories since I have so much down time to talk and listen to people. Sometimes I wonder if God doesn't just have me out here to hear some stories, but I know that can't be it. I have hope to offer. The biggest thing I've had to remember is that I have an aim. God drills that into my head over and over and warns me not to get lazy or aimless-it's SO easy to do. I am out here to serve, love, listen, mediate healing and salvation, and learn. Something else I've been thinking about is how I don't want to receive government based charity/social programs. I'm not interested in having tax dollars spent on me; I'm more interested in trusting God to provide my needs and giving the body of Christ the opportunity to be generous. This is something I hadn't really thought about until I got out here and God sort of convicted me some about it.
I've also wrestled with the tension between the theoretical and practical. In school, I dealt with books and theology and beliefs and so now I find myself out here trying to iron out the specifics of my theology so that I know exactly how to communicate to people. I guess there's good in that, but I think the Lord wants me to just reach out in love and prayer to these guys. I even had a stranger tell me last night (without knowing about my ponderings), "It's not about how you think or perceive, it matters who you talk to." That's not always good advice, but in my case, I think it was. It's new territory for me to just sit and listen to someone and I think that it's good to do that. This email is getting long and so I'll jump to prayer requests now. Check out my site listed below though-I will include soon some of what God's shown me in His Word.
I also praise God for this Easter weekend. On Sunday, I was blessed to celebrate Christ's resurrection and remember all the victory which He's brought me into. I have far to go, and yet I'm thankful for all He's done so far. I also was blessed to see many friends and go to an all-night prayer vigil.
1. Mark and Jennifer are a couple I met outside the central library. They talk like they know Jesus, but they think in terms of doing good works and not in receiving God's grace. Jennifer also has asthma, which I prayed for her healing for. Pray for revelation and my opportunities to minister to them.
2. Texas is a guy I've run into a lot. He's really cool and we're hitting it off. Pray for his salvation.
3. Rick is another gentleman I met outside the library. He claims to have put faith in Jesus and I won't be the one to say he hasn't. Prayer for an encounter beyond mental assent-a chronic problem among many of the homeless I've seen. Full surrendur is the name of the game and life transformation.
4. Steve-continued healing for his back, recovery from alcoholism and depression, and salvation in Jesus Christ.
5. Mark-a dude I met and prayed for with emphezema.
6. Derek-a buddy I've been hanging out with a lot. Pray for an encounter with Jesus.
7. Alphonso-I just met and prayed for this guy today. He seems to have a sincere desire for Jesus, but struggles with cutting, suicidal thoughts, and angery rage which takes control of him (possibly demonic?)
Also, pray for my motives out here and that I won't slip into spiritual pride regarding what I'm doing. I pray every day I think that God would actually give me deep-rooted love for these guys because I know that I don't love them like He does and I really want to.