Smiling From Ear To Ear

Well-satisfied. That’s how I felt last night. After I took a nice hot shower I purchased an umbrella at the dollar store, checked my tire pressure, returned some items at the library, picked up Kendra, picked up Chima and got to the church at 8pm.

Have you ever had an entire night that you knew was ordained by God? When I woke up Thursday morning to spend time in prayer and worship, God told me it was the last day I would be using my fall jacket. I thought that was funny because it was a few short weeks old and I was rather attached to it, it was a really cool jacket with a perfect fit. Those of you who know me, know how attached I am to my few items of clothing, I’ll wear them till they fall apart. We left at 8:35pm for downtown.

There were 10 of us, not counting the other teams and other churches that were already there. In Total maybe 40 from all the churches combined.

– Myself
– Paul
– Freddy
– Kendra
– Chima
– Mike
– Catherine
– Ryan
– Rebecca (it was her 19th birthday that day, she chose to spend it serving God)
– Jocelin
– James
– Mom

We arrived downtown at 9:15pm and after getting organized we started on our route around the streets. Each of our bags of food contained personal testimonies that we had written as something each recipient could be encouraged by. Years ago the children of another church hand made 300+ Christmas cards and we gave those out with our food and we found that most of the recipients cherish them to this day even years later.

The first person we saw was Melvin, someone who we had met before, had been on the street 4 years, ever since his family situation turned sour. The first time I met him a few months ago he told me he was going to kill himself. My mom and Freddy prayed for him, today he looks a lot better and he’s on the job hunt.

While Jocelin and Mike were ministering to someone we met John. John is from Nigeria and he had been on the streets for 6 years. He’s a very soft spoken man, you can see contriteness in his humble eyes. He recognized us right away and started talking to Chima who is also from Nigeria.

Mr. Chong, another regular that we see walked up to me and said “tomorrow is my 60th birthday”. He then showed me his pictured-health card to prove it. He told me his jacket had been stolen and he was very cold at night, and he asked if we had any jackets with us. We usually do but not tonight. I remembered what I felt God speaking to me earlier in the day and I emptied my pockets and gave him my handsome jacket. It fit him perfectly, and he had a smile on his face while he hungrily ate his food. “1 – 2 – 0, one hundred and twenty days I’ve been living here.” He said to me.

The group gathered around John and Mr. Chong and we prayed for them both, that God would give them good health, jobs, housing and in the future – their own homes. John was almost moved to tears and said he would be on the job hunt first thing in the morning.

The entire group was deeply touched and we moved on. After ministering to a few dozen more people we started running low on food and time. It was already 10pm but we each felt the calling to speak to at least one more person.

Jocelin, Mike, Kendra and Catherine found a young couple whose child had been taken away from them. They encouraged them and prayed with them.

While that was happening, Chima and I walked up to a man named Reece and gave him food, he took the food happily but didn’t seem to be very talkative so we bid him a goodnight and kept walking. I told Chima that “maybe we’ve opened the door to talk to him next time, or for someone else to talk to him about Jesus.” Well wouldn’t you know it, a few minutes later Rebecca, Ryan and James walked up to him and began ministering to him. Reece couldn’t stop talking and looked very happy to have some new friends. I walked back up to him and we ended up praying for him. Now He didn’t want us to leave!

I met a young man, Clark, barely 18 lying down on a bench. I gave him my last meal (sandwich, oatmeal cookies, bottle of water, mints and an apple) and he tore into it as if he hadn’t eaten in days. He told me he hadn’t seen his parents in years, he’s been living in foster homes most of his life and he dropped out of school. He had a strong desire to finish his schooling but he didn’t know how with his current situation. He asked me to pray for his older sis (19) who just suffered a miscarriage.

Paul spent a long time ministering to Clark’s friend Daniel, who was 17. Daniel’s mom, a drug addict, kicked Daniel out over a drug dispute. I later told Paul that God brought him with us tonight for the specific purpose of talking to Daniel, there was nobody else in our group who would have been able to make a connection with him. Paul was glad he decided to come.

After that we organized and left for home, around 10:40pm. After dropping everyone off I got home around 1am.

I haven’t mentioned every single person we encountered because I can’t remember all of their names, and each individual in our group has their own additional testimonies. I know that God used us that night. We prayed for dozens of people out on the street in-front of everyone and left them all with a full tummy, a smile, a happier heart, the notion that they have a friend, and most importantly we invited them all to let Jesus into their lives.

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