This past month I have been thinking a lot, reflecting on the park ministry and how things have changed and evolved over the years. I remember the day I said, “Yes I will do as you ask” and the Lord sent me to the streets. I had a bag of bologna sandwiches and was scared to death to speak to anyone, but when he sent me, he also showed me the bigger vision as to what he had in store. So I stepped out in faith and believed if I stayed focused on what he wanted, he would stay faithful to what he had shown me.
There have been times that it seemed overwhelming and I have wanted to walk away. Times of doubt of whether I am doing the right thing and to be honest those times of wondering if the Lord was still in the mist of things. I would then have to remind myself that if I continue doing what he has asked of me that he would stay true to the vision he gave me. These past few months have been a reminder of the bigger vision and that he is working, we just don’t always see him lining things up to make them happen.
Part of what he showed me were individuals working together for the sake of others, loving and serving those in need. He showed me beyond the park and what will come out of serving those there, serving not only our street friends, but also others in the community with needs. He also showed me a need for a place for our friends to come together, a place they felt as if they belonged, to worship and fellowship together. There are many other things he showed me, but will wait until another time to share those.
I want to focus on the last few months. It was a time when you don’t see anything happening, but you have that gut feeling like something is going to happen and then God shows you the next step in his plan. We were serving at the church one Saturday (couldn’t use the park) and this lady with four children came to eat. She seemed different than the others there and I watched her from across the room. As things calmed down I went to speak to her and she explained that she was not homeless, but she had lost her job and they only had her husband’s income right now. She had a choice as to pay the bills or put food on the table. She then broke down crying. At that moment I heard God speak to me and he said it is time. He showed me many years ago that we would have a food pantry to help those in the community and back then I did not know how that would be possible. I went to Essential Truth Ministries and explained the need and felt it was time to start such an outreach to help those around us. There was no hesitation and we now have a pantry room at the church and many will be blessed with it as soon as we can get it stocked…. I believe he is already making provisions for this as well.
I see other aspects of his vision coming together as well. He showed me a church that all would come together, no matter their status in life. At the same church that we served at (which is only about three or four blocks from the shelters and not far from the park) I am seeing this happen. Each Sunday I am seeing more and more of our friends from the park and shelters come thru the doors. It’s a place they feel like they can be at home in and it shows on their faces. It’s a place they don’t run out the doors when service is over, instead feel comfortable enough to hangout, get involved and most of all a place where I hope they know they are considered family and they are loved. It brings tears to my eyes to see our friends come thru the doors and feel so blessed that my friends would feel so welcome.
The Lord continues to show me those who are within the church and not within the church, those who have and those who don’t have, but each with a servants heart. He continues bring people from various parts of the community to join together to work as one body, to lay themselves aside and do what it takes to help another in need. I see Jesus moving thru each and everyone of them. I am thankful for their hearts and their willingness to also step out in faith and do what he has asked them to do. Many are and will be blessed by their humbleness and self-sacrifice. I look at them and see an example as how we should work together as one body and pray that others would see their example. What amazing things God could do.
So I reflect back on the first day in the park and my bologna sandwiches. I think back to those who said I was crazy and I can’t do it or leave it up to someone else. Then I think about all the amazing people God has brought thru my life during this time, the wonderful journey he has taken me on, the things he has shown me most of all the incredible faithfulness and love he has poured out. He gave me a vision at the time I thought was impossible to achieve, but I took that first step of faith and said, “Whatever you ask of me.” I see what he has done and I get a sense of excitement as to what is down the road, how this grand vision is going to all come together, the lives that will be touched and the wonderful people who will play a part in it.
Some of you are feeling that tug and you know that he is calling you to take that step of faith. Your afraid and you know it will come at a cost and your life may even be turned upside down, but if you step out, take his hand and let him lead you…. he will take you on a journey like no other.