When the seemingly most natural disposition doesn’t come across so naturally, it’s is in those times that we really question who we really are. More correctly who we are meant to be. Over the past few days, I have encountered people in a whole new light. I have seen addictions cause a man to literally bend over in pain as we were praying that God would give him the strength to break those chains. I have heard 20 year olds share with me how their family has basically abandoned them because of what is happening in their life. They have been removed from their own hometowns and find themselves here seeking help so very far from home. I listened while sitting in an area coffee shop as another young man retold the story of how just weeks earlier he had tried to slit his wrists and end it all. He had been praying as he walked to the shop that he would find someone to talk with. He walked in and came over to where I was sitting in the corner and just freely began to talk. The only thing I really did was sit and listen. And it was a beautiful time.
I have learned such a simple gospel tool- the 3 Circles- that shares hope in the midst of brokenness and believe me, we have all been there in some way. Some are still there. So far in this first 30 days, I have learned to listen and just be available because hurting people want to be heard. Most of these struggles are new to me. I isolated myself from many of them. But I do not want to do that anymore. I have learned that those in brokenness have much to teach us. They have been there and have done that and they have seen what it is like to walk alone. I have watched new Christians that now meet with me for church in their home reach out in compassion to others who are still very much caught in that brokenness. I am learning to look past the outward and try to see people as God sees them.
I have encountered so many different cultures. I have walked for miles in the Haitian/Hispanic/Latino community right in front of where I stay. We have all had a good laugh as I try to communicate with them in the very broken pieces of Creole and Spanish that I am trying to pick up. I have prayed with a wonderful older Haitian man who is a strong believer in Christ. His son recognized me walking down the street the other day and came over to tell me that his dad was on the way to the hospital to get some test results if I wanted to stop by and pray for him. We did of course. This is what it is all about. Being available. Walking in the streets. Meeting with and praying for those who are around you and sharing with them the hope found in Jesus Christ. This is the church engaged and alive and we need every member to be involved in this. There are too many people far from God. I promise you, you will feel the most alive in Christ when you are about His work. But I also promise you, it is messy. You will be inconvenienced. You will have your daily routines taken over. You will stare the struggles of others right in the face and then it will hit you that you are surrounded by struggles everywhere. A couple that came to the Lord last week had no power or water in their home. I went back to start discipleship with them and found that the county had shut down the house and they were gone. I at this point have no idea where they are. And this pains me because I feel like I could have done more and now they are out there like new babies in Christ and that hurts. But I remind myself that they now have Jesus and He is able to work circumstances in their favor and His grip never slips.
I have met people who are believers who desire to be trained to go out into the harvest. I have starting meeting with a Haitian believer each week and we are training and going through the Commands of Christ together. We together will go out in the harvest where he can communicate with those who speak Creole. Slowly a team is forming around me in the area I live and we will go out in that harvest and God will continue to open our eyes. New house churches will form in the communities around me and God will be made known. I asked one of the women in the community what would it be like if Jesus’ name was proclaimed on every street around us. She said it would be glorious and she is right.
But the best thing is every day is an adventure. Meeting new friends. Helping explain the hope found in Jesus. Tearing down those barriers which keep you from sharing. Believe me, I have come across many of these in me along the way. But each one I submit to God and ask Him to tear away leaves me a little bolder the next time. I lived for so long letting a substitute take the place of true witness and discipleship. If the majority of your Christian life centers around other Christians and Christian group activities then something has gone fundamentally wrong. Jesus came to save the lost and we are called to be about His business. As Scott, one of my new Christian brothers that I got to baptize, said today when he was introducing me to someone, “Kev came out of the church and has taken it on the road.”
Matthew 24:14;”And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”