Warning: I am unsure of the quality of this blog due to the fact that it is 1:38 in the morning and what makes sense to me right now might not make sense to me or anyone else in the latter hours of the morning. At this point in the evening, everyone is asleep and I am blogging away on this computer. It is a good thing I have the Holy Spirit to keep me company and help me write well huh? Thank God for that.
Alright on to the stuff I am supposed to be writing about…today we organized the pantry and painted inside (definitely better than painting outside in the hot humidity of New Orleans). No crazy revelation from God came from any of that; it was simply serving and loving homeless people as well as the people working in the mission. At night we set up tables and served dinner to approximately 200 homeless people who dined at the café de New Orleans Mission. For me personally, this week but particularly this night has ripped apart my judgmental stereotype of a homeless person. People, including myself, tend to think of homeless people as barbaric, rude, senile, and lazy. There were a few that appeared that way, but let’s be honest with ourselves we all know a few people that contain these characteristics that own a home. The majority of them were courteous, friendly, decently clothed, and definitely hungry. At some point in our lives, we have all passed by a homeless person looking down and walking quickly as if we are actually in a hurry to get somewhere all of the sudden. I have begun to try and change my perspective by thinking of myself in their positions. Another thing that helps me recognize their equality to me is reminding myself that God loves them the exact same amount He loves me and everyone else, which is an infinite and unconditional love that only exists in Him who is love.
These people have absolutely nothing to call their own but the clothes on their back and maybe a few miscellaneous possessions. We look down upon the homeless life as an unsuccessful life full of worthlessness. However from a spiritual stand point, would that not be the best thing ever to have nothing but God to rely on? Imagine having practically nothing between your soul and God. I get so frustrated and tired and angry at all the distractions that separate me from the Lord that I think maybe it might be nice to have to depend on nothing but the Lord. Sounds like a little better lifestyle to me when I think of it that way.
Overall I have an incredible experience on this trip bonding with my brothers and sisters in Christ whom I love so much. I love hearing what is going on in their lives during share time at night, which ties into how God is working in their lives. I love serving with them and making memories in the city of New Orleans. Most of all I love that God has placed these amazing friends and outstanding youth pastor in my life so that we as a family of Christ can encourage and build up one another to constantly pursue being a disciple while simultaneously going out and making disciples.
Our main job for the day was finishing painting the outside of the New Orleans Mission building. Both days while we were working outside, homeless people loitered around the front of the building as well as a few other people who were associated with or helping out with the mission. Yesterday a few of the girls in our group talked to a man named Jason and were impressed by his passion for the Lord in addition to his spiritual maturity. He began talking to our group by complementing and commending our painting job and not long after begin sharing the story of how God has transformed him from a man on the streets to a man of God. Jason was just like all the other homeless people we saw at the mission and is now being used by our Father to proclaim the good news of God and that “God is good,” as Jason put it; his spiritual depth is undeniable, and he is even making plans for a project he is pursuing. Then today, I and some of the other girls were approached by a man of the name Charles who was also a former homeless person. He showed us pictures of his kids who he was so proud of, talked to us about his life, but most of all spoke about the power of God and how he had been a sinner saved by grace. It amazed me how completely forward but not forceful these men were about sharing their person experiences with God and who their savior was. I remember Charles saying something along the lines of he goes under the bridge (where a mass of homeless people reside) to go and tell them about who Jesus is; he said he makes it personal by sharing what He has done in his own life. I specifically recall him saying his job and our job as Christians is to go and plant the seed – that’s all we have to do, just plant the seed. I think those of us that have been raised in the church have heard about “planting the seed” so much that we get a little nauseous every time someone repeats that phrase (that was a joke). We have become so heavily saturated by sermons that tell us to go out and make disciples that the significance and urgency of it was lost somewhere in between walking out of the church building and going to lunch. I ask myself why is it that I can go on a mission trip to another country where their second language is English and speak boldly about who Jesus Christ is, what he did, what he has done, and what he is still doing but have no urgency to go and tell people about the King of Kings at my local shopping center. It seems ridiculous. Men who were homeless are literally talking everywhere they go about Him, but we lack the passion, the recognition of the pressing seriousness, and the weight of a heavy burden on our hearts for people who are going to hell (sorry no sugar coating here…I’m not really sorry). Have we become apathetic about one of the most important demands of being a Christian? Are we really obeying the first and greatest commandment to love God with everything and along with that love each other as ourselves (let’s be honest we really love ourselves when it comes down to it) if we are not sharing with everyone the most powerful image of love and grace that will anyone will ever know? It is definitely something God has seriously challenged me with; even as I write this, it allows me to see in a deeper and clearer way that He really means it. He won’t stop continually giving me opportunities to recognize this act of defiance until the whole world knows His name.