In-N-Out Burger. Sooooooo good.
Austin (Goyer) has a full run down of the “actually important” stuff of the day, so I’ll let him do the heavy lifting, but I did want to get one little story in:
The staff here at PDC do not receive a salary. Their room and board is covered, and they are free to take a side job if they can fit it around commitments, but realistically, many do not have additional time, after the 50-60+ hours a week they put in here. As a result, small surprises can be big hurdles.
Such was the case for Eric, one of the staff members who led one of our outreaches yesterday. He stopped me yesterday morning in the parking lot to ask if I could help him out, and fix his steering column on his truck. (He clearly does not know me). It was stuck in park, and needed a new part, as well as a mechanic to come on site and fix it as he could not afford the tow. He had managed to work out a deal for $200 to get it fixed. In the course of the conversation I realized he only had $85 bucks to his name, and was gonna see if the guy would do it for that, on faith that he would eventually get the rest. I mentioned this story to our team this morning, and by noon, your kids had all contributed out of their own pocket and their own “shopping money”. When I found Eric this afternoon – a man our kids spent maaaaybe two hours with – he was dumbfounded when I handed him $135 bucks in cash.
I am so proud of your kids. Their simple response to the nudging of the Holy Spirit and their gift affirmed a weary and concerned man. As tears welled in his eyes I was awed at the graciousness and tenderness of your kids, who didn’t want to draw any attention to it.
But I am so honoured and humbled to also call them MY kids.
Take it away Austin (pictures tomorrow):
Today we had a little bit of a rude awakening because our alarm clock didn’t go off. We all woke up to the sound of Anna and Kristian pounding on our door at 6 o’clock when we were supposed to be up and leaving at 5:50. But even in the midst of being in a rush to get to CASS to handout food, pick up garbage and help the homeless, God showed up big and just as we were getting there, so was the food truck. I think that God always has a plan, whether big or small, to help you when you really need it (When you are literally out of time to get ready and then have to go serve, that’s definitely a time when you really need it.) Everyone was challenged today by Stephen to do something different than whatever we did yesterday at CASS. Today, instead of handing out coffee, Stephen and I went around the block to pick up trash. A man from the Dream Center approached us as we were collecting some garbage (so was he) and told us how much he himself as well the city and the homeless truly appreciated something as small as picking up small pieces of trash. The cleaner it is, the longer the police and the city will allow the homeless to stay in the morning to sleep and get food. It was such an indescribable feeling to know that what we were doing was small, yet effecting the bigger picture and delivering a much bigger message. The 2nd outreach that we did was at a care home for people severely disabled by old age and sickness. First we sang some songs of worship, then people were called, including myself, to talk about what God has been doing in their lives recently. As the outreach concluded, the man leading the outreach, Cody, called for any final prayer requests. There was only one, from an older woman in the front who asked for healing. She described to us that she had breast cancer, which spread to her right side and her spine/neck area. She told us that she has a lot of pain, and that she was a strong believer in prayer and called for us to pray over her for healing. Though I joined in the prayer, I was still deeply hurt by the experience. Though I know God will heal her, whether it’s on this earth or in the Kingdom of Heaven, it was painful to witness her pain and see her cry at the conclusion of the prayer. Her faith comforted me, but you wrestle with the fact that I may never see her again, and she is in God’s hands. It was personally the lowest moment and feeling I have had on this trip. Though it has been an unforgettable experience thus far, that moment will stay with me spiritually for a very long time. The 3rd and final outreach was at the Gila River Reservation where we set up a movie, face-painting table, a table with food, and played basketball and threw footballs with all the kids at the reservation. It was a great experience being down there, surrounded by all of God’s beauty in the heart of some huge mountains and just getting to spend some time with some children who just need a helping hand in getting to know Jesus. The song “Jesus Has a Plan for My Life”, complete with a set of actions, has been a big theme at all the children’s outreaches we’ve done so far. The song was sang at the reservation and all the kids were singing and just having a great time moving closer and closer to God. It was a very refreshing experience, as all of the children’s outreaches have been, to see children in some unfair situations let go of some of their worries and sing and have some fun for a few hours. Even something as small as handing out small cups of nachos with cheese sauce to them made them smile (especially when lots of them came back for a second cup. That made me smile too.) So far, it’s been an unbelievable and amazing week. I can’t wait to see what God has planned for us for tomorrow and Saturday because each day He just seems to stretch all of us even further and put us farther and farther outside of our comfort zone to accomplish something we were unsure we could do at first. I will leave off with a verse that I’ve just come to know today. “The lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.” – Nahum 1:7