Friday, April 29, 2011
This is one of my favorite songs by Needtobreathe. It reminds me of the state of mind that I was in last night when I was leading an outreach with my small group. Anyone that knows me knows that I love to be the light of God to His hurting people, but I am not a fan of putting together outreaches. I never think I am good at it, people don't like doing outreaches, you never really know if it will be a success and it can be somewhat stressful when your game plan shifts. That's what happened to us.
Last week, one of my group members got a word from God to pass out food on Jimmy Carter Blvd. Doing an outreach in the suburbs is a lot different than doing an outreach in down town Atlanta. People in the suburbs are private, they think they have it all together, they will figure things out themselves, they don't need a handout or prayers. I honestly wasn't a fan of the idea because I thought it would not be effective. Things got worse when I was told that me and my co-leader Jose would be heading it up since my actual leader and other co-leader would not be able to come. Neither Jose and I planned for this nor do we like planning outreaches.
We prayed and settled on a different location but God quickly shut that down and sent us to the Quick Trip gas station on Jimmy Carter Blvd. We were nervous because we had carloads of group members looking for our direction and we really didn't see many people walking around that we could pass out food and pray for.
But God did something beautiful. He sent people to us. Before we could even get out of our cars completely and start unloading the paper bags of food and water, people came up to us. One man was in his car and revealed that he was praying about gas money because he was on empty and was going to sleep in his car right in the gas station parking lot that night. One lady who lived in the extended stay motel behind the gas station told us about a family with children that had no food and were losing hope. I ran into the very same man and his two toddlers that I had met and helped just a few eeks ago. His wife had been arrested on an old warrant, he needed food and to just use someone's phone to call a friend with an out of town number.
God gave me my Gideon moment. Though I thought I was weak and ineffective, He used me and my group to do mighty things. He said Jimmy Carter, we obeyed and He sent us the people that needed the help. He sent the people that needed to see something beautiful happen.
As we carried bags and water to the motel, doors began to open and people asked if we had any extra bags to share. I saw babies, elementary, middle and high school kids. I saw whole families living in tiny rooms with only two beds and one small bathroom. We heard their stories, we prayed for them, we invited them to our church which was just a couple of blocks away. My group was on a spiritual high because they now knew what it felt like to be the hands and feet of Jesus. They broke out of their shells and restored hope for so many families.
It was beautiful. He was marvelous as always.