Throughout the last couple days of training I had an idea of what I wanted this blog to look like. I wanted to share with you all that we are learning and what God is teaching us through these amazing leaders! But God had other plans. Today Jesus completely wrecked my heart in a way that I was totally not expecting, for a city I never knew was so broken, for a culture that is made up of so many different cultures. My eyes were opened to the hurt, the brokenness, the longing, and the nearness of so many hurting people. I knew going into this trip that God has big plans for Jenna and I in Zambia and I was so excited to see what He is going to do but never in a million years would I expect Him to use me in Minneapolis, Minnesota. But God works in mighty, and often times strange ways, today was definitely one of those ways.
When we first came to orientation we were given a schedule with what we were going to be doing for each day and today there was a big chunk of time carved out, 1-5, and all it said was cultural immersion in downtown Minneapolis. If I am being honest I was a little hesitant about this, I had no idea what the heck this had to do with preparation for our trip to Zambia but I went along with it. In addition to having that on the schedule we also learned about the importance of culture and how to try to blend in with the cultures we are going to, how to prayer walk, and other ways to be adequate and open vessels to carry God’s word and love to our countries. As 1 o’clock rolled around and we headed to our hotel shuttles that took us to the Mall of America, from there we walked to the public transit line that took us all the way down to downtown Minneapolis. Each team was given a sheet with different addresses of places to go as well as questions to ask people the people we encounter. Jenna and I were teamed up with the the girls going to Costa Rica- Clara, Leah, and Hannah. As we were walking to our first spot we were talking about how we could use this as an opportunity to prayer walk and how we would like to ask to say a quick prayer with each of the people we would meet. Within five minutes of that conversation we crossed paths with this lady whose name was Johnny. She was walking beside us for a little bit just minding her own business and then just started talking. At first it was pretty meaningless, she started talking about the clothes a man she passed by was wearing. Being the sin filled person I am, I wasn’t listening to what God was saying and I was hoping she would turn the corner at the next block so that we could get on with what we had to do but of course God had bigger and better plans. She ended up sitting down and we decided to hang out and talk to her for a bit. Well this lady kept talking, and talking, and talking. It was probably a good 10 or 15 minutes of her just talking and us listening not saying much just being there for her to talk to. She just seemed desperate to talk to someone. She told us about how her daughter died in a car crash when she was two and a half years old and how her daughters dad has so much guilt over her death for various reasons. This sweet lady just seemed so desperate to be heard and for someone to listen to her. We were able to listen to God and what an amazing experience it was!
While we were talking with Johnny this younger lady named Rissa approached us. She had many tattoos and looked as though she had been through some tough things in her life. She came over to check on the other lady and asked if we were praying for her (for a second I thought that she was angry that we were possibly praying for this lady and was going to “help” her, but she ended up being super sweet). Anyway she came up and told us how nice we looked and that it looked like we were having fun and she wanted to join us! She came over and sat down and started talking with us. One of the first things she told us was that she had never been to jail before and that she was a pretty good person but that everyone was mean to her. This statement completely broke my heart. She felt the need to tell us that because she had been judged and hurt by so many others. She continued talking and she told us that she was only 23 but that she had two little boys who were 5 and 7 but they were taken to foster care. (If anyone knows me you know I have a huge heart for foster care and for the children that are in the system but this gave it a new light, I was able to see a parent of some of the kids in foster care and put it into a different perspective for me). She told us that she had overdosed just a week ago and by the time the ambulance got there she had died and they were able to revive her!! We kept trying to reiterate to her that God still has a purpose for her and that she has big things to do with her life. She seemed so hopeless. We asked if she had a church home and she said no but she would like one. We were able to contact a leader of another group and get the name, number, and address of a church in town. We gave it to her and we hope she will go! We also asked if she had a place to live and she told us she was homeless. When we were done talking with her we asked if we could pray for her and she was very enthusiastic about it, so we all huddled around her and prayed for her that God would reveal Himself to her and that He would become her rock!
I am truly amazed by this situation. Neither of these conversations were initiated by any us, both ladies came up to us and started talking to us. I believe 100% that it was Jesus in us that made those ladies come up to us and talk. They saw something in us, a joy, a happiness, and a light!! This is not about me at all, none of this is it’s all about God but after we were done praying for these ladies I was physically shaking and I could not stop. The presence of the Holy Spirit was SOOOO evident my physical body was shaking. I am amazed to see how God can use little old me, to further His kingdom. Even though neither of those ladies came to know Jesus today with us I truly believe that a seed was planted in their lives and I hope and pray that others will come along and will water that seed until it grows in to a mighty, strong, everlasting love for you!!! I am still in awe with the fact that there are so many broken people in this world and that I will never be able to touch all of their lives but that I was able to hopefully touch sweet Johnny’s life and Rissa’s life!!
I was planning on writing prayer requests for each girl but instead I decided to write out a prayer that I would absolutely love if you guys would pray this prayer for these ladies!!!
I pray for Johnny and for Rissa that their lives were changed because of us today Lord. Both of these sweet ladies have been through so much hurt and pain and have seen so much God but I pray that they will turn to you and that they will be able to use their past experiences to further your kingdom Lord. I thank you for the opportunity that Jenna, Clara, Leah, Hannah and I had today God. I thank you for opening our eyes to see these women the way you see them. I pray for Rissa that she will take the initiative and will go to Salem Evangelical Free Church and that those there will reach out to her and love on her! I pray that the team that is doing work here in Minneapolis this summer will run into her at some point and will continue to water that seed that we planted in her life. I thank you again for always being sovereign, loving, and merciful. I pray that each of these ladies will come to know that Lord Jesus. Thank you for all you have done today!!! In Your Name I pray, Amen.