C.S. Lewis said, “The very nature of joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting.” This is definitely a truth the Czech Republic team felt Sunday afternoon after spending five hours at Street Reach – a local homeless shelter and rehabilitation center.
This blog post is a little more subjective than what I’ve been doing. I just really want to tell you about the experience I had, which was similar to the other 20-some students who had the opportunity to volunteer.
Last week’s prayer focus was the local community, and going off that, Hannah Mihalko was able to find a place we could serve this community.
Once we arrived at Street Reach, we spent no more than an hour completing the various cleaning tasks they had for us. But then, we ended up staying four more hours to talk, worship, and pray with people staying at and visiting the shelter.
Each person had a different story. Some were mentally challenged, some lived in the woods, some couldn’t escape substance addictions, and some had families that seem beyond repair. I want to tell you about three people I talked to, and I would love for you to pray for them, even just once right now.
Sahr Brima gave a gospel presentation through what is called Spoken Word – a mixture of rap and poetry. After he finished, Frederic just said, “My life is so messed up.”
He said he has three kids from his ex-wife and one on the way from a different woman. He said he is a Christian, and he was able to articulate the gospel.
Pray that this would be true, and that Jesus would be so sweet to him. Pray that his brokenness would lead him straight to the cross.
In a way, he stuck out in the room. He’s 23 years old (much younger than most there), and he appeared to be educated and friendly. Still, there is a lot of brokenness. He has a six-month old baby who’s living with his ex-wife, who’s in a homosexual relationship.
He did not seem to know Christ, so pray that God would work in his heart.
He gave me a brief explanation of what brought him to Street Reach. His house in Louisiana was flooded and completely lost. He found a job in the Myrtle Beach region, but the place was shut down because of health reasons. He told me: “I don’t do drugs and I don’t drink; this is just where God wants me.”
He was completely content. He said he’d been there for four or five days.
“You wouldn’t believe all the conversations I’ve had with these people in just a few days.”
He said he’s been able to share the gospel countless times, and he knows God has him there for a reason.
Pray that God would continue to do amazing things through Paul. Pray for his time at the shelter. I’m not sure if he’ll be there for just a couple more days or a couple months. But God is good, so pray his strong and steady joy in Christ would not falter even a little.
I was so encouraged by all three of these conversations, as well as all the conversations everyone else was able to have. I’ve been amazed what doors God opens when my identity is completely in him and what he’s done for me.
I – and the other students who went – were reminded about what matters. I think it’s important to have perspective on that sometimes. Comfort, fashion, education – all these things rarely ever crossed the minds of the people at Street Reach. All people, from all places and all situations, have one thing in common: a desperate need for the gospel.