July 22, 2010
Today we started our day with a yummy breakfast and a devotional on Working for the Glory of God. Our discussion afterwards was exciting how the kids were relating what they had read, to their daily lives. In addition, we talked a little about laziness and ambition and what God has to say about these as well.... We concluded..... He has a lot to say!! :)
After devotions we headed out to the streets again. We grabbed our bags of water and our burritos and headed off to more areas where the homeless hang out around San Diego. Our morning went well. Many team members reported holding long conversations with people and were very excited about possibly seeing them tomorrow night at the Community Dinner that will be held here at HPC. We are praying that our conversations result in some of these people receiving the the gift of salvation and hopefully getting off the streets. We want so much for the Lord to be glorified and his kingdom expanded.
We all met back at the Chapel for lunch, and then again headed out to the streets for more. The team is now engaging people like it's easy for them. There's no proding needed from the leaders. The team sees a homeless person or several homeless and they are off in their direction offering the supplies we brought. Most of the time, these hurting folks are grateful and eager to talk. They often spill their heartbreaking story and tell of the many tradgedies in their lives. Many of them are alcohol or drug addicted, although some are not. Some of them are mentally ill, but a lot are not. All of them need Jesus just like we did before we knew Him!! The team is still growing in how to direct the conversations toward spiritual things and how to respond to things that are said to them that could be redirected toward spiritual conversation. Please pray that the Holy Spirit would fill us all and that the words and thoughts that come to us in these moments would not be our own, but those of God.
Most of the evening was spent in the park across the street. We ate pizza and played capture the flag with the youth group from HPC. We then had worship and the youth pastor from HPC encouraged us with what God must be thinking about the way we are serving the folks in San Diego. We then went back to the church and enjoyed some icecream and did our debriefing. Debriefing is always spiritually rich as we share, encourage, pray, worship and trace the hand of God threw our day. What a blessing!
We are grateful for all the support back home and all the many wonderful prayers that are being lifted on our behalf! We hope you can see them being answered!!
July 21, 2010
Today started out with breakfast, showers (2 days in a row!! I think we might get spoiled!), and devotions on Glorifying God with our eating. Todays devotional was a little harder to understand, and explain, but we had a really good discussion and it went really well.
After lunch we hit the streets of San Diego, where the homeless are plentiful, loaded with water bottles and burritos, in hopes of striking up some good conversations. The groups reported many good things. Some groups gave out all their water bottles and burritos, while others only a few, but the goal was to have meaningful conversations, which all of them did.
When everyone got back to the church, we headed out again for the Plaza Hotel where the students participated in the Bible study for the residents, some shared their testimonies, helped serve a meal and engaged in more conversations, sharing their faith and the love of Jesus when ever they had opportunity. The night was a complete success. Most everyone on the team is now comfortable with what started out being very uncomfortable and effectively reaching out to these hurting people.
At debreifing the students all shared how they saw God moving and how it affected them spiritually. The stories and comments were rich! Eyes are being opened, hearts affected, and change is ensuing. It's quite a priveledge to watch it happen and see God moving in not only the people we are serving, but in the lives of students and adults alike. Comments like, "I don't want to leave.", "I can see God doing things right before me.", "It's cool because not only do I see God working in me, but through each and everyone of us.", and "I'm really starting to feel this now."
Keep those prayers coming! Thank you so much!
July 20, 2010
Today we started our day with breakfast, devotions (sleeping to the Glory of God) and showers!! Believe it or not, that took all morning!
After lunch, we headed out on a several block walk to the Plaza Hotel and the Dustin Arms Hotel where low income people rent rooms for housing. Each week HPC has a Bible study and free meal at each of the hotels. So, today we went door to door inviting the residence and praying for them when they allowed us. Tomorrow night we will go and serve the meal to them. Many of us had some good experiences talking and praying for the residents. These people are very poor and if the city didn't provide this means of low income housing, many of them, if not all of them would be on the street. One team had the opportunity to pray for a woman who was strung out on drugs and had back problems, while her husband, a retired military man, was in a wheel chair with hip problems. They allowed us to pray and thanked us for our prayers. We are hoping to see them at the Bible study and meal tomorrow.
We then walked back to HPC, where we had the opportunity to participate at a MEW meeting (stands for Most Excellent Way). This is a drug re-hab program. We got to observe their meeting and 2 of our students gave BEAUTIFUL testimonies! We were so proud of them for doing something that wasn't easy (there had to be about 100- 120 people in the room) and doing it so well. It was very moving to everyone who heard their testimonies! They really had a profound impact on the people who attend the meeting. After the meeting we got to share a meal with the group. We all sat with the people from the group, chatted, and shared with eachother. As I looked around I could tell that this time was really meaningful for everyone. One of the homeless guys remarked that, "These kids are different. I can tell. They're not like the normal kids I see.... there's something different about them." I know what it was, it was the way these kids love on these people with the love of Christ. The more experiences they get... the more natural it becomes to them. They are doing an excellent job!
Debriefing was... WOW! Hearing the kids recount their many stories of how they were touching lives and being touched.... hearing them encouraging eachother.... and hearing them being so honest about their feelings and struggles was just amazing to be apart of! I honestly didn't want debriefing to end. There are a great bunch of leaders on this team, who love Jesus and love these kids. It's very meaningful to be apart of this and such a blessing.
Continue to pray... God is hearing and answering! Thanks so much.
July 19, 2010
Today we got up and moved quickly as we all had to be out of our rooms in the church for the service this morning. Everyone worked fast to get packed up and cleaned up. Then we had breakfast followed by devotions. Our devotional was on worship in daily life. After everyone spent some alone time with God on the topic, we had some good meaningful discussion about what it looks like to worship God in the mundane of daily living.
We all attended church here at Horizon Park Chapel this morning. It was a lovely service about the baptism of Jesus. After church we had a little free time where we spent some time writing prayers for each other in the back of our encouragement books. It blessed us to read what someone else wrote for us, without knowing who they were praying for at the time.
After lunch some of us helped cook the community meal for tonight, some of us helped clean up the church after the service and then we relaxed a little before we served around 120 homeless people a meal in the cafe here at HPC. It went well. They start with a short devotional. Then we served food and drinks, while we engaged in conversations and showed these sweet people kindness, respect and the love of Christ. We got to pray for several of the homeless people and really enjoyed our time with them.
Our evening was spent debriefing about all our experiences of the day and even the day before. Many of the students had one or several stories to share. It was sobering, enlightening and sometimes funny to hear the stories recounted. One of the girls asked a homeless gentleman his name to which he replied, "Well, I guess you can call me Joe. You never want to get too close to someone because you never know how long they're gonna stick around." There were just so many stories about so many crushed lives. We are praying for the restoration of these lives. We started compliling a prayer list that the team plans to continue praying for when they get home.
Keep praying for the team. Please also pray for the broken people of San Diego that we are trying to serve. Trying to serve these hurting people isn't an easy thing to do for many of us on the team, but each day it gets a little easier as we learn what to say, what to ask, how to help and how to pray.
Thanks so much!!
The team woke up refreshed this morning, had breakfast, orientation, a group devotional & prayer before we split into 3 teams and hit the streets of San Diego. The teams were armed with water and food to hand out to the homeless, in hopes of getting the chance to talk, relate, & share the love of Jesus. There were some real good conversations that happened with the kids & some folks that really needed someone to listen, care and hang with them. One group went to Balboa Park (which is right across the street from the church) and participated in "Church without Walls". This church has been meeting every Saturday for years in the Park. Many homeless people attend. After their service, they serve food & water, give out clothing and other necessities, & fellowship. The kids, although apprehensive at first, really did a great job and touched some lives and were touched themselves.
After lunch, the 3 teams headed out again and did "renewal" where they go into the different parts of the city where the homeless sleep, and clean it up of trash, debris & dirt. It was a messy job, but we did it!
Then after dinner, we headed on a good walk up to Hillcrest where a large population of gays live & hang out. This was a very busy weekend in the Hillcrest community as it was "Pride" weekend and there were just thousands of people around. There were festivities and a parade. We went to help hand out waters and let the people know that Jesus loves them... no strings attached. There was a young woman, her fiance and her uncle who do this every Saturday as a ministry to the gay community. She remarked how she had prayed that the Lord would bring people to help this weekend, as this was "Pride" weekend and she knew there would be many, many people. She was in awe when she found out that 34 of us were showing up to help.... what an answer to prayer! I think everyone was a little nervous about this adventure, but it went really well. One student remarked.... "That wasn't as hard as I thought it would be." Some kids even got into conversations with people of the community.
Debriefing was a sharing of our "Highs & Lows". There were just so many things to be thankful for.... and there is so much more to come! What a great day to begin our journey here in San Diego!
The team flew in late this morning, picked up their rental vans and made it here to Horizon Park Chapel by early afternoon. After getting settled in, the team went out for a late lunch and then headed to Mission Beach for some relaxation after a long day of travel. By early evening the group was back at the chapel and had a real nice time of debriefing, discussing how they saw God moving today, their highlights from the day and things they were looking forward to in the coming week. It was obvious that God was already moving on some of the hearts of the kids. It was a blessing to hear their reflections of the day, some of their apprehensions and praises, and the exciting ways they were looking for God to move and work through them in the coming week.
Please be praying for the group this week as we learn ... Whatever we do, do it all for the Glory of God.