Thoughts,Songs,Writings,Rants,Encouragements, and Life

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bridgetown (adventure two)

Tonight I had the opportunity to go downtown and serve our the city of Portland. Our middle school group brought about 17 students to serve under the Burnside bridge. Bridgetown ministries serves about 200 homeless each and every Friday night. This includes haircuts, feet washing, new socks, food, conversation, and clothing. Also involved in this ministry our prayer pockets*. These pockets of about 5-7 people walk a purpose filled and mapped out journey during the time that others our serving under the bridge. Some of these groups have food and blankets and try to reach out to those who can not make it to the bridge, bringing the ministry to the people instead of having them come to be ministered to(what a great thought). Then there are groups/pockets that spread out throughout downtown Portland and pray for specific things, specific needs, buildings, people, and pretty much anything. Our adventure begins with one of these prayer pockets.

I volunteered along with about five middle school girls and a Village mother to do one of these prayer walks. And I was asked to lead one of these prayer pockets. We were given a map of Portland with a highlighted trail for us to follow. We were given short ideas on what to pray for at each location. There were 12 stops on our little journey. We only got through 3 though.

The girls and I headed from the church we began at towards the Max line that would take us to Pioneer Courthouse Square or PCS for short. As we got off the Max I wanted to teach the girls a little about prayer and bigness of it. I was trying to get the girls acclimated to what they were about to do, so I stopped them and had them look at the bricks on the sidewalk. Bricks you say? Yes, bricks. There is a lot that we can pray for when it comes to bricks, especially when thousands of people walk on them each and every day. I asked the girls the significance of the bricks and why we might be able to pray for them. They gave good answers. Here are three: We could pray for the brick makers, the brick layers, and then all of the people who walk on these bricks everyday. Now moving on from this short lesson in prayer awareness, we moved to the steps of PCS.

On the steps of PCS we asked God to use us and clear our minds to see things as He sees them. We prayed for God to scare us. We prayed for all the people around us. We prayed for the people that would at some point step foot on these steps. And then we began our walk.

One of the things I have been asking God to do lately is open my vision of Him to a higher level of understanding. I realize that I am small in the grand scheme of things. I realize that HE is big and I truly don't understand Him. So I have been asking God to show himself to me in new ways. I also have been asking Him to scare me. To put me in my place, and ultimately to use me when I am broken, scared, unknowing, small, and yet earnestly seeking Him. Little did I know my new found prayer format would come true so quickly.

The girls and I traveled up from PCS towards Taylor(possibly not the real) street. We began to pray for the points on our little mapped out adventure. With out new found awareness of all the things around us, the girls were truly praying from the hearts and not the usually stuff you would expect from a middle schooler.

As we were heading to the fourth point on the map, that's when it happened. There we were chatting and opening our hearts to what God had for us when He rocked us. Standing on a wall outside of a small taco shop was this woman, who couldn't be more than 47, swaying back and forth. She looked cold, she looked older than she was, she looked miserable. And she asked us for help. "Please...p p please can you help me out? Any change any money? I have been kicked out of my home. I have no one to turn to." The girls hearts broke immediately. What could we do to help this woman? I replied, "Um, can I buy you something to eat? There is a taco shop right here?" She quickly replied that she wasn't able to eat stuff like that. I wasn't going to give up that easily nor was I going to give her cash. So I ran around the corner into the taco shop and pleaded with the guys (they had just closed shop) "is there anywhere close by where we can get some cheese, fruit, and juice?" They looked at me like a was stupid for a second and then said, "the closest place is a Safeway about four blocks up the street to the left." "Thank you so much" I said and ran back to the girls and the woman. They were still talking with her. Apparently they had tried to pray for her but she said, "no thanks, I have given up on God and don't believe in that stuff anymore." I was still not done with this woman though, neither was God. I asked the woman how long she would be standing there for. She said that she wouldn't be here long. The truth is she was going no where. She could barely walk, she had a hitch in her step.

The girls and I began to walk away. The mother and I talking about how we wished we could help but just couldn't see how we could. The Safeway seemed so far away and we running out of time on our prayer walk time period. Then one of the girls said, "PLEASE! Can we stop?" The mother and I turned around to see five girls in tears. One of them said, "isn't there anything we can do for her? Why do we have to walk away?" The mother and I looked at each other. "Well, we could pray for her", said the mom. So right there we circled up just a hundred feet or so from the woman on the wall and prayed for her. And then began our mission.

After the prayer we decided we were going to do whatever we could do to help this woman. We began to run towards the direction of the Safeway. This is when I realized that I am fat and out of shape and Sir Wheezy should be my nickname, but we pressed on. We ran into Safeway and got the goods we needed for the woman. fruit, juice, cheese, and a couple sandwiches. Then we had to wait through a ridiculously long line (I hate how Satan tries to block us from succeeding in Christ) and finally were able to purchase the $27 worth of foodage.

We then began the trek back to the woman. Running in a what must have looked like a funny group, we finally reached the spot where she, the woman, used to be. She was gone. My heart sank, "Oh God, please don't let it end this way," I prayed to myself. Then one of the girls spotted her. She was about a block away chatting up a couple that had just come out of a Theater. I handed the bag of goodies to one of the girls and we walked to the woman. She ignored us. We stood there. Finally I stepped in and said "we would like you to have this." She acted surprised and then took the food and said "bless you, bless you." That was it, we walked away. She continued to talk to the people, we continued to walk.

We were happy and yet one of the girls was not satisfied in the womans reaction. "Well that was worthless," said the girl. I turned and said "what!?" "She didn't even appreciate what we did for her, she doesn't even believe in God." My mind was reeling at this point how am I going to respond to this girl. "God was seen tonight. You were used by Him tonight. Even though that woman may not accept it now we were planing a seed that may someday grow into something else someday later. "Oh, I guess you are right."

I asked the girls if they were scared at all during the night. And they all replied "Yes!" And then I said, "See what happens when we ask our God to show up?" "Yea?!" He can do amazing things. I believe God is still working on that woman, I will pray for her. And I believe God showed himself to the girls in a new and awesome way tonight. All because they asked Him to use them and He said "Ok let's do this!"

How will God use you and when was the last time you asked Him to use you? I suggest to anyone please check out Bridgetown at least try it once. It could change your outlook on life, just a little.

*Prayer pockets is my saying, not what Bridgetown calls them.


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