One of the greatest things we stress in our ministry is faithfulness and availability. Inner-city kids and their families have no real example or role models that are consistent, faithful and honest. The inner-city is made up of children, single moms, lost and confused teens and grandmothers. Most of the men eighteen to forty-five are in jail, dead, on drugs or completely unemployed. There is little male leadership and certainly few godly role models. Distrust and fear rule the streets and we have found that faithfulness and loving these kids consistently is the only real way to help them.
If you are going to preach the gospel on the streets, you have to do it by faithful continuance and so earn the “right to be heard.” There is little respect for those who come and go; and for those who do stay, there is always a test from this community which has high resistance to outsiders.
We have been through riots, police actions, protests and rejections and have witnessed murders. And there were many times when we thought that we should give up. Some even questioned my sanity for continuing to go to some of these places. However, I now realize any negative thought pattern that does not include hope is not of God. So we persevere and our perseverance brings forth great fruit and many times miracles. What happened in our ministry one week best underscores all of this. I will now share it with you.
A cold front passed through our area bringing with it severe weather and winds. We normally take our Children’s Activity Truck out at about 2:30 pm. And leaving we were caught in the middle of that storm. Common wisdom would have said, “Stay home; there will be no one on the streets. You will be wasting your time.” But several years back, we decided as a ministry that no matter what happened at the time of our weekly Sidewalk Sunday Schools for the kids, we would go. That’s what Jesus would have done for us.
When we arrived at the site, it was raining heavily. The streets were empty like a ghost town. We sat in the front of the truck looking out the window wondering what to do. And we then prayed this simple prayer, “Lord we are here; send us somebody that needs help. Amen.” Within thirty seconds there was a knock on the driver’s side window. There stood a soaking-wet, middle-aged, black woman. I rolled down the window and asked her how we could help.
She replied, “My uncle just died. I’m all alone now. Please pray for me.” I got out of the truck and stood with her in the rain and began to pray for her. As I was praying others came out and brought umbrellas. We all huddled together under the umbrellas and made sort of a little roof out of them, if you can imagine. We had about six people under them including the woman. So, here we were, all of us praying for the woman. She was crying and we were praising God. We all began to sing. We were having church under the umbrellas right out in the street in the middle of the storm. It was so wonderful to see God work in such unique and powerful ways.
After we prayed, the woman thanked us and said, “I feel so much better now. I know Jesus loves me.” We then began going door to door praying for people in the rain. We just couldn’t stop with this one woman. We visited the kids in their homes and handed out gospel tracks and went up and down the street for hours ministering to people who came out after the storm. Praise the Lord!
You see folks it not about your ability it’s about your availability. If you are willing, God Himself will do great things through you. You don’t have to be missionaries like us for God to touch other lives through you. The thing is, are you committed to Him enough to say to him, “Lord here I am. Use me.” If so, then wherever you go in your neighborhood or on your job or with your family, God will send someone for you to share His love with. There are hurting and lost people everywhere. You are going to meet them tomorrow. You are going to drive past them on your way to work. Look up my friends; the harvest is plentiful!