Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Fridays are hard. After a late night of being on the street, I dread waking up in the morning. Not just because I'm tired, but because after only 3 hours of sleep, I usually wake up with a stomach ache and burning, bloodshot eyes. And all day long at work I feel a little off, a little physically uncomfortable, and ready to go home to bed. Some days are much easier than others, but that's the general Friday for me after Thursday night ministry. It's also harder when things don't seem to be going great on the street. That tiredness is almost like a battle wound to be proud of when the reason I was up so late was because of an amazing conversation, or great progress in a relationship, or seeing God do his thing. But, like this Thursday, I was already feeling discouraged with ministry by lack of fruit, lack of progress, and questions for God. And so that 'Friday feeling' just felt defeating. .

It wasn't a bad night at all...but I also didn't feel particularly useful. I saw some old faces, and got to catch up with a kid, 'Mark', I've written about on here before, as well as an old friend of Big Mama. I met a few new people outside of the donut shop. And at bible study we got to spend some time in discussion about denominations, prayer, and love with some of the people who came to the study. One - Tom, an older gentleman who loves our ministry and Antquan and has come around many times before. And another older man who lives on the street and believes in God but has some arguments and questions. And Irving, who asked for specific prayer and was very grateful for what he received. We reflected together on the message about Cor. 13 - on love - and what stood out to us in particular. It's been a while since we've had good, structured group reflection time after a message so that was a good chance to also share our lives with those who came.

Two of them who came also checked to see when we're there and showed interest in coming back to spend time with us. We gave one info to our favorite local church as well, as he was interested in getting back into church. Ha, even writing this I'm beginning to see that perhaps it was a better night than I had realized!

On Friday night, I went out again with the Friday team. There were a lot more people out, which usually makes for a more interesting evening, and often allows for more and sometimes better conversations. An old friend, Nigel, joined us with a bright smile, early on in prayer and then hung out with us for a while. He found me, Nick and Dave in the donut shop and we all engaged in a debate about God and how many paths there are to him. He believes the bible and in Jesus Christ for salvation, but doesn't necessarily think that means it's right for everyone.

Part way through that discussion, two young guys, one with a guitar strapped to his back, sat at the table behind us and Nick quickly engaged in conversation with them. Probably one of the only times I've met two straight, young, masculine looking males in that area who weren't there for the club or for work. They had been at an open-mic night somewhere to perform and like hanging out in the area just to people watch. We talked to them about nearby churches and how one of them had kind of tried church a while ago at a church we partner with, but hadn't been back since. He was hesitant to go back to church, but we invited him to join us any Thursday, and Nick got his info to keep in touch.

After ending our chat with Nigel, we walked back down the street corner where the other donut shop is and hung out outside for a while talking to 'Ravi', Nigel, Willy, Warren, and some others that we see regularly. Willy, who I haven't been quite sure about his religious stance, had me listen to a song on his ipod, a gospel track about leaning on God through the trials and tribulations. He said he listens to it all the time, it's his song right now for fighting his own trials and trying to make it through. The past few weeks I've seen him spending more time with us, opening up to more people on our team and becoming a friend that most of our team knows. Those moments are always exciting to me, because it shows that a relationship is truly being built and the conversations can continually grow deeper.

For the second night in a row, we saw our friend, Silent, that we had met while with Cassandra. The previous night I had honestly thought he had been drinking for how excited he acted when he saw me. But this night he flashed a huge smile as he bent down and geared up excitedly to give me a massive hug. Our conversation with him didn't last too long, but again, I know a relationship is growing there, and to know that someone is actually excited to see us and knows exactly what we're about it always a good thing.

But something about the vibrant life and conversations on the street, the mix of people, the change from typical Thursdays for me, was refreshing and restorative and brought back some excitement that I had been lacking after the previous night.

I just continually pray that God opens doors for conversations and that we are never too slow or shy to bring up the gospel and confront the mess that people have made of their lives and that we love them enough to speak the truth and help to bring them out of the mess.

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