Friday, December 4, 2009

Small Changes Can Be Big Things

Though the weather outside was (slightly) frightful last night in Hollywood, it did not prevent us from engaging in some great conversations and having many people at The Refuge service.

As soon as we strolled over to Donut Time, a tall, mid-aged black man walked out with his coffee and donuts in one hand, Popeye's Chicken bag in another, and said hi to us as soon as he recognized us. After a quick mention that he sells hats on Hollywood Blvd, I remembered him from months ago…maybe even a year ago. I had met him right around the same corner while he was waiting for a bus. 'Ron' reintroduced himself and it didn’t take long for him to recognize that God had apparently set this appointment.

He explained that he feels God calling him to “do what we do” - going out and telling people about Him. He’s a Christian, and talks to people about God when he gets the chance, but feels that something much bigger is coming with the start of the new year. That God’s calling him to something greater, and he’s starting to accept that, while realizing it’s a huge responsibility. “I don’t know if I’m ready,” he told us, also expressing excitement for what was to come. (ha, I know the feeling). When we told him about bible study, he knew he needed to come, even though it wasn’t the most convenient time, because he felt like this had to be from God. He said he almost never comes to this Donut Shop because it’s out of the way and normally he goes to a different one on his way home. But for “some reason” he’d decided to come to this one tonight, and that had put him in our path.

While Han and I were talking to him, Jeremiah began talking to two other guys in the donut shop (one who we’d met a few weeks ago who loves arguing against God), and at midnight the 6 of us walked down to bible study together. Shortly after arriving, we were joined by two of the security guards we talk to each week. That was incredibly exciting, because they’re normally either working, or heading home, or just don’t wan to come at midnight. They even both participated in the service by sharing some of their Christmas traditions, as Antquan was speaking on the topic of Christmas and who/what we should really be celebrating. At the end of the message when we broke up into groups, one of them said he's trying to learn more and would be sure to return to our service. And the other, who Kayla's been trying to get to come for a long time, said  he'd also return, and asked to take a Bible home!

As we talked with them, several others engaged with the same guy Jeremiah had been talking to, which meant a lot of debating. But his friend he'd been with hung around and talked with others on the team. After the security guards left, two other  guys showed up - one who I know, the other who I'd seen but hadn't met before. They stopped by for some pizza and conversation, and Kayla and I talked to Eric for a while, tossing around light conversation. Soon after that, our friend "Alex" showed up with another of his friends. He was in a better mood than I'd seen him in a while...and also in a shorter dress than I'd seen him in before (and I didn't really think it could get any shorter. But it did). We just talked briefly with the two of them, but I think his friend "Blaine" was one of the nicest people I've met out there. Also two of THE prettiest men I've met out there...I honestly forget that they're not women when I'm talking with them. 

Alex and I exchanged numbers for the millionth time (he always seems to have a new one), and said we'd call each other soon, acknowledging that we all need to hang out more. 

So many people, in addition to those already occupying my thoughts, gave me much to pray for on the ride home. Nothing profound from the night, necessarily, but  as  Kayla and I had talked about earlier, many people here require that we prove our commitment and trustworthyness, and with time and the planting of seeds, things begin to change. 

There was a new level of interest last night from several individuals, and that in and of itself is a huge thing! Please pray those seeds take root and begin to grow deeper and wider.  

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