Saturday, January 15, 2011

She Gave Her Life to Jesus

"Keisha" has always been one of those people that I'd see on the street on a  regular basis, but never talked conversed with. There are just some people that - as much as you try to be friendly and talk - just don't care to pay any attention to you (unless you're one of those gifted people who can get anyone to talk to you).

She seemed nice enough, but always in the midst of people, obviously a pretty well-known girl on the street who always has her "crew" around. She's friend with many of our friends we've made on the street, but I'd never really been able to talk to her. 

Then a few weekends ago, she came to bible study when just a few of us were out on the street. She'd never spent much time at bible study before, unless to come by for some pizza or say hi to someone. But for some reason (probably because Krista was back on vacation and worked her magic to drag everyone on the street over to the Refuge), she came and stayed this time. After handing out some leftover Christmas presents, and letting her pick a scarf she liked, she and I finally connected, and a few of us talked for most of the night. 

She talked about the respect that she has for us, and how she has our back and appreciates everything we do. That if anyone messes with us, they'll have to mess with her. And how they appreciate what we do, too, they just don't always know how to show it because they're not used to people caring about them or giving them anything. ""Sorry, I'll talk y'alls ears off," she said. "But it's good to get stuff out, it's better than keepin everything inside. Maybe if more of these kids had someone to talk to, they wouldn't be so angry."

The following weekend, Keisha came to bible study again, and told us that she'd gone to church that weekend and the Spirit was moving and when the pastor asked if anyone wanted to give their life to Jesus, she just felt like she needed to. So she did. 

The rest of that conversation that night surrounded her desire to understand more, to "be holy", to figure out how to overcome her anger. Tears came on a few occasions, and it was clear that the Holy Spirit was in her. She was feeling guilt over things she'd never felt guilt about before. She was trying to figure out how to be more like Jesus. I gave her a new bible and exchanged phone numbers so we could talk more about any issues that might arise. 

Last night, she was calling me while we were still on our way to Santa Monica blvd, wondering what time we'd be there. Once again, she was there before us with bible in hand, ready to learn. She'd brought a friend, and just a few minutes into the night several others had joined us. In fact, we never even left the laundromat parking lot, as we usually do to meet people along the street and invite them to The Refuge.

During our study, she was full of questions about life, about dealing with anger, avoiding sin, leaving behind friends who she loves but are bad for her, baptism, etc. Her profound thoughts and insights impacted all of those at bible study who have known her a completely different way. As security rolled in and out, asking if we were okay, she told us they were only coming because she was there and they were probably expecting her to start something. People are afraid of her, know her as a trouble-maker and fighter. But she just wants to be different and for people to understand this new side of her. 

Tongayi wasn't the only one preaching the message about the prodigal son - her thoughts spoke volumes to those around her and influenced the entire conversation. 

This type of conversion on the street is rare. But it's impact, I believe, is far beyond what we can imagine. "Keisha" is a major influence on the streets and to those who work and live on it in the wee hours of the night. She  has a level of respect and leadership that many don't. What God could do with her passion and gifting makes me so excited! This is what it's all about.

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