It was Memorial Day. Most services for the homeless would be closed. I decided to keep our normal prayer time. We didn’t have a food provider, so I headed to Randall’s and purchased some 1/2 off meat that somehow didn’t get bought already. I didn’t know if there would be a lot of people or a few, so I made 50 sliders using my broiler. It was messy but once I got going, it went pretty fast. I loaded up and headed to the Campus House of Prayer, one of our several facilities partners who allow us to hold events on their properties!
Wouldn’t you know it, when I got there, nobody was out. Apparently they thought nothing would be available either. However, I settled into the routine. I made a half pot of coffee and set out the food. I put on a series of worship songs that someone maintains on the computer for me. This particular series seems always to have the right lyrics at the right time in our prayer concert. And then I waited. Would I be alone today? I have NEVER been alone in ministry! We’ve held events for more than three years now, and the fewest we’ve ever had is two people. God has always sent people to be with us. I waited to see what would happen today.
Soon a girl came into the room. She carried her belongings in a milk crate because her backpack had broken. She had never come to one of our events. And then a second client came in, a quiet young man. No one else came through the door, so I figured it was time to start.
We blessed the burgers and dug in. And then we began our prayer concert, talking first about what prayer is. The young man is religious but the girl was quite adamant about not being so. So we just shared brief answers about what prayer is to us… no right or wrong answers. Then we started talking about who God is to us. There wouldn’t be agreement in the room, so I just encouraged answers that were meaningful to them. Then we talked about what is going on in our lives. The young man was leaving town that very day. He plans to go to Wisconsin and work on a farm. From what I know of him, that will suit him very well. The girl was frustrated with not being able to get in touch with friends–the reason she came to Austin in the first place. And she needed a backpack. Then we prayed for what we wanted God to do in each of our lives. Safe travel. Find a good farm job. Get in touch today with the friend. Less harassment on the drag. More peace in the Austin and the world. An end to unnecessary suffering by the poor in the US and around the world.
We ended our time just talking. I have ministered to the young man for a year or more. This was a wonderful way to say good-bye for now to him. And the young girl had been in town a couple of weeks and never came to our events. But the sliders attracted her. We got her a donated backpack, too, a few days later. She has her own ideas about Christianity, based on her poor experiences with the church, but now she’s coming to our events regularly. It’s our prayer that she comes to know the head of the church–Jesus himself–no matter what her experiences have been with church members in the past.
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