Remembering John (Operation God is Love)

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Picture credit: Pinterest

Whatever you’ve done to the least of these, you’ve done unto Me,~Jesus.

Operation God is Love is a street ministry I started this Spring. The objectives are to take the Gospel into the city, to pray for people, to share Jesus, and be instruments of love. I am drawn to people no one loves. They are too dirty, broken, messed up, and outcasts of society. I look into their eyes and my heart cries out, “I see you. You are loved.

This ministry is small. It’s me and two other women who pack up supplies and hit the city month after month. We never know who we will see or what God will do. What we do know is that God is good. God is all powerful. God is love. God has empowered us to go into all the world and make disciples! The Great Commission was given to all…

John (not his real name) was a beggar and homeless man we met our first time out. He was young, maybe early thirties. He was hungry and sad. John captured my attention the moment we saw him, and we took him to get pizza.

I’ve never seen someone so undone by what I would consider reasonable kindness…a meal. The Bible says, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him.” John wasn’t an enemy. He was a hurting person who was invisible to many people who walked by.

He told us many people ignored him or looked down on him. He carried tremendous emotional pain and shame.

We asked about his life. We gave him a Bible and literature. We gave him food and supplies. We told him about Jesus. We prayed with John and his friend who showed up later. We prayed for healing of his leg. We spent an afternoon with John. Doing all we knew to do to express God’s heart.

John met his Maker a few weeks ago. He overdosed on some drug. We don’t know if it was an accident or on purpose. I do know the level of pain and shame he carried was heavy. I can’t imagine living his life story. I do remember his tears as we informed him of God’s love and redemption. I don’t know if John finally gave his life to Christ. He didn’t when we were with him.

Here’s what I do know…

It pays to stop for the one. I run into so many hurting or homeless people and sometimes it’s impossible to get to everyone. I can’t help everyone. I can help one person. I can share the Gospel with one. I can feed one. I can love one.

I don’t think I will ever forget John’s face. It’s etched in my memory. He wasn’t too dirty for me to touch. He wasn’t so lost I didn’t want to reach out. He wasn’t invisible. He was seen and loved. I was honored to share a meal with him. Honored God allowed our paths to cross. Honored to love him as a person God loves.

My encouragement to you is this…you have the ability to change someone’s life and enlarge heaven. Don’t waste it. Yes, it’s unsettling at first to reach out to strangers, but it’s worth it. I’ve found people on the street more welcoming and appreciative than people who gather in churches on Sundays. It’s far easier for me to minister to the hurting than people who think they have it all together and don’t need or want love.

Please pray for us as we continue to go out! We want to see God’s Kingdom come and His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Heaven full! Hell empty. We can’t do everything. We can do something….

Love in Christ,

Erin

Not Invisible (Operation God is Love)

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Photo Credit: Pinterest

Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor! The LORD rescues them when they are in trouble,~Psalm 41:1.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me,“~Matthew 25:31-40.

This past weekend Operation God is Love commenced. It’s been ongoing in prayer and other aspects, yet going out into the community started this past weekend. God sees the people we don’t see. God cares about the people we don’t care about. Every person on the planet matters to God.

Our journey started at 9 am with breakfast, fellowship, worship, and prayer. Then we ladies headed into the city. We parked, grabbed our supplies, and started walking. We walked and prayed. We prayed for a release of God’s Kingdom in the area. We prayed blessing over businesses and protection over the people who live there. God has given us authority in His name to push back the darkness.

We stumbled across a young homeless man. We shall call him Martin (not his real name). We offered him a goodie bag (cereal bars, snacks, bible, info, etc) and prayer. It didn’t seem to be enough. There was a sadness in his eyes I still can’t shake. We invited him to lunch…as we sat with him in this city pizza place…his story is one I won’t forget. He’s partially disabled, has no family help, and has lots of pain. He showed us the pins and injuries in his legs, and spoke with tear filled eyes. “Churches give you food and handouts, but rarely a place to stay or help finding employment. Shelters give preferential treatment to women and children. They give you food, but no bus passes to get to a job. Other people assume you’re an addict so they won’t help you. People walk past you on the street and look at you like you enjoy begging. I am so ashamed. I want to work. I want to take care of myself“~Martin.

We watched Martin wipe away tears. Though we prayed for healing, favor, freedom, provision…he needs a miracle. He said he couldn’t understand why we’d stop and listen to his story or invite him to eat. He wondered what church sent us out..we told him we came on our own. No pastor sent us out. We told him Jesus sent us to love people, plain and simple. Martin matters to God. He held his head low every time we told him how much he meant to God.

We met many homeless people. We met a woman and several men. All with tear filled eyes, profound stories, and a desire to be seen, fed, & loved. I don’t know fully how they all ended up there; is it or was it their fault they are on the street. It doesn’t matter. Jesus tells us to love people. The greatest solution and Redeemer I know is Jesus. He didn’t tell me to only love those who love me or the shiny, happy, wealthy people. He said love everyone as I have loved you.

I don’t advocate just handing out money to people, unless God leads you to. I don’t advocate going out alone into cities to help people. We go out in the day, in a group, and stay on well lit and public streets. We don’t go into houses or dark places. We don’t carry loads of cash. We don’t give out personal information or offer to do things for people beyond the scope of the mission or Holy Spirit leading.

I do advocate feeding people, getting them necessities, pointing them to places to get help, giving bus passes, gift cards, blankets, small first aid kits, hand sanitizer, praying for people, listening to their stories, showing people the heart of Jesus, etc…

Lastly there was Paul (not his real name). The morning after worship, one of the ladies said let’s wait and see if God gives us clues about people we need to share the Gospel with today. I kept getting blue sweatshirt, but dismissed it. While we were talking to Martin, Paul rides up on a bike in a blue sweatshirt. Thought nothing of it. Once we left lunch with Martin and his friend, we went looking for Paul. We found him on a ledge watching cars go by.

Paul was suicidical. He had told God that day he had planned on running out into traffic because he had no hope. We told Paul, “God sees you! God loves you. There’s hope in Jesus.” We were able to share the Gospel with Paul, to bring hope and encouragement, and pray suicide off him. We told him the blue sweatshirt story and how God sent us there for him. He too cried. It’s moving to see a grown man cry. We gave him goodie bags for himself and others.

Paul, Martin, Sam, Lorrie… The people we met, none of them asked us for money. They were happy to hear the Gospel, for prayer, to be given a hug, for a meal, for someone to listen, for someone to care about them. Love wins! I can’t do everything. You can’t either. We can do something!

I’m excited to hopefully share more testimonies with you throughout the summer. I am praying God invades our city, nation, the world with born again believers willing to love the least, the last, and the lost.

See picture below of us with Sam (not his real name). Quite the character. He prayed for us! How sweet is that. He kept saying how blessed he was and how good God had been to Him. Ah, to have perspective… God bless friends. You are deeply loved (John 3:16).

Love in Christ,

Erin

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