I was restless last night, she was on my mind. So young, so pretty and so lost. Earlier in the day I had emailed someone who had known her for years to find out a bit more about her, but his response only confirmed the rumours. Still I wasn't satisfied. Something simply doesn't add up! In the day time she goes to college but eats with the homeless people wherever there is free food, on Sundays she comes to church but despite explaining the gospel in every possible way, she still hasn't accepted Jesus into her life. At night she walks the streets and sells her body for money but I can't figure out why as she lives at home with her parents.
I remember the first time I met her, she seemed really sweet. A bit shy but nothing seemed unusual. More than a year has passed and her story has slowly unfolded. She has joined us for dinner and parties at our home, she has come to our children's birthday parties and family celebrations, she comes to church every Sunday and is a part of our life. On the outside it looks like we are building a relationship with her but on the inside I know that something is desperately wrong. She is well known to many Christians in Gloucester but why then is she not showing signs of life and freedom. Surely if we, who know Jesus, are loving her as we should, then she would be free by now? This is what was troubling me and I was trying to pin my concerns down - what was bugging me?
So I chatted to Eric about it and as I did I realised something. It is easier to give someone a free sandwich and pat yourself on the back than it is to give them a hug - especially when they smell really bad. It is easier to tell someone about what Jesus has done for them than to sit down next to them and chat to them like you would a friend. It gets a little more difficult to invite someone into your home and allow them into your "private" life but the most difficult thing out of all that I have had to do is this.... simply to sit and chat. I don't mean the how are you, how was your week chat. I am talking about building a true friendship where you sit and listen to whatever they want to talk about, where you show the love of Jesus by taking the time to just sit and be with them. Out of all the things that I have done this seems to be the most difficult yet I imagine that this must be the most powerful thing for them to receive - true friendship.
I know I am rambling on here, forgive me for not communicating well today. My heart is in turmoil and I am just sharing it with you. I don't have the solutions I only have the questions, perhaps you can help me?
Why do we as Christian hide behind our good works rather than offer true friendship to those that are lost and hurting?
Why do we as Christians seem to work so hard at "church stuff" but see so little of the power of God in people's lives?
Why are we content to play church every Sunday but not get our hands dirty with the real needs during the week?
Why are we content with the way things are?
I am not content, I am troubled. If the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of me (Romans 8:10) then surely this beautiful, young girl should be free from whatever mental or spiritual problem is plaguing her? Oh and she is just one of the many people that are on my heart. I could write a book about all the people that I have encountered in Gloucester. People who are plagued with mental illness, addictions and hopelessness. With all my heart I believe that if these people had just one sincere Christian friend, then they would find the freedom that Jesus is trying to give them.. This is why we at D7 Church have committed 2011 to focus. We will focus on having just one best friend this year from our community. Our best friend will probably be smelly or might be drunk more often than not. Our best friend will not come neatly packaged in a comfortable box and will definitely not be easy to be around. I firmly believe that if every Christian sincerely chose to befriend one unsaved person for a year then we could change the world we live in. Are you changing your world or are you hiding behind your comfortable Christian deeds?
I am proud to be best friends with a very smelly alcoholic who is very precious to God. She often wakes up in a drunken stupor in a gutter or in a graveyard, but I love her and I believe that in time she will soften her heart to the love of God through me. Personally, I don't have enough love in me for her, my heart is too selfish, but I am praying that the love of God will work through me. But this woman is not the same woman that I mentioned at the beginning of the story. The girl at the beginning of this post is not much older than my own daughter. I desperately want to reach her too, please pray for me, please pray that God shows me what to do for her, please pray that as I investigate a little deeper that I will find the truth, please pray that other Christians will become unsatisfied with the way things are too. Please pray that we all break free from our comfortable lives and get out into the world and start to make a difference. As you know I am a firm supporter of causes that fight against human trafficking - but perhaps the problem is closer to home - perhaps this young girl has been sent out at night to work the streets by her parents. I don't know if this is the case, but isn't it easier to send money to organisations or write about causes than it is to actually fight human trafficking that exists on our doorstep? Think about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Are you doing good works to make yourself look good or are do you actually care about what is really going on in the world - your world - you street - your city?
Can I tell you a secret? When Eric and I started our church we thought that all we had to do was build a cool church and people would come flocking to it! If only it were that easy! Jesus is our example and He spent most of His time out and about with the people. It is so much easier to build an organisation that feeds the masses than it is to be a good friend to just one person. It is so much easier to preach to a crowd than it is to get up close and personal to one sinner. What do you think about all this?
If I had to venture a guess, I would guess this young woman you write about is seeking freedom. She understands that, in this world anyway, freedom = money. Ergo, garbage eating and prostituting herself. Perhaps what this young woman needs is a real job?ReplyDelete
It was very thoughtful your article. Reminds me going to the train station with my husband before Christmas to drop tea, chocolate bars and sandwich for homelesses in my town in Poland, last year.ReplyDelete
I had a thought during this time doing that. How brave was my pastor from my church in Poland who work with them every week, feeding them, cleaning, cutting their hair, offering bath, new and clean clothes, giving spiritual food and helping them in all the areas they need in a place called Bread of Life Center!Having no money to do that if not money from what they raise from America to do every small need, nothing from the local city or country. Showing them love all the way from America. Leaving a stable life and job in America to come to live here without any stable salary, all for the love of lost souls. There are not many who would do that or would go to Africa, the need is huge like the bible says but who would go? Where are the Isaiah from Old testament who would say. Yes, Lord. Here I am. Send me!!!
It is so much easier to drop food or give money for someone to buy things for homeless and help with offers than doing ourselves. It is really not comfortable to be around smelling people full of illness and addictions. For someone to do that need really a call from above, meaning sobrenatural. It is not wrong feeling like that. I am being honest. I have a good heart to help and I love helping but I can say I would not have a natural call to do that, unless given from above. I could be helpful in many ways but it would not come natural from my heart as for some people just to hug and kiss someone like that. Let's face and be honest to ourselves. Every person has a call for something and do with heart and is natural and that is why they reach many, when they do with a sobrenatural power from God given from above.
The bible says we are a body, and not everyone can be a finger or a leg, each one has a function and that is why we are a body and need every part of it together to make the body work well, and the body needs to be holy and healed to function well, without scars, like a bride for his groom who is Christ and us his bride.
If I would tell you opposite, I would say, I was being fake and not real. I believe every person has a call and a ministry.
Some are called to pray, some to give some to go. but each one of us as a body can be a blessing doing just our part in our calling.
My heart hurts to hear how is the world outside and how I would die to think about my girls in such situation. What does it take someone to do that with herself. No one would do for loving being treated as a prostitute and object of use. There are a lot to make someone to do that.ReplyDelete
But the reason I replied is to say that your article is very real and is not easy for someone without a power from God pour such love without God's help. Everyone has a need of real friends, being part of a group, being accepted and loved, have someone to listen to, and show interest for her pain, even if no word is said, just the fact of feeling loved and important for someone. That is what makes all the difference, but has to be a genuine love not a pretended love. That is why they can't change if they don't feel loved for real and accepted as part of someone's family. Not once a week, but whole week. Being called for many to say, I am thinking about you and I am praying for you. I am just sending a SMS to say you are loved and important. We as body are all thinking about you and praying but willing to help if you need a friend to talk or share or hung around with, count on me.
When we see you are not well, we feel sick because as a body, can't one part be hurt and not whole body feel sick together. However is not easy to find many with such a genuine love and call for the lost and unwanted and unloved now days. That is just a sign of the end fo time. We don't need a Noah Arc to see the coming of Christ is closed and that is the love of many became cold and none and that how would happen so we would see Christ is coming and we need to count down the time like Noah did so the Arc will not be closed and so many left behind. It will have no Arc this time.....
It does take from God to give us this genuine love and passion for all souls smelling and not smelling. What would you say?
But my prayer for God will be: God if that is how you wish for all of us to be, give us this genuine love and passion to love the unwanted one and unloved one as you would do just the way they are. Change us so we can change them.
I also want to say I do appreciate your ministry and heart for it!
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Our vicar tells us that when he was seeking God, he was young with long hair, an earing, no shirt and no shoes....ReplyDelete
he went into a church and a man came up to him dressed in his Sunday best. He turned to him, hugged him and said he was sure glad to see him. Every time I see someone who is troubled I say to myself "Can I do what the man in the suit did" often I fail but I do try and keep on trying....
Case worker, great comment. I heard from someone, maybe Joyce Meyer, one of my best preacher. It is not wrong keep trying to be better and the person God wants us to be. Wrong is giving up for failing when trying. We all are human and yet being in process of changing to the person God wants us to be.ReplyDelete
This poor girl is probably emotionally dead inside, and it's going to take a log more then a cup of coffee and a sandwich to get through to her. If her parents are trafficking her then her life must be so miserable.ReplyDelete
It might be a good idea to find out her experiences of God and religion? Ask about her parents- that's where the mental block is likely to be.
We need to pray for her. God will do everything at the right time..
Lord, you are so Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord you are loving, kind, supportive and perfect in every way. Lord I thank you for individuals like Angela and her husband and for giving them the courage and will power to befriend the kind of people that most individuals would turn their noses up to and walk away from when confronted on the streets of the world. Lord you experienced a lot of undesirable people during your brief stay on earth and you Lord accepted them with open arms and true love.ReplyDelete
Lord I lift up the undesirables, the unholy, the prostitutes, the homeless, the alcoholics and the drug addicts to you. Lord these individuals are lost and need salvation in their lives and the only way to obtain salvation is to come in contact with God fearing, God loving and God believing people to take their hand and lead them on the right path. They need someone to give them a hug and to look them in the eyes and say “I love you and God loves you”.
Lord I pray that you give us the strength and courage to give up our lives of be hypocrites and to start living our lives the way that you have planned for us! Lord help us to only turn our backs on satin and to accept people for who they are currently and to trust in you Lord to help all of us to become better people.
Lord I lift up the groups of people that run and control the human trafficking business and ask that you help to see that what they are doing is wrong and is killing our girls and boy’s all over the world, both young and old.
Lord I lift up the family members of the individuals that have been kidnapped and sold into slavery and ask that you give them the strength to endure what they are going through and help them to find the recourses to help find their loved ones.
Lord we can exist without in our lives! I on the other hand would rather live and not just merely exist and the only way to