8.02.2010

The Denver 411--A Different Kind of Mission

Well, even though I don't have all the pictures I'd like to show you, I decided I'd better just get on the ball with this post about Denver.  It might have something to do with the fact that I woke up at 7 AM (a miracle, I tell you!) and have a productive perspective on this day.  It could also be due to the fact that I went for a long walk, and now all my energy's gone, and I kind of just want to sit and do something mindless for awhile now.  Not sure which one it is.

Anyway...

I will warn you: this post is going to be quite lengthy

This year's trip was different, to say the absolute least.  To quote from my journal, "I thought I would have more passion and boldness once we got here.  But this year is different.  Last year it seemed easy to push past the little trials.  But this year it seems that the little things really drag me down--the weariness, heat, dehydration, etc."  This year's trip was much harder.  We didn't get to do as many activities, and the results we saw weren't as "loud", so to speak, as last year.  But as I thought about it on the day before we went home, some new thoughts came to my mind.  It wasn't like God had changed in the year since we'd been in Denver.  This year He had different things to teach us.  One thing I definitely learned was not to expect things to be the same.  It's not always going to be sunshine and roses.  This year it was a lot more taking it one step at a time, relying on God for strength each day, and learning to trust Him when things were hard.

I guess for this post I'll just tell you about it, and the next post will have the pictures.  Here goes.

This year we stayed at a place called House of Prayer Englewood (H.O.P.E.).  It was right next door to a bar, so we had music blaring through the walls and floor until about 2 AM most nights.  There was no air conditioning downstairs, which drained our strength too.  It was a good place, though.  The people there really set an example: someone was always there praying.

We arrived on Sunday, and went back to Scum of the Earth Church that evening.  I think I liked it much better than I did last year.  The worship time was incredible, and I really enjoyed it.

On Monday my team went to the Restoration Outreach Facility.  We helped them sort through a bunch of donations they'd received, and we also were able to get showers there too.  That afternoon we went to the bus stop (yay!).  The bus stop was my favorite place last year.  This year it was the only place where we got to do Living Water, so it was my favorite place this year too.  I only met two people there, but they were pretty interesting.

The first was a man named Ernie.  I told him we were with a church group, and he kind of closed up after that, so I didn't get to talk with him about God or anything.  One funny thing was that when I asked him where he was going, he told me he was going to go rob a bank.  He was joking, though.  Still, it was kind of hard to know how to respond to that.

The second was a Mexican woman named Nuvia.  The leader of my group, Jeremy, first tried to talk to her, but she hardly spoke any English, so she went to sit away from our group.  When I heard that she didn't speak any English, for some reason that made me really want to go talk to her.  Keep in mind, I can say hello and thank you in Spanish, and that's about it, but I really felt like God was leading me to talk to her.  So, I did, and we ended up talking for about an hour and a half!  It was SO cool!  She actually purposefully missed her bus a few times because she was having such a good time talking to me.  She was a fun woman to talk to, with an infectious laugh and a willingness to try and have a conversation with me even though we had a hard time talking to each other.  Because she understood so little English, I wasn't able to share the gospel with her, but I was able to pray with her.  I tried to keep it short and simple, so she would understand most of it, and I think she really appreciated it.  Nuvia was probably the highlight of my week!

On Tuesday my team wasn't able to do that much.  We went back to Acts 2, the food bank and clothing store, but there wasn't anything for us to do.  That evening we went to a park, served dinner to people, and had some music and skits.  It wasn't the best day in terms of reaching out to people, but I did have an excellent devotional time before we went out.  I was reading Psalm 55 that day, and verse 22 struck me in a different way than it has before.  It says: "Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken."

Again, to quote what I wrote in my journal that morning, "I've been struck by the implications of this verse.  The word 'burden' means 'circumstances'.  In whatever circumstance of life, God remains faithful.  Every burden, every care...  What would be different in my life if I lived like that?  If I gave Christ every burden, care, circumstance, fleeting thought of worry, etc.  Wouldn't I be free of the world?  Free to live for God, knowing He is sovereign and in control of every little thing?  What a challenge this is.  I'm prone to worrying and stressing out.  It's so hard not to.  But even worrying about not being able to stop worrying can be given to Him.  What a joy!  That He gladly takes away every hindrance and trial!"

On Wednesday we went back to Acts 2, where we unloaded trucks, handed out food, and cleaned up.  That afternoon we went to the skate park for about two hours.  I wasn't able to talk to anybody personally, but the members of my group were able to give away two Bibles and talk to three people extensively.

That night we went to Red Rock for our worship time.  It was amazing!  It started raining right as we got there, but we didn't let that hinder us.  We were able to look out over an amazing view, and we could see a little bit of downtown Denver.  The last song we sang was "How Great is Our God."  As we were singing the very last "God" in "How great is our God," there was a huge flash of lightning and one of the loudest thunders I've ever heard.  It was awesome!  I had my eyes closed, but the lightning was so bright I could still see the flash.

On our last day we went to pray with two men, Minister Gordon and Clifford, in the morning about a ministry to the homeless they're hoping to start soon.  They told us about it, and then we "bathed it in prayer," so to speak.  Their passion was so encouraging.  In the afternoon I stayed back at H.O.P.E. to take care of one of the members of our team, who was sick, while someone else took my place to go with my team.  They went to a mall to prayer walk and talk to people.  It fell through, though, because most of the mall wasn't open.  While I was on my own there I had a good time playing guitar and singing.  A song I kind of fell in love with again was "Step By Step."  It just seemed to sum up the week.  A lot of times, I was just taking the next step, not looking too far ahead.  But God was faithful to help me every step of the way.

Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You.

I will seek You in the morning
And I wil learn to walk in Your ways
And, step by step, You'll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days

I will follow You all of my days
I will follow You all of my days
And, step by step, You'll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days

1 comment:

Elizabeth Davis said...

Thank you for sharing, Sarah. It is great to hear how the trip to Denver went...neat that God was teaching you so many different things than from last year. You had a good perspective. Thanks again!

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