(Please read my previous two posts to get the full story. Thanks!)
Let’s pick up our story on June 1, 2015…
I’m a “nest builder”. It’s hard for me to get anything done until my house and my workspace are all in order. That took all summer, because we spent a lot of time traveling with World Race. But we also spent a lot of time meeting people in our apartment community. I met Don, a former heroin addict. I met Tony, a widower grieving the loss of his wife. I met Caroline, an addict who had attempted suicide on at least two occasions. In fact, in our first three months here, Mary Ellen and I met well over 100 people. I developed what Mary Ellen calls my “Parking Lot Ministry”. It seems that every time I walked our dog, or picked up our mail, or just went for a walk, I would meet someone new. Often those meetings turned into conversations. And often those conversations would turn to spiritual conversations. I found myself listening to, and praying with people in the parking lot. We even had a lady named Angel walk up to us while we were sitting in the drive-through line at McDonald’s, and ask us to pray for her!
In September we began to gather these folks together for a weekly small group in our apartment. Don gave his life to Jesus. So did Caroline. It took a while, but our small group began to grow.
By this time our first two church planters joined us. Brittany Gonzales moved to Atlanta from Utah, and Michael Sullivan made the move from Indiana. Both are World Race alumni, with a deep passion for Jesus and for people. God continued to connect us with more and more people. By Christmas our small group had grown to 25 people!
What we do is really not hard. Anyone can (and should) do it. We pray a simple prayer every morning before we leave our homes: “Father, help me to see the people you want me to see. Help me to engage and listen to the people who long to be known and heard today. Help me to love the people you want me to love today.” And then we just open our eyes. Jesus walked slowly through crowds. He took the time to see people. He stopped. He listened. He loved. If I’m going to be like Him, then I’ll be doing the same thing.
I am coming to understand how broken people really are – the brokenness, the fear, the confusion, the loneliness, the pain. They are desperate for community, for someone to love them. All we do is step into that space. I don’t have to “fix” them – that’s the Holy Spirit’s job. My job is to love them, and point them to Jesus. You don’t have to move to Atlanta to do that (though if you’re interested in that, let me know!) You can do that right where you are. The harvest really is plentiful. And the workers really are few. I’m praying the Lord of the Harvest will send His workers out into the fields! This is where the fun begins!
Watch for “So Jeff, What Are You Doing Now?” (Part 4) coming soon!
Hey, would you consider a couple of things for us? First, would you please remember us in prayer? God has already acted supernaturally on our behalf in so many ways, and it is because of prayer. Second, would you prayerfully consider supporting us financially in this ministry? Just click on “Support our 320 Network Planters” on our website. Thanks!