Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Outreachs

Before we left BCOM our group leader told us that this would be the last time going to the U for outreach.
After last week I thought I should go out prayer walking again. I had a redbox movie to return so a little after seven I left the church and headed to McDonalds to drop off the movie. While I was walking over and around McDonalds and through Dinkytown I was just praying. Specifically into the reality that a lot of the treasure hunters usually ended up in that area and that they would find people hungry.
From there I started following the signs again and ended up sitting outside one of the buildings. Outside the building there were two signs that said "between the signs" so my thought was that I should wait and see what happens between the signs. I sat down across the street and just prayed for a little bit. I didn't know what the building was, so I prayed that the next person that stopped in front of it I would go talk to. Literally, the next second I looked up and there were two muslim women sitting on the bench and I have no idea how they got there that quickly. I went over and asked them if they knew what the building was used for - it is an education building.
 I went into the building and spent 15 - 20 minutes wandering around in it just praying for the professors and students. From there I just walked along through a park and ended up near the river, facing the Minneapolis sky line. I got into a short conversation with a guy that was sitting there, who I figured out had been at New Hope center when we did our ministry week, so that was neat.
I walked along this road and passed under the bridge and ended up behind Coffman Union. I walked up and just kept following the signs that stuck out to me. I walked out to the road and over the bridge and around the bus stop before I decided to talk to some of the over BCOM students for a bit. I just wanted to check in with them and see how it was going.
From there I b-lined it down the road. I was thinking about starting to head back to the church, but the stop where I would have gone left had two "no left turn" signs so I went with that and headed right. I walked down the hill and ended up in the medical training area and yeah the Spirit really started getting at me. I was just praying for the doctors, nurses, professors and students for really belief in healings and having there medicine be a second line of action, not the primary form. I continued along and saw a children's medical center and was really praying in and for them. I found out later that one of the treasure hunt groups actually ended up in the children's center so that is a neat little fact. The whole time I was walking along I kept trying to get into the buildings but every door that I tried was locked so I just kept walking. The road I was following curved right and I ended up outside the heart treatment center.
I continued on praying but headed out back to the main road. I still got the feeling that I wasn't supposed to go straight back to the church so I crossed the road and headed right again. After a couple blocks I ended up across the street from where Remedy meets so I prayed into that ministry for a couple of minutes. Afterward I finally started walking back to church.
As I made this portion of the walk I saw 3 or 4 signs that really spoke to me about the condition of the church so I really prayed into that. Again, I found out later that the intercessors were really praying into church and into a lot of the same things that I was praying for.
I sort of just ended the walk in thought of all that I had just been able to pray for and went back to the church. It was a pretty good wrap up of the year and really made the whole year worth it.

So as a change of pace I decided to go out prayer walking tonight. I wasn't sure how to go about it, but just headed out praying. I walked a couple of blocks from the church and saw a sign for Church St. I have walked by it many times, but it hit me in a new way this time. So I just following street signs as the Spirit highlighted them to me. Incase you didn't realize it, there is nothing spiritual about street signs, but I was just going on faith as a child and knowing that God is the one working out all the stuff. So I walked, mostly around the mall and around Coffman union. My prayers felt very dry and ineffective so I was a little discouraged by that. As I passed by the bus station I saw the hot chocolaters with a big group and later found out that it was a really busy, good night. The group leader is convinced that my prayers were involved in the openness and quality of the night. I can't deny it because God isn't limited by our bumblings and failings but it is hard for me to say definitively about it.

For the final two weeks of March I just did the normal Hot chocolate. The weather is getting nicer so I wasn't sure how it would be, but people are getting more talkative, more open and it's a real blessing.

Good evening. That could summarize the whole evening, but wouldn't do justice to it at all. It was a nice day out and people kind of wanted to break out of their cycles so there was only one hot chocolate group today, and I wasn't apart of it. Instead, I went with Bryce and Eric on a treasure hunt - basically we were walking around campus, listening to the Spirit to identify where to go and who to talk to. 
We started out by walking to Dinkytown. After walking for a few blocks, a guy came up and started talking to us. It was a little strange because as we were walking we passed him going the other direction. This guy was walking next to a group of students, but I noticed that he wasn't really with them. So yeah, I'm calling that a Holy Spirit Highlighting. Eric ended up talking to this guy for about 20 minutes. He was a self proclaimed Atheist, with some Agnostic beliefs mixed in, kind of confusing. Well the Word was busted out and the guy was so interested, it was written all over his face. There was no on the spot acceptance of the truth, but that guy is closer then he would ever admit.
After that we got a call about a black woman with short hair who was getting off work that we should talk to and said she was in the region of the mall. We headed straight over there. We all needed to relieve ourselves so we headed into the library, it was one of the only open buildings because of spring break. As we were leaving it got the sense that we should stay there for a little bit, I told the guys and they had the same feeling so we hung around the library for about 25 minutes. We saw a woman who matched the description, but at about 8:55 we found out from one of the other employees that they were working til midnight, so that was a strike out. The library closed at nine so we had to roll out. 
While we were waiting though I had a vision of an arrow going down the mall from the library to the bus stop. So thats where we went. We got to the top of the stairs and immediately saw a group of guys praying over one guy. We went down and talked to them for about 20 minutes, it was really cool. They were from Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park. It was really good to see their evangelism style. 
So yeah, the weather is getting nice and I don't really know how much longer we will be doing hot chocolate, I'm kind of done with it already, but if it gets chilly again I may do it. I'm going to kind of take it week by week from now on. 

So I was just looking at this post and realized how inefficient it was, having the newest info at the bottom was kind of stupid so I rearranged everything from old at the bottom to new at the top. 

Well I will be honest, I wasn't super stoked about going to the U tonight, but didn't have a good reason so I got over it went, good thing I did. At first nothing was really out of the ordinary, a few people wanted hot chocolate, most didn't. But around 8:20 things started to shift a bit. We had like 8 people in a row wanting some of the drink with the line being started by a guy who identified us as "the kids from the Christian school who come all the time." I was impressed that he remembered that much and yeah, it definitely goes to show that people notice and remember even such a simple act.
After a while a student named Caleb came up. He seemed really interested and very engaging. I ended up talking to him for 5 - 10 minutes just about school and life. He told me some of his story and allowed me to pray for him. I love praying for people, and it has become increasingly more of a comfort for me to pray over people directly but I knew that when he said that I could that God was setting that up so much. I want to say that it was nothing like extraordinary, but considering all the weeks where little to nothing has happened and considering that God is orchestrating all of it, I would be pretty foolish to think that it wasn't extraordinary!

So we had spring break over last week, thus the gap in dates.

Because of the blizzard we joined up with the streetlevel group and we headed to the MOA to do ministry - mostly through prayer. It was a nice change from the usual stuff that happens at the U. I don't really have any crazy stories from it, but really just taking the time to pray on behalf of and for people was something that has been stirred on my heart a lot lately.

So wow, I knew I hadn't updated this in a while, but it has certainly been a long time. I guess the excuse for that is that I have been on vacation semi often and have had other kinds of outreaches over the last few months.

When we go to the U I have still been handing out Hot Chocolate at the bus stop. The first time we went back after Christmas Break, the U was still on theirs so it was taken as an intercession day. I spent about an hour at the bus stop and received a few things from God to keep praying about and for. The main thing that I saw was a cross being staked on both sides of the road so it was an encouraging thing to hold onto.

The last few weeks have been pretty standard, the same questions, same answers but still a very good opportunity to just serve.

Well we had the King's Banquet this week. I will put up a larger post about this soon, but sufficite it to say that it was very good!

We didn't go out on our weekly outreaches this week because of the King's banquet next week. Instead all the freshmen went out and handed out invitations at different locations around the metro. Fairly uneventful, but also kind of a nice change of pace from the U.

In a change of direction this week and for the foreseeable future I will helping with the group that hands out free hot chocolate around the Universities "mall." I have been hitting a wall as far as it goes with the photography thing so I am going to be going this direction until God opens the doors to go another way. The group I was with set up by one of the main bus stations. It was the first time over there and we didn't set up in the best spot, but still got to hand out quite a few cups of cocoa.

So I kind of free lanced around the campus again, staying within the vicinity of the group but branching out and go all over that part. I spent most of the evening snapping shots as I strolled around, kinda with the hope that I would run into somebody with the same interest to strike up a conversation with.  After a little while I went back to where most of the group was stationed. On my way over to them I saw a guy standing a little distance off just looking at the group. I went over to talk to him and tried to encourage him to get some hot chocolate but he just wanted to listen to a couple of the guys play their djembes. I told him that we will be there every week when ever he wants to get some drink or just listen. At best it's a small crack in a door but God has worked with much less so that is good going on!

I decided to get out this week. I brought my camera and just walked around the mall praying and doing what I could to photography the goings on. It was a dark, rainy evening so I didn't have very much luck with the photos but I was just listening to the Spirit.
Before heading back to the church we met a guy from China who had just gotten to the states a few weeks ago. The little bit that we talked to him, he was interested in what was said, so that is a very neat door that God is opening into a life and group.

So yeah I haven't posted about the last two I will be brief
I interceded again this week. I was very distracted during most of the time, I really got the sense that God didn't want me to get settled in it and miss out on the greater things that He has for me with the Photography ministry

So I didn't go to the U tonight, the main reason being that I had to go make a little bit of money in Plymouth. But it ended up being very sweet. On the way back to BCOM I got a text from one of my buddies about going to watch the Vikes game. I have been bringing the sports fast to a close and thought that this would be an ok thing to do. So by way of a divergence that I will tie back in, I did the sports fast to bring into correct alignment sports with my relationship with Christ. I went cold turkey for about a month and am still very much keeping myself accountable to the use of my time. So I went to Applebees with this guy to watch the game. We got there a little after it had started because of the game had a delayed started. After a little while I went to the bathroom, nothing out of the ordinary but the guy in the urinal next to me started chatting me up. He was saying some weird stuff so I thought he was maybe a little sauced. I walked away but his timing was the same as mine. He asked me a couple questions and it came around that I go to Bethany. Well it turns out that this guy came back to Christ through the leaders at the church. He told some details of his life and I felt the need to pray for the guy. I was still in the bathroom at this point, I don't know what people were thinking that came in and out while I was praying for this guy but it was really good!
So I went back to my table and he came over a couple times through out the evening to talk with me and my buddy. During one of these visits he said he thought we were there for our waiter. That's kind of a random statement, but I was pretty jacked up at this point so before we left I asked the guy if there was anything that we could pray for him for. It turns out that our waiter was a southern AG boy who had just moved to the cities and was sort of in a funk. So I prayed for that and a couple other things that he mentioned. Now some may say that that stuff is just coincidence, I never will! God had that set up from the moment that the idea popped into my head. It was really cool because God still kept me true to my word - making Him priority over sports. So yeah, in summary, listen to the Spirit and sweet stuff happens!!!!

Well things are still getting settled with the photography ministry, but God has definitely been opening those doors! For tonight I just stayed at Sojourn and prayed with a few others. It was really the first time I have done legit intercession but it was super awesome! God was giving us a ton of people and images to pray for and alert the street teams to watch for. It was super great, because when the teams got back so many of the things that they said lined up with exactly what we were praying for. Obviously, there are no coincidences but God just really stepped in and directed our prayers!

Spent the whole evening at Sojourn. Mostly just praying and waiting for direction for myself. The doors definitely seem to be opening for me to get involved with photography based ministry. That was what God spoke to me last week and it is definitely being worked out. I won't know any more details until later this week but I'm super excited right now!

First day of UofM outreach with Chi Alpha. We got a tour around the campus from the campus pastor that is our on campus coordinator. Went back to Sojourn campus church to pray and figure out where we will fit into the work on campus.

So this time around I was part of the group that went downtown for outreach. I wasn't really looking for anything specific this time but instead was intentional in my prayer. As we walked the many blocks of downtown and passed bars of all kinds I had much to intercede for. Occasionally the guy I was with would start talking with some people and I would pray for that person. Or when we would be waiting on a street corner, I would pray for the people waiting too. Near the end of the night it started to rain so we got under a bus stop for a few minutes. After a short time a lady came outside to smoke. She was standing in the rain instead of coming under the shelter, so I invited her to come in. It turned out that she was a flight attendant from Iceland in the cities for the night. Shortly after that her pilots and another flight attendant came out and the opportunity to engage them in conversation was taken. As with the rest of the night I just committed to praying for open hearts and seeds to reach. It is possible for some to say that I wasted an evening, but I know that change will come through God's people uniting in prayer and I was praying into the reality of a place that is so often filled with debauchery.

So same as the first time I really didn't want to go on outreach. I forced myself to go out, to live the convictions that God has branded on my heart, to live out the Bible. This time there was a much larger group of students and we got divided up into different groups. Once again I was feeling like I should look for someone who was having car trouble. I was with one other guy for the first hour of the outreach and we just began to walk the blocks of Uptown, but neither of us were really getting that pull to a place or person. So after a while I just decided to stick by the bus station. After about 15 minutes I went inside. Two guys were sitting in the bus station and almost immediately struck up a conversation with me. They were followers of Jesus, so I didn't have to say much or really work at all. One guy did most of the talking and I just answered him occasionally. They said that they just come and spend time at the bus station because they don't really have anything else to do. And while it wasn't what I was looking for, God manifested to me that I must just be patient and attentive.

I was really nervous about going before committing to going, but amazingly once I got in the vehicle and couldn't go back God's peace swept over me. I am of the opinion that as I trusted Him to take care of me, He did just that...go figure! So we met at the "base camp" and got divided up. I ended up going to Uptown, which is sort of an urban hipster part of town. On the drive to Uptown I got the feeling like I was supposed to go to a coffee shop so as we were driving I was looking for one in the vicinity.
After parking, we walked to the main bus station in the area. Across the street I noticed a tea shop and figured that it would be good enough. (I realize that tea and coffee are very different but the shops atmosphere are similar) So we (myself and the two that I was with) walked over to the tea shop. I pulled my Bible out and started reading over some passages with intermittent prayer. After a few minutes I walked up to the employees and asked them if either would like to pray with us. The lady said that her life was "pretty good", so she needs prayer more but the manager said he would come and pray with us. After a few more minutes he came over and told us a little bit about him. It turned out that he goes to the church that I went to during my first year at AFLBS. So God was being very active on the encouragement front.

So, I have gone out each of the last three fridays with a ministry called Streetlevel. I just thought I would share about a few of the experience that I have had through those three weeks.