Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Outreaches 2011/2012

It's been a while since I updated this one, but updates won't be too common going forward.
This semester I switched from Saturday night to Thursday nights. I am helping at a church with their youth program. I get to work with inner city boys and it's a very different challenge. The basic format of the evening is leave school at 6:30, arrive at the church around 7:10. They have a church service and at 7:30 the kids are dismissed. So until 8:30 we just spend time with them. Do a short bible story, but they have a lot of energy so basically spend most of the time just building relationships with them. It's not really an outreach that will merit weekly updates, but if there is something neat that happens I will post it.
November 26
Thanksgiving break, no outreach.
November 19
We had a prayer time tonight at the church in place of doing street evangelism. I didn't stay at the church but spent a good chunk of the evening in prayer.
The focus is going to be shifting in the next few weeks. I'm not sure of many details, but basically we will be doing bible studies in various coffee shops around the campus or maybe Dinktytown. Like I said, I don't know much.
November 12
We did cardboard testimonies tonight. It was a pretty effective method. Everybody just made a sign and we went and stood on various street corners around Dinkytown. We were split into groups of two and for my group there was a lot of conversation and varying reactions. That's really all I can say about it.
November 5
I was doing homework and got left behind this time
October 29
I was on the cross walk so I didn't go out on Trinity works this week.
October 22
In some ways this was a disappointing night. There was a lot of spiritual warfare and things just never got on track, so to speak. Many of our normal group was gone on the cross walk so that didn't help either. It was a battle to just to keep from getting discouraged because I really wasn't seeing anything and wasn't able to focus into the Lord which means I didn't really get anything accomplished. Tough times have to come, but they aren't enjoyable and how I respond is the only way that good can come from it in the short term.
October 15
Wow this was a good one! We went through the normal process of prayer room time followed by division into group. Pretty much everybody headed over to the Dinkytown Mcdonalds to do worship on the street. My assigned group was trying to figure out where to go and as we were walking by the McDonalds I the thought to go across the street to the street corner opposite McDonalds.  It was definitely a God inspired thought because when we got over there 2 other groups were already there praying over that corner about the spirit of suicide.
A few weeks ago I had heavily sensed that spirit over the corner and I wasn't the only one. Well, that was what made me think to go over there and pray that night. It was the first in a line of cool happenings!
After praying for a while we all went over to the opposite corner to do some more praying. While there a couple members of our group were having a conversation with a homeless woman who was not dressed for the weather. Each of them gave her some articles of clothing to keep warm. It was definitely a lived gospel sight!
Well after a bit of time of praying on the second street corner I went over to the Erbert and Gerbert's to see if anyone there needed prayer. There were only two employees and the first guy didn't want prayer at all but his coworker was very receptive. After praying over her requests and into a few other things that the Spirit prompted I went back to the street corner.
Once I got over there I saw some police with their lights flashing down the street and wanted to know what was going on. As I started walking one of the freshman girls asked if she could come with me. I didn't have a plan but I said yes. She later told me that the Lord told her to come with me.
Well I walked down the block but couldn't figure out what was going on with the police. Well we crossed the street and continued down another block. At the end of that block I had no more direction so I listened for the Lord and He said go right until I see the first people waiting outside. Well I did as I was told, but wasn't exactly happy with what I saw. The first people that I saw were three big guys and one very pretty woman. I got freaked for a second and passed em by but then took courage and started talking to them.
To say it was awkward would be an understatement. I am not extremely gifted in starting conversations but this one was super difficult. I cut it short by asking if I could pray for them, there was one specific request between the four of them, so I prayed about it and a few other things. My prayer was very choppy and yeah I was nervous, but rest in the fact that I was following the Lord's command and that any seed that is sown for Him can grow and reach maturity.
From there we walked around the block and back by where the cop had been. On the way we ran into a group from YWAM who were also doing street worship and handing out hot chocolate. We talked to them for a little bit and then continued on.
One of the main signs for me as I do these prayer walks is street signs. If I get a direction I will follow it for as long as the signs indicate to me to stay that way. The best example of it came later in the night and I will detail it as the example.
We we kept straight on the road we were on for another block and a half. Half way down the second block a guy came out of nowhere and was right behind us. I thought it was too random to not somehow be orchestrated from God, but didn't know how to proceed with it right away.
He passed us by the end of that block and crossed the street the same way as us. I felt like I was supposed to follow him but didn't immediately do it. He cut into a park and we kept along the road. Every time I would look to my right into the park I would see him and after a few minutes I decided that I needed to catch up with him.
Well, he had a big lead on us so I started run to catch up with him. We reached the end of that block and went right immediately. After running for a little bit I was trying to figure out where he had gone. I caught a glimpse of him right before he turned a corner and so we continued to follow/catch up with him. I finally got close and called out to him. While we were running I was trying to figure out what I should say and all that I had was that God loves you and is pursuing you.
Well his name is arnie. He is a Deist with a Buddhist lean. He didn't have much time and was very intellectual so I didn't start discussing with him but said that I would pray for him. I am bad names but haven't had much trouble remembering his, which is evidence to me that it was a God ordained pursuit. I had never chased anyone down before but it really made me see how it is for God, in His pursuit of us, though His is much more fervent and persistent than mine was that night.
After he walked away we sat on the street corner for a bit. I was just trying to figure out what was next and prayed for people as they passed. I felt a tad awkward because I wasn't solo and felt obligated to do something because she had come with. Even for that, I wasn't going to operate in my flesh so I waited on the grass til I had an idea about where to go.
After about 10 minutes we returned to the main road and started walking in the direction of TCF. This is where my prayer walk method got hairy. I walked until I hit a do not cross light, but we never hit one. Every time we got close it would turn to a crosswalk light. We walked for between 10 - 15 blocks and got pretty far from the campus. There was one point when I wanted to stop going by the sidewalk and right at the point there was place with 5 do not enter signs and 4 more signs which made it clear to me that I shouldn't go that way.
Well we eventually hit a do not cross light and cross the street because that was the sign that showed up. It was kind of funny because while we were crossing the street there was a bench with a Christian organization on it and it was a little bit of God's humor I think.
We went down that block and went right. It was very odd because just one block over the temperature was 15 - 20 degrees colder. I still think that it was spiritually significant, but I don't know how. We walked that street as long as we could then headed back to the main road again and ended up back at the church.
God didn't give me any indication about why I took that trek, but it was at least to prove my obedience to him.  So yeah, it was an interesting one.
October 8
This was an interesting one because no one went. Trinity works was having a sabbath week so they wanted us to go to campus and spend the evening in their prayer room. Besides that, all the ladies were on their retreat so no one was too enthusiastic about going out and we didn't. Next week it should get buckled down for the rest of the year.
October 1, 2011
This one may rank at the top of my list of good weekly outreaches. Because many of my classmates were gone for the weekend to a wedding in Michigan our group was pretty small. We got to the church and spent about an hour in the prayer room. We were mainly just waiting for some of the trinity works people to show up but at about 7:15 we went downstairs and were going to go out on our own. Well God didn't have that in mind because a few of their people came down the stairs as we were figuring out groups.
After another time of prayer we went out. I was with one of the outreach coordinators from school and two freshman girls. Myself and Colby, the oc, wanted to head to the mall so we walked over there. It was a slow start, just trying to figure out what God wanted to do but He kept telling me that He had something good in store and to keep walking so yeah I just kept going.
After walking around near the union for about 15 minutes we started heading down the street toward some restaurants. Directly in front of us, as we made our way past the construction, was a coffee shop. I didn't have a super strong sense that I should go in there, but I made the choice to see what would happen.
Well, when I went in a guy who was getting coffee was starring at me. Kind of awkward, but I figured that if he sat down I would strike up a conversation with him, he didn't. But instead of getting discouraged about it, I looked for another opportunity to make an impact. I stepped up to the counter and ordered a hot chocolate. Also noticed the tip jar, it had a sign saying that it was the guys last day and that he was moving to California to be a teacher. Well I felt the nudge to give a good tip to the guy so I did. I made a little bit of conversation with him, but there were other people waiting to order so I couldn't say much.
I sat down and looked for an opportunity to talk to him more. Well no one was in line and he was just doing some cleaning so I stepped up to where he was and asked him if I could pray for him. Based on a little of what he had said before I was thinking he was a nominal Christian at best, but he allowed me to pray for him. I didn't say anything to earth shattering and the Spirit didn't flow like He some times does, but the guy looked and sounded different after I finished the prayer. It's a seed and that's all we are called to do sometimes.
I thought about staying there for a bit, but thought I should catch up with the rest of my group. When I finally caught up with them, Colby was talking to a couple guys. He said he shared the gospel and that one of them had never heard anything of the gospel. After a few more minutes he prayed over them and we went on our way.
We crossed the street to start slowly heading back to the church. Well after about a half a block I saw a few guys sitting outside on their smoke break. I wasn't going to go up to them, but I got the nudge so I stepped up.
It was an awkward conversation, to put it lightly, but I tried to engage them a little bit. Well, after a few minutes I excused myself but asked them if I could pray for them before I left. Again, it was kind of a basic prayer but the Spirit did prompt a couple things to me besides what they asked for. Two of the three guys kept smoking while I was praying but the other guy hadn't taken a drag while I was praying. It was a small encouragement, but showed me the impact of a prayer.
From there we headed to the main road. We were walking when a large group passed us so we turned around and started following them. Colby tried talking to one guy but it was largely ineffective. While we were at the street corner the girls started a conversation with a girl who was waiting at the bus stop.
They talked to her for a solid 15 minutes and did what they could to share the gospel. This girl had never heard anything of the truth of the Bible, but they said what they could and gave her a new testament.
As we were wrapping up the evening Colby tried to start a conversation with a few frat guys but they all shut him down. So yeah, it didn't technically end on a high note, but it was a super encouraging night and with all the prayer hopefully seeds landed on fertile soil.
When we got back to the church I got the opportunity to talk to one of the older women about Chi Alpha back at NDSU. It was a cool bit of frosting on a very good night of cake.

Personal Note - When two college students who have grown up in America have never heard the gospel we have a problem. There are many reasons that could be identified as to why American's don't share what they hold as truth but so much of it has to do with just not caring. We can make excuses for ourselves and others but honestly most people just don't care to do it.
We are judged by our fruit and a large portion of that fruit is people. Well most people have no fruit. Can we have a fruitless life and claim to have a relationship with Jesus? The Bible would say no, but since most people don't read it they wouldn't know that.
We need to wake up. Stop making excuses and do it.
September 24, 2011
I took the night off
September 17, 2011
This one was quite a bit different then last week. Trinity works had a revival conference all week so they gave their people the day off. Instead of making teams of just students Bryce had us do a sort of church on one of the street corners in Dinkytown. I wasn't super comfortable with it, but I think that is mostly because of my view of what church is and not because of anything that was actually happening.
Before we departed for the university we had an hour long time of prayer and praise in the courtyard at school. I got the sense like I was supposed to go to one of the restaurants in the area. So once we had gotten to the street corner where we were having the evenings time I ventured over to the restaurant and camped out there for a little while. I was conflicted about it because it just felt odd to me but once I committed to it, I was ok (it took a couple times of walking there and back before I got over it). I ordered some food and started reading my Bible. After a minute a couple guys sat down at the table next to mine. One of them went to the bathroom and the other asked what I was reading. That's a pretty easy opening and I tried to not waste it while also being honest. We talked for a few minutes but then they moved to a table closer to the tvs to watch the games that were on. I finished my food and went up to them to see if I could pray for them. Neither of them minded so I did. They had a couple super generic requests which I covered but it was just another practice in listening to the Spirit as I pray to know what to say and how to say it.
After that I decided to head back to the group. I thought about hanging around at the restaurant for a while longer but felt like I should head back so that's what I did. From my end of things that was really the end of my night. We were on the street corner until after 11 but nothing else really happened. Just singing to Christ and praying. Not to minimize that stuff because I love it, but it was fairly uneventful.

September 10, 2011
So this was the first outreach of the year for me. I will be going out with a Ministry called Trinity works. The main purpose of the outreaches is street evangelism. We were on the campus of the University of Minnesota for the evening, and it seems like that will be where we are each weekend. The evangelism style that they work with is either through a verbal presentation of the Gospel or through prayer and a manifestation of the Spirit which would usually be followed with a verbal presentation.
This week I was paired with one girl from BCOM and one of guys with Trinity Works. I wasn't super excited about it, but just figured that God wanted to stretch me out a little bit through the pairing.
We started walking toward Dinkytown but made a quick stop in front of one of the frat houses where a party was going on. We prayed over it for a few minutes then went along to Dinkytown. After walking around for 15 - 20 minutes we ended up at a Jimmy John's. The other two felt like they were supposed to stay there for a while and pray with and for the employees. I didn't feel the same way so after praying with them for a while I started walking the streets and just praying over and for the people and things I was seeing.
After about a half hour I went back and met up with the others, the two from my group and another group of three that was with us. We went to McDonalds where one of the girls from the other group prayed over one of the employees to have his ankle healed. After a few minutes she asked him how it felt and he said it felt better. She wasn't sure if he was telling the truth because of his reaction, but he did say that it was better, so that's pretty tight!
The six of us then proceeded to sit at one of the booths and just pray for a little bit. The leader of the other group, Reggie, asked the girl in my group to pray for the evening. Once she was done he looked right at me and asked me if I had anything to add. Well I was a little flustered because I didn't expect the question, but got into my prayer zone quickly. After I wrapped up my prayer Reggie asked me if I was an intercessor. I told him I was but didn't think too much of the question.
After coming out of McDonalds Reggie started talking to a couple guys on the street. It turned out to be Marqueis Gray, the UofM's starting quarterback, and his dad, so that was pretty solid. We ended up praying over them for this season and that God's will would be done through his talent on the field.
After that we went back to the church where we started out. There was a testimony time about some of the things that happened on the evening and it was really good to here how God decided to jump start our year of outreaches. Before any of the testimonies though, Reggie leaned over to Bryce (my mentor from last year who is on staff with Trinity works and is sort the night leader) and told him that I should close out the evening with a prayer. I was shocked by it, but was glad that I had time to listen to God about what I should pray and then after the testimonies were shared I went into it. Prayer is an honor and I cherish it every time that I get to do it, though I still don't enjoy being at the center of it because it can bring too much attention to myself.
So yeah, that was the first of the year and really has me ready to see how the rest of the year goes!