Monday, October 31, 2011

The Block


A local church invited several of us to join them for a special Sunday effort to reach out to the community. I ended up with a gentleman named Paul going door to door in the heart of town. Old row houses and a few shops dotted the street. It is a run-down block. 

Our mission: to ask people if they needed prayer and to offer them a New Testament or a Nuevo Testamento  if they desired it.

Paul and I began our task.

First we met a girl in a uniform that stood in front of a fast food restaurant, waiting for someone with the key. Polite, but not interested. “Talk to my boyfriend around the corner.”

Next we met Willy. Standing down in a stairwell, his eye level matched our shoe level on the sidewalk. “Do you need prayer?”
“Yes, I need a new apartment. I’ve been a chronic alcoholic for 35 years. My apartment is across the street from a bar. I need a safer place to live.” So we asked the Lord for an apartment. Paul encourages Willy.

The next few houses, no response. No one home. 

A man and a boy on the street pass us, “I’m in a hurry!”
“Any prayer requests?”
 “For a new life,” calls the man over his shoulder. Then they’re gone.

Jose is next up, a polite young black man. “Pray for my job as a barber, that I’ll make some money today.” We do so. He accepts a New Testament.

A weather beaten old lady with a sickly yellow complexion walks by, “Can either of you spare a cigarette?”
“No, we don’t smoke.” She bundles off toward the corner store. “I’m not interested,” she sputters.

Next up is a small 4 unit apartment. A Latino man answers the door. “We’re Christians from a local church, can we pray for you in any way?”
“No.”
“Would you like a New Testament?” As the words leave my mouth I notice his wife behind him, she is wearing a burka. They are Muslims, I realize.
“No,” he replies, “but good luck and best wishes to you.”
“Where are you from?” I ask.
“No,” he patiently replies.
I feel disappointed that I didn’t recognize who I was talking to.  What could have been done differently? I notice their names on the mailbox, Atmanne and Houri.

More knocks. No one home. A Catholic lady, not interested. An old woman. No. A Latino man (or another Muslim?) … cordial, but not interested. A condemned building. Three youths who already have "lots of Bibles" and want us to pray for the economy.

Another door. The lady with the yellow complexion answers. “Yes, come into my living room.” (Now she is interested, but on the street she wasn’t Paul notes) The room wreaks of smoke. Her name is Pearl. We pray for her son who is in prison for child pornography.
She reads us a letter from her son in prison.
She shows me pictures of herself as a 15 year old girl with her step-father, and as a 10 year old. Same face. But so different. So sweet and hopeful in the pictures. Haggard and yellow now. What happened?

Brian greets us as we approach the church. On his way home from a service, carrying a Bible. His face is glowing. He’s smiling. Brian had completed rehab. He tells of how the Lord has changed him. So grateful. We pray. We hug.

The Bible says Jesus went about praying for the sick and telling the Good News of the Kingdom.

Quotes of Note ... The Invisible World

“Spiritual warfare is learning to recognize the strategies, refusing to cooperate with them, and aggressively cutting off the schemes of the devil in Jesus’ name.” Dean Sherman

“those who protest that God cannot exist because there is too much evil evident in life… Evil exists; therefore, the Creator does not. That is categorically stated… If evil exists, one must assume that good exists in order to know the difference. If good exists, one must assume that a moral law exists by which to measure good and evil. But if a moral law exists, must not one posit an ultimate source of moral law, or at least an objective basis for a moral law? By an objective basis, I mean something that is transcendingly true at all times, regardless of whether I believed it or not.” Ravi Zacharias

“But the Devil is no big threat to God’s purposes; he is not even remotely comparable in power. He has been given a limited time before his final judgment to try to prove his case, just as all other moral beings who have chosen to live in rebellion against heaven.” W.A. Pratney

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I've served as a life-long missionary in Samoa, the Pacific region, India, and now in Pennsylvania. The Christian faith is reasonable and works in real life. It is true to the facts. Hope you enjoy some of the thoughts. I appreciate feedback.

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