Hi! We represent Esperanza Health Center and Grace and Peace Church right around the corner. We are providing free hypertension – I mean high blood pressure – and blood sugar screens in the neighborhood for the next three weeks. Would you like to have your blood pressure checked? Oh, and by the way, did we mention we're from Grace and Peace Church? Do you go to church?

Welcome to day 1 of SMI 2011 walking the streets of Hunting Park. Our mission of the day was to introduce ourselves to the community and get the word out that we're going to be around and would love to serve just about anyone. This afternoon God brought us into a men's barber shop, a bakery owned by Chinese women (where I was able to use my rusty medical Chinese), and a women's intimate apparel store.

The encounter at the women's store was just that – cozy, quiet, and intimate. Our team was able to spread the word about HIV testing as well as perform blood pressure and blood sugar tests on the store owner and her young assistant. They were invited to church on Sunday and we suggested praying together, especially for their families. It sounds simple and straightforward, especially when described retrospectively, but there was something about that prayer that I can't quite put my finger on.

I guess the best I can comprehend it is to say that it felt like the dam that held together my hopes, dreams, prayers, and anticipation from the past several months of preparation sprouted a small leak. Those brief moments of spoken prayer were electrifying because they were the beginnings of the release and realization of a great energy that God has been building in me and in my fellow SMI-ers. Was the moment as special for others as it was for me? Maybe. I haven't actually gotten a chance to ask, but at the very least it is certain that this is real. SMI 2011 has really started. The first questions have been posed, the first fingers pricked, and the first (very real) prayers lifted, asking God for His Peace to be ever stronger here.

Please pray for us, that God would continue to fill the students, faculty, staff, and interpreters with an excitement for His kingdom work at Hunting Park. Please pray for God's continued preparatory work in the community – for open hearts, gracious hands to welcome us into their homes, and for the friends, relatives, and neighbors of those that we will have the privilege of meeting this SMI season. Please pray against the things that we fear: stumbling over our words, scattered thoughts, awkward transitions, focusing on our performance instead of loving on the person in front of us, and misrepresenting Christ, just to name a few. Please pray with me that we would meditate on and lay hold of the spirit God has given us through Christ Jesus our Lord:


Fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7



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