I, perhaps like most of the students, began our outreach into the community with excitement and trepidation, hopefulness and uneasiness. It was discouraging to arrive at homes to only find our team loitering in front of a stranger’s home. But when we did reach a home that answered, it was refreshing because we got out of the heat… and got to perform a health and spiritual screen. Praise God!
Now just when we were about to head into a particular home on one side of the street, I saw from the corner of my eye a woman waving at me to come to her home on the other side. At first I didn’t understand her gesture, but when I did I was simply surprised somebody even wanted us to come into their home to do the screen without us having to go there to give our spiel. We entered her house instead. I was flabbergasted by the hospitality and trust they had toward us, but I suppose wearing oversized scrubs and a stethoscope helped! (God even uses these fashion-abominations for His glory!…Ahhhhmazing!)
As my teammate and I walked into the home, I took a quick scan of the home. There were also two children inside. I noted that the kitchen had no ceiling or flooring and that the living room had no furniture and was in serious need of a new floor. My clean-freak lady-brain was noting several unsanitary health concerns. But, I remained focused on the woman that wanted the health screen. Our faculty teammate played with the children as my partner and I provided the screen. She was a healthy young woman who was perhaps the first person I encountered in the neighborhoods who was interested in getting healthy. She was an amicable and cheerful young woman and was enjoying our company at her home.
When we began to talk about her social and spiritual life, she suddenly began to break down in tears. I had no idea what she was upset about. I drew closer to her by sitting on her coffee table, which was extremely uncomfortable indeed. So, as she began to speak, she shared about the brokenness in her life: the father of her baby ran away, her current boyfriend was still helping out his ex-girlfriend, her house was in need of care, she was looking for a job, and nobody in her circle cared about her. It was one struggle after the next. I was lost for words. What do you say to encourage this person who is trying to make a better life for herself and her children, who wants to them to be a family again? What do you say? I prayed in my heart for grace, wisdom, and the Holy Spirit to speak. I realized that I can’t even pretend that I understand her suffering. Yet I knew that our Father in Heaven does know our deep pain intimately AND He cares for us! Praise Him!
We asked if we could pray for her and her family, and as I did, I realized that I did not know how I even ought to pray after hearing her struggles. We may not have all the answers, but we implore with our Father who knows all things, sees all things and is sovereign over all things. I strongly suggested that she get connected with church to have a community around her that loves and cares for her. She agreed it would be a good idea and I prayed in my heart that the Holy Spirit would lead her to one.
One week went by and my team was back in the same area for outreach. I had forgotten her address but was thinking of her and her family. As I was going into a home, I spotted her out of the corner of my eye. I was so ecstatic to see her. I ran over and she gave me a big hug! I asked for a quick update as I had a home to go into and she seemed like she was doing very well. I told her that I was praying for her and would continue to do so. When the third week had come, I was about to drive off to outreach when my partner and I spotted her here at Urban Hope Church. I jumped out of my car and with indescribable elation, I hugged her and told her that she has blessed my heart and that I was so glad she is taking her daughter to VBS. I told her to get connected with Urban Hope so that she has a community that loves and cares for her. I told her I was leaving in a couple of days and implored that she really get connected with Urban Hope. She began to cry, saying that we were her only friends, which I believed to be true. I gave her my number and we prayed together.
When we see hopelessness all around, it can paralyze us—perhaps as it ought to, because we can’t redeem lives. We DO NEED a Saviour. It is in our darkest moments, in our brokenness, in all our hopelessness that we realize we need a Saviour. And He becomes our hope for all eternity. He gives us our strength to live. He gives us life. Jesus is life to the hopeless and broken.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Jasmin Abraham. © 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org