Local outreach is something I look forward to every single week. We were provided two options for ministry, and I chose homeless ministry with Rising Hope in Bellingham, WA. Through working with Rising Hope I’ve gained three important things:
- A Heart For the Homeless
Walking down the city streets in Minneapolis, MN, I never stepped out to help the homeless community. It is hard for me to understand looking back, how my heart didn’t break when I saw the poor, needy, lost people. After walking the streets of Bellingham, ministering to the homeless people, my heart has changed. I will never be able to walk past lost people the same way I once did, taking little to no notice of them. When sitting on the ground next to a man on the streets, I know I am exactly where God wants me to be, as they speak about their life. Homeless and street ministry is now something that I will never stop being a part of.
- Boldness to Witness
Every week, as our group went out to witness, I hoped for more opportunity to talk with and pray with the people on the street. Finally after several weeks, I had the breakthrough I was looking for. Two other people from our team and I ran into a man we had seen the week before. Some of us ended separating from the rest of the group, and while in the smaller group, I was able to step out in boldness in the way God had challenged me. That night I had the opportunity to pray with and speak to a few different people. With one of the guys we spoke to, I got to look right in his eyes and tell him how much God loved him. Seeing his eyes well up and come to a brief moment of sobriety was beautiful. From that week on, we have gone out in groups of two to minister, and each week I see God continue to challenge and push me further.
- Dependence on The Holy Spirit
Relying on the Holy Spirit is something that I have been working on. It is easy to go to a place of self reliance when a fear of man kicks in. On the streets it is so real and such a challenge to step out in faith when the Lord speaks a word to me. But through my time here, I have learned to make my relationship with God more sincere, and am more afraid of missing what God wants to do than judgement from a man.
All said, local outreach is a highlight every week. We see so many people on the street we have already built relationships with at this point; it makes me sad to be leaving soon. This is something that will follow me through the rest of my life. It is an exciting thought to know I can continue doing this type of ministry when I go back home.
Written by Josh Gustafson