Last week we had a mission trip team here in Atlanta from Bourbonnais, Illinois. The first morning during our devotional, we talked about how God doesn’t call the equipped, but instead he equips the called. This really spoke to me as I thought about relational ministry and how inadequate I feel sometimes at sharing the gospel and love of Christ effectively and gently.
Later that week, we took the group on canteen. This is when we take the Salvation Army’s food truck out into the city to feed the homeless. We use this time not just to hand out meals, but to spend time with people that others just pass by. It is a growing experience for many, as they learn how to step outside of their comfort zone and remember how Jesus went to be with those who were outcasts—those who made others feel uncomfortable because they weren’t accustomed to seeing the conditions of the needy.
Canteen provides an opportunity to teach that we don’t come into the streets looking to judge the decisions or actions of those we are serving. We are only there to spread love, as Jesus did. Only the love and grace of Jesus can compel those who might need a transformation, not our judgment.
Our first stop on canteen last Monday was under the bridge. As our group began to pass out the meals and drinks, people filed passed me. I saw one woman walking past without a drink and called out to her to ask if she would like one. As she stopped and someone handed her a drink, I asked her what her name was. After our exchange of names, she immediately went on to share with me her struggles. Her daughter was pregnant and went to the hospital to have her baby. While in the hospital, the doctors discovered that she had a uterine infection. With tears starting to fill her eyes, the woman told me that her daughter had now been in the hospital for two months and is unable to walk because of her infection. I was so surprised at this woman’s willingness to share with me such a deep source of stress upon asking only her name. But I was thankful for it. God had provided me an opportunity to serve someone’s emotional and spiritual need that day in addition to her physical need. So I offered to pray for her, her daughter, and her new granddaughter. The woman gladly accepted, and we prayed together and hugged.
Later, as we talked at our evening gathering about our experiences at canteen that night, I realized something. I always excluded myself from groups of people who have conversations that are encouraging or spiritual. But I shouldn’t. Many times I had just thought those people were just more gifted in that area. But the truth is, God doesn’t call the equipped, he quips the called. And I experienced that first hand last Monday night. This woman needed someone to listen, and I was that person. I took a small step out in faith by asking a woman her name, and God provided me an opportunity to listen to her struggles and pray with her.
I am so thankful God works through all of us to care for others and further his glory.
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You must have a group size of at least 6 members to join this trip. Please view the Small Team trips or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.
For most trips, you must have a group size of at least 6 members. Please view the Small Teams tab on each Community page or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.