I feel like many people have a heart for missions, and for some reason it seems easier to travel many hours to a foreign land where people don’t speak my language and to tell them about Jesus, rather than walking the streets of my city and doing it. Maybe you can relate. My family had the opportunity this summer to participate in Family Mission Adventures through YWAM Idaho (Youth with a Mission). It was a week long: 4 days of training in Bemidji at Bethany Bible Camp, and 2 days of street ministry in Duluth, staying at the Encounter.
Greg and I feel we both have a heart for missions, and were excited about the training, but nervous about the street ministry. Matthew 28:9 -we knew we were called as followers to go, so in obedience we went, and took Emily (16) and Natalie (13) with us.
I think the most valuable things I learned in training were 1. I need to pray boldly, 2. I need to FULLY trust and be confident that God will show up in some way, and 3. God can and will use all of us in unique, amazing, and miraculous ways.
All of us have stories of how God grew and shaped us, humbled us and wowed us, and furthered His kingdom in the streets of Duluth. I encourage you to ask Greg, Emily, or Natalie if you would like to hear their specific stories of how God moved in them and in our city. I will share with you one of my stories.
On our final morning, July 3rd, we were given the missional task of writing a family letter. The idea was that as a family we were supposed to ask God to lead us in what to write on a card, and then have him lead us in who to give it to. So, with it being the last day, I was emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted which makes for a not so pleasant Julie. But, I tried my best, praying and writing things down as I felt lead. The rest of my family did the same, but it took us a long time as none of our moods were at 100%. Then, the name Donna came to my mind. I mentioned this to my family, but none of us knew a Donna (except Emily’s science teacher last year). So, after finally completing our card, we had about 45 minutes until we were supposed to be back for lunch. To be honest, I knew in my head that God could bring us Donna, but I was more internally focused on how tired I was and how ready I was to go home. I had doubts of what God was going to do with just 45 minutes. Thankfully, God had plans and He forgave me for my lack of faith. Also, my family fully believed we needed to find Donna, and I’m so grateful to God for their faith when mine was weak.
We asked countless woman if they were Donna -no luck. We decided to stop and pray for direction. Greg lead us to the CHUM shelter where we saw a woman sitting next to a man we had met the day before. I approached the woman and asked her if her name was Donna. She looked at me and said, “No, that was my sisters name, how did you know her?” Wow! God is so good -how could I not trust and believe He would show up? I was in awe. I explained to her that I did not know her sister and told her about what we were doing and how God gave me the name Donna. This woman’s name was Edna and her sister Donna had recently died from LOPD. Edna is maybe in her 50s and homeless. We gave her our letter and prayed with her. We gave her our phone numbers in case she needed anything, or so she could let us know to pick her up so we could have her over for dinner. Please pray for Edna and that God would continue to pursue her. Pray that she would love and follow Him, be comforted while mourning the loss of her sister, be safe and find a home, and that she would call us.
I walked away from that wrecked. How could I have had such little faith? I am so grateful God showed up anyway and did His thing. I am humbled that God used me, and grateful that my family had the faith to believe that God was using me. I pray that my faith only continues to grow in knowing that God is so huge and He can do all things. I pray that awe and a childlike faith continues to grow in me, my family, and you. I pray we continue to try (with Gods sweet grace) to be obedient in His call to go.