What a week! Today was a very powerful experience for all of us on the team. God made himself very present as we walked the streets praying. We divided into two teams in order to cover more territory. God met each team right where they were at just the right time. This is a long post but well worth reading.
I started my day with group 2. They got off to a great start so I decided I would head over and see how group 1 was doing. They had encountered some opposition from the people passing by. Some even made some rude comments. They were discouraged and drained. I tried to give them a good pep talk but it was evident it did very little to their spirits. So I hung back from the group and prayed for them.
Less than a block later, the group met Vincent, a culinary student hoping to be a world famous chef. He noticed they were praying and asked if he could join. The team said sure and the next thing they new is was walking with them praying. A few yards later the group was passed by two women. They turned around and asked what church we were from. After answering a couple questions one of them rounded up everyone in a circle and prayed for them. Then they turned and left.
Everyone figured Vincent would return back to whatever he was doing at this point but he didn't. He walked side by side with our students praying for them, Chicago, people passing by and all sorts of things. As our students were praying he would take the lunches we prepared and distribute them to people. I watched and thought, "That is just like God." Here are group was tired and God provides someone to share the burden. God brought the group Vincent to encourage them. And Vincent stayed with them for quite awhile.
Seeing the group moving along strong I felt the need to check in and see how group 2 was. They were a few blocks away so I decided to join them. We didn't walk far until we saw a man who said, "Here come the saints!" Didn't expect that one. He was a simple man just chilling on a fire hydrant. He wasn't asking for anything, just waiting for us to come. He even told us he had been waiting. I didn't catch this first part of the conversation because I was standing further back hoping to snap a few pictures and just watch the group pray with him. I was not expecting what happened next.
His name was Minister Sam. He noticed me and called me over saying he could tell I was the leader. He then started telling me all sorts of things about me and how I lead the team. He shared very encouraging words and I just kind of let it go. Then he looked at Seth and started describing personality and some of the giftings God has given him. All of which were similar to a conversation we had earlier in the week. Now I'm praying for discernment about what exactly is going on here. Then he went to the next person.
Sam continued around the circle sharing things about each group member and revealing different abilities and strength each person has, telling each person different things God is doing in their lives. At this point I just told God I would finally shut up and quit being so cynical. Every thing he shared was directly in line with Scripture. His describtions of people were very accurate. His words had power and were incredibly encouraging. Eventually he finished and said he needed to sent us on to finish our work. We prayed with him and walked away completely in shock of what we just experienced.
As one big team we talked a lot about both encounters and how powerful the prescence of God felt in each one. A beautiful picture of God's Spirit helping us carry out our call through Vincent. The beautiful sound of God's Spirit speaking truth into our lives through Sam. I'm still trying to wrap my limited mind around the whole expereince.
Praise God for his abundant faithfullness on this trip! He has provided and met us. We are changed and are prepared to tell our stories. So parents, friends and anyone else be ready to listen. After we catch up on some sleep we've got some God stories to share with you!