Yesterday a Motor home pulled into the parking lot of the church. This is not particularly unusual since we have a big parking lot and lots of people use it to turn around or temporarily park. What was different about this was the lady which saw me in the parking lot and headed toward me; she asked me if they could park there for a bit while waiting for her Mom. People don’t usually ask and many leave behind trash and broken glass which is an issue. This was a refreshing encounter and of course I said sur. Before I could say anything else she burst into tears and ask me to pray for her. They bought the motor home three months ago which was a step up from being in the streets but didn’t have a place to park. There are many street people here, people who live in cars and some in motor homes and so finding a place to plug in is a problem if you can’t afford the RV Parks. I was able to pray with her and speak into her life about Abba and His provision. She ask what kind of church we were and I replied A/G and her eyes lit up and she said she had been raised A/G. Go figure, what are the odds? Actually the odds are a hundred per cent that she would choose our parking lot to pull into when you put Abba’s plan in the mix. I shared with her that if they came Sunday the guys might know of places to park and jobs that were available explaining to her that we have not been here long enough to know the area well. Justina seemed excited about attending Sunday and I hope that she and her husband do come. I did offer food if they needed it from the pantry which she declined. Mostly however I offered an ear to someone who is struggling, encouragement that Abba does have a plan and can lead them to that place where they need to be, and hugs. Of course I also offered a safe haven for a few hours where they would not be rousted out to move on down the road by the police. I suppose what also made this encounter amazing is that she never asked for money or anything other than needing a place to park for a bit. It is a bitter sweet reminder that all people’s stories are different, that we don’t need to categorized people and their problems or needs. I often think of the encounter Yeshua had with the blind man who had been jockeying for His attention. Yeshua stopped and didn’t just offer to pray for him but ask him what he needed/wanted. Yeshua didn’t assume that he would want to be healed from blindness though that would seem an obvious given. No, Yeshua gave him the opportunity to choose. One thing I have learned dealing with street people of all sorts, different backgrounds, races, ages… is they are individuals who see life in different ways and thus have different wants, needs and concerns. It is imperative that we approach everyone with an open attitude, open heart, open hands and with ears that will be attuned to really listen without prejudgment. Don’t be quick to offer what is not needed in order to deal with a situation quickly. All people need to be treated with dignity and respect at least allow them to ask before assuming. Yeshua said Abba knows what we need before we ask but to ask. Apparently the gift of asking is important. Abba may we have grace to stop and really listen to one another, may we quit offering quick fixes, help us to be prepared for every opportunity to show grace and be gracious. The disciples asked Yeshua to teach them to pray, I am asking Him to teach me to listen, really listen.
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