Frank walked up, a homeless man, 49 years old, with grey whiskers intermittently longer and shorter across the span of his face. There was whiskey on his breath, and he rolled along all that he owned in a suitcase. Our group was talking about the ways in which we envisioned restoration in downtown San Diego when Frank requested prayer for his family back in New Jersey. I pulled Frank aside and prayed with him as the group continued to talk. Afterward, Vince asked if Frank needed anything, to which he responded, “Yeah, there is one thing.”
Immediately, I thought, “Oh great, another homeless person asking for money,” but what Frank asked was quite different. “At one time I was saved,” he said, “but I fell away. I want to know if I am saved now even if I fall back into the things I am doing.”
What followed was amazing. Vince and Alex and myself talked to Frank about Jesus. We talked about the nature of salvation, the beauty of Grace, and the power of God to change Frank’s life even now. With tears in his eyes, like a man who’s been given a second chance, he asked for prayer. We prayed for Frank, then led Frank in prayer, and then prayed once again for the Holy Spirit to absolutely and completely fill him. We also wished him a happy 50th birthday tomorrow, and asked him what he’s doing to get off the streets. He said he was going to San Diego Rescue Mission tomorrow to see if he could find aid. We promised to call our contact with that ministry to ask if they would make room for Frank and SDRM.
It was such a powerful moment, and it was such a vivid reminder of God’s Grace, even in mission. Here I was overwhelmed with how the message would reach those around me, and God reminds me that the mission is right in front of my face… and even more, the mission came to me. I was on God’s mission, but God’s mission was way bigger than I could manipulate or control or manufacture. He will always accomplish his purposes, and it is such a blessing to be a part of what he’s doing in San Diego and in the world.
The mission of God: God’s burden, our blessing.