|My morning team out in front of the YWAM base camp|
We went on a scavenger hunt. The point was to be on the streets interacting with and praying for people while making our way to some sights of the city using clues given to us. Our team stopped at a Japanese Peace Plaza and prayed for peace in the middle east, in the places with active wars, in families, and in the Tenderloin neighborhood where we are staying. Justin said of his prayer, "I don't know where those words came from." His prayer was a fervent appeal to God to intervene in places with conflict. So cool. We also went to the Fillmore Heritage Center where we prayed for St. Andrews church member John Corl who we heard while there was in that very moment undergoing open-heart surgery. It was great to share with them later the news that he came through the four-hour surgery well. While we prayed a woman whose store we prayed in front of came out and said, "I hope you were praying for me." We told her we would love to pray for her, gathered around her, and prayed for her and her family. The scavenger hunt ended with us going to the location of the home in which a TV family - the Tanners from the show Full House - was filmed, including the Alamo Park across the street.
When we came back, we had an orientation to the community luncheon we were about to have. Unlike other food programs which concentrate on feeding the homeless guests and "get them in and out as quickly as possible," this lunch was much more relational and spiritual. Two people on the teams sat at each table. Two waiters waited on the guests. Other teams poured water or tea, worked in the kitchen, welcomed them into the luncheon, and cleaned up after. Almost everyone here went out for about 35 minutes ahead of time to invite the homeless in the neighborhood. About 100 showed up. I was a waiter at a table at which we had 3-4 guests, each of which we got to know a little. One man, Patrick, was bright, articulate, personable, knowledgable, and had a great sense of humor. We don't know how or why he is homeless, but we did learn about this life and his family. Nicky Clark prayed for him before lunch was over. It was great.
After lunch, we cleaned up, went to small group time to process our lunch outreach, then began a time of worship. During worship, we were given the Old Testament story of Joseph, divided into groups, and told to act out the stories. Let's just say that when you get a group of youth to act out a biblical story with 15 minutes preparation, entertainment is sure to follow. Our part of the story was when Rueben defended Joseph. Rueben was played by a guy named Dan from San Jose who played Rueben with an Asian accent. None of us will look at the role of Potiphar's wife the same again after one of the youth guys from Texas played the part convincingly. In the end, however, the story of God's care and control in the story of Joseph and the story of God using difficult circumstances to work out good came through loud and clear. It was an important teaching moment.
Dinner tonight was out. We went to an Indian cuisine restaurant called Chutney near where we are staying. We had naan bread, curried rice with lamb, a chicken dish with a cream sauce, an eggplant dish, and another potato dish. It was all delicious and for many students it was their first time with Indian food. This area is a melting pot of international persons and restaurants.
The final part of today was a hot chocolate outreach. This base camp here in this Tenderloin district has been doing hot chocolate outreach each week since the 1980s. The homeless know that a good, warm cup of hot chocolate and a friendly face is available once a week here. It was another of an increasing number of times to get to meet and interact with people who happen to be homeless. Whether they accepted the hot chocolate or not, the homeless welcomed and were grateful for the act of kindness shown to them. Many opened up to us about their lives and their needs. We prayed with many of the people. Seeing 12 year-olds MacKenzie and Lyric alongside of 17 year-old Charlene and 19 year-old Justin smiling and encouraging and praying for the people on the streets was powerful. These students are learning to look past the labels and see and seek to bless people. Fellow humans. Children of God. It is beautiful.
The leaders talked tonight and we are beginning to see spiritual movement on our team. Some more than others, but God is opening eyes and hearts. That is a fire within that we pray the Holy Spirit will turn into a blazing fire.
Time to rest...