Our team partners with some local churches who provide a free community dinner in a downtown recreation centre. To share the love of Jesus in practical ways, we offer free men’s haircuts, manicures for the ladies, and conversation and prayer for anyone who desires it. We always pray that our guests will experience God’s love while there, and for opportunities to speak to people about Jesus too.
God is reminding us that sometimes you need to listen for a long while before someone is ready to listen to you. A volunteer who does hand care for the ladies reports: “We have our regular ‘clients’ coming for manicures and the conversations are getting deeper each time. Praise God. I’m blessed to be part of this ministry.”
Another volunteer shared about what she learned by patiently listening to a guest over dinner:
“She lives in a container… I asked her if she was ever afraid at night or if it was hard being by herself. She described how she locks herself into the container for her safety and so as to not get robbed, hurt or contract some sort of disease.
“I asked her if she was religious at all or had a faith background. She believes that there is a God, life force, spiritual being out there. She wouldn’t elaborate any more on that, but then B… (another regular guest) came and sat down next to us. We got talking about him and his church and he said that she should come sometime and that she would like it. She said maybe, but she doesn’t like to leave her container for too long.”
Another member of our team prayed specifically that she could have a deeper conversation with a particular person who is a regular guest, but who has never gone below surface level conversation with any of us.
In her words: “Twice I went to talk with him, but both times he seemed uninterested in getting past the social niceties. At the end of the evening I asked him to help me pack some stuff out to my truck. He was very pleased to be able to do that and followed me into another room that was very quiet. Suddenly he just started sharing about his experience growing up as a foster child. He would talk and talk, then he would say, ‘But I don’t want to talk about it.’ Then again he would talk and talk, and then say, ‘But I don’t want to talk about it.’ This happened (no kidding!) about five or six times. He kept mumbling and not making eye contact but also kept sharing in a coherent manner.”
“I had the opportunity to tell him that Jesus loves him and that he is uniquely made and has great value. Then his wife came by and said, ‘Let’s go!’ so that was where it ended. It was just really great to see him open up (in answer to prayer), and show trust to share the things that he did.”
Clearly these people wanted to share their lives, and we believe they are building trust in our team, which will in turn enable them to open their hearts to the love of Jesus when the time is right.