Wednesday, May 29, 2013


     New York has been so great! I love how God has taught me a specific lesson in each city, it's beautiful! There's always more to learn and there's always more of God to experience.
     I think there's something significant about kneeling down. There's something so special about getting low, getting down to eye level with someone rather than just looking down at them. It's more profound than just a body position. Going down to somebody's level says, "Your not an opportunity for a passing by good deed. You're a person. You're worth stopping for. You're worth stooping for. You have worth. More than you've been shown and more than you know."
     That's what God did for us, ya know? He didn't just give us help as He stayed high and distant. He humbled Himself, He lowered Himself to our level, to be human. And He sat with us, He ate with us, He fished with us, He loved us! Us low little humans. He came down and met us where we were. He met the disciples where they were- just doing their jobs fishing. He met the adulteress woman where she was- in the middle of a judging crowd about to get stoned. He met Zacchaeus where he was- climbing a tree, striving to get a glimpse at Him. He met the thief where He was- hanging on a cross. He met each of them right where they were and then made a way for each of them to, like He said to the thief, meet Him in Paradise.
    Today I met some train hoppers! I love kids who hop trains, they're so awesome!
This is one of the guys, Hunter, who was playing his fiddle on the street corner to make some money

    Another train hopper I met was Bird. She was awesome, and super sweet and has such a grateful personality. She spends time in Nashville and told me if I ever see her again to say hey! And I really hope I do!
   Another moment that was really sweet was when I met a guy in the subway station the other day and I offered him a granola bar and he said, "Granola is beautiful." It just made my day! It was so sweet how appreciative he was of something as simple as a granola bar and found it to be beautiful. It just makes me want to appreciate all the little beauties in life!
     I've met so many awesome people and even though none of them here have talked to me very long or in depth, our short and simple interactions have been so sweet and impacting. It's so cool getting to see someone go from looking down trodden to smiling. To see someone looking tired and hungry have their face light up when they're offered a piece of pizza. It's incredible what simple acts of love can do to change a person. And it's so easy. I'm so thankful for every person I've met, every interaction or connection, no matter how long or short our time together was. God has changed my life completely and there's no turning back!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Live Big

     My time in Philadelphia was so good! It was such a fun city and I had a lot of interesting experiences there.
     The guy I met in Philadelphia that really opened up to me was Jerry. He was such an awesome, open guy! He hasn't been homeless very long, less than two years. The catalyst for his homelessness was when his wife of over thirty years died. He talked about her a lot. You could tell how much he really loved her and missed her. I think that happening gave him a greater appreciation for life and the desire to never take anything for granted. He was telling me about some of his future plans and said, "I try to live big. Why not? What else are ya gonna do?"

      I met another guy that I talked to for a long time in Love Park, but he wasn't homeless. He was actually a student in Philly, and he really loved science. He talked about his atheist beliefs and that lead to us talking about God- him respectfully explaining why He doesn't believe and me respectfully saying how much I love God. I actually got to share my testimony with him, which was cool! He had a scientific response to explain anything I said or have seen or experienced (a lot of the things I had never heard anything like it before), but it was great how the conversation had no hostility at all. It wasn't an angry debate, he just talked about why he doesn't believe and I talked about why I can't not. One thing that made me laugh was how every scientific explanation he gave just solidified my belief in God. Reasoning that was attempting to show the flaw in what I believe just made me believe Him all the more. God is so beyond scientific explanation and that just makes me happy. It was so cool the way God placed him along my path and prompted him to start a conversation with me in the most random way. Which happens to me a lot haha.
    This adventure with God has just been so much more than I could have imagined, when it go as expected and when it doesn't.
    On this trip, Holy Spirit has often asked me questions. He often asks me if I can find Him here. In a sitting area in the middle of a bustling city, under a bridge inhabited by people who are incapable of interacting with anyone other than themselves, in my car alone on a ten hour road trip: I hear that sweet, familiar voice ask, "Can you find me here?" And I always reply, "Yes, Lord."
Another question He often asks is, "Can you find joy in this?" In the middle of the mundane, repetitive routine of making fifty sandwiches a night, when I'm awoken by the crying of the baby of my host family at 5 am or earlier, when I'm walking alone in my baggy, disheveled going out attire weighed down by the bags of supplies surrounded by well polished social or economic ladder climbers, my sweet friend with His still, small voice leans in and asks me, "Can you find joy in this?" And my reply is always, "Yes, Lord."
      When He whispers those questions in my ear, I can't help but smile. Because His questions are really reminders. He reminds me that yes, I can find Him here, wherever "here" happens to be at the moment. Because He is always with me, even in the darkest of places. And yes, I can find joy in this, whatever this present experience is. Because He is always right by my side experiencing it with me. Joy Himself never leaves my side. And really He's more than by my side, He's inside me, inhabiting my heart.
    So whenever my precious friend sweetly whispers reminders of His faithful, constant presence in my life disguised as questions, my response, by grace, remains as faithful as His presence, "Yes, Lord." Yes, Lord.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

D.C. and Baltimore

      My time in Baltimore and D.C. has been so great! My D.C. hosts lived so close to both I kind of split my time between the two cities, so I'm moving on to Philadelphia a little bit ahead of schedule. My time here has been different, but so good. I see so much purpose in my time here and wouldn't change it if I could. There weren't big crowds of people here, they were more spread out and not really in a hang out spot, so I didn't see most of the people I met more than once. But there was one group I got to see multiple times. The under the bridge crew!

This is Jerry, William, David and I!

      While I hung out with them David told me a lot about his life and how he got to be where he is now. There are a lot of details I don't think should be shared, but it's amazing that he's doing as well as he is and that he still has a soft and open heart after the things he's seen. And David was a sweet guy too! He talked a lot about how grateful he is for all that he has. He talked about how a lot of people would talk to him and wonder how he could be as up beat as he is since he has nothing, but he said that he knew that although he was poor in some ways, really he was rich in so many more ways. He was such a great example of an attitude of gratitude! Their friend Jerry came right before I left, but I saw him a couple days later on the street and I got to talk to him a little bit more. He didn't tell me much of his story, but he still was great to talk to!
     Everyone else that I met I only saw once since people here have tended to be more mobile and not hang out or congregate in certain areas. But I've met a lot of beautiful people!
     I've just had so much peace about things being okay and allowing God to work no matter how things look. Whether things go as planned or expected or not, God can work through all things and have purpose in all things.
     A cool thing God was telling me the other day is about how so many Christians get so focused on bearing fruit in their life. And so many people work hard trying to bear good fruit. But through Jesus, we are taken back to Eden. Through Jesus' sacrifice, He erased the affect of the Fall on us, He gives us the ability and wants us to walk in our original created value. He allows us to live as if we never ate the tree. And working the ground in order for it to produce was a consequence/result of the fall. Before the Fall, man got to intimately walk in the Garden of Eden, the garden of pleasure, with God and in that place of intimately walking and abiding in God, the fruit just was without man having to work or strive. Through Jesus, God allows us to be back in that place of no striving or working to be good, we just get to know Him and walk with Him and good fruit will naturally happen as a result of us walking in communion with God. It's so free and so much easier that way! So many things in the Kingdom are flipped from what the wisdom of the world says. You would think that striving would produce more fruit, but in reality fruit thrives when you abide.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Daughter not a doer

     The past few days have been amazing! God has been teaching so much. It's all about just knowing Him and being with Him and becoming love, whatever that looks like for the person in front of me. It's just so awesome that this journey isn't all about me feeding homeless people. It's about me just being in relationship with my Father and letting Him teach me how to love the person in front of me, whether homeless or not. Whether they need a sandwich or not. Whether they believe in Him or not. Whether they want to talk about Him or not. No matter how it may seem from the outside, this journey has never been merely about feeding homeless people. I absolutely love homeless people and every person I've met on this journey! God has taught me so much and grown my heart so much through the people that I've met, on the streets and in homes. But it's never about what I do. It's about who I am- a daughter. If I ever forfeit being a daughter for being a doer, I'm in big trouble. But I never have to strive to meet a quota or get a good story or feed a certain amount of people or perform well, because that's not what it's about. Feeding a bunch of people or hearing a great story is just a bonus, never the focus. And on this trip where performance could so easily slip into the forefront, I'm so glad my Dad always reminds me that I don't have to strive or perform well to please Him. He's already pleased with me. And He doesn't want a performance anyway, He just wants relationship. He's such a good Dad!
      I've been going back and forth between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore since they're so close. They're different from most cities because in most cities I can find a park full of homeless people, but in these cities the homeless people are kind of sporadically spread out. I haven't really found one central location with a lot of people. And a lot of the parks that I've been to that I would expect to be full of homeless people have actually been full of moms with strollers haha. But despite that, my time here has been great! And I've met some awesome people!
     Yesterday I changed it up and went under a bridge! Sometimes when I go under bridges I find things that are really hard to see. Sometimes under bridge communities are full of people who can't even talk or take in what you say to them. It's areas like, ones that "lights of the world" are often too scared to go into, that need light the most. I think there's something really powerful that happens when a light steps into a place like that. It says, "The light I carry is stronger than the darkness here. The light of Christ is not threatened by this, nor am I afraid of this darkness. I know who is stronger and I know who has the final victory." Placing a lamp in an already illuminated room doesn't change anything. But placing a lamp in a dark room changes atmospheres. Lighting up the darkness is what lamps were made for, not just hanging out in already lit rooms.
     Anyway, yesterday I met William and David (aka Doc) under a bridge. Although it was a place of darkness, both William and David were still in their right minds and we could have good conversation. When I walked up and William and I started talking, he wasn't shy and he just opened right up and told me about his story! He's been homeless about thirteen years and has been living under the bridge where I found him for about three months. He became homeless when both his parents died and he didn't get to keep their house. Him and David have been friends and staying in that spot together the past three months. David was asleep for most of the time that I was there, but he woke up and talked for a while. David didn't tell me much if his background like William did, but he did talk to me about some of his beliefs and his struggles. I got to pray with David and just bless him and tell him how much God loves him. William didn't want me to pray for him, but I still got to pour love on both of them. It was just a good time. I think it means more when I find people in the tucked away places rather than the parks full of tourists or working people. When I find people in the hidden places or the places away from regular society, they're so not used to people being in that area that they're curious and they want to talk. And they know I'm not just giving them a passing glance going to them to share Gods love.

Here's a picture of William reading the Bible I gave him right after I left

After I left them, I found one more spot under a bridge! I found someone's camp, but the person who lived there wasn't home. I left them some stuff, anyway! I love giving anonymous blessings!

     Earlier today I met a different kind of "homeless" person! I was starting to drive into the city then I decided I wanted to go to Starbucks for a bit and spend a little more time just hanging out with my Dad. And God placed lovely Char on my path! As soon as I got out of my car, a lady that was walking past my car started talking to me about my bumper stickers. From there we just started talking and she told me about her story. She's been living in her car the past 6 years. I know there are a lot of people who are homeless but live in their cars, but I haven't met too many of them. Other than Char, the only people who live in cars that I've met we're the acrobatic musicians in New Orleans. Anyway, Char and I just had a fun little time talking about music and art and traveling. Our conversation about music led to me giving her a few awesome worship CDs and a Bill Johnson sermon CD I found in my car. She seemed really excited about getting them, and I was excited to get to give them to her! CDs aren't usually something I can give to the people I meet, but since she had a car with a cd player I could give them to her. And worship music is so special to me, so I love getting to share it! And Bill Johnson is pretty cool, too! I just love the way that God knows that the past few days the searching process has been different than usual, so today He just brought a houseless person to me when I wasn't even looking. He is so good.
     Another thing Gods been teaching me is how when I'm talking to someone, I don't have to try to figure out how I can strategically fit Him into the conversation. I just live in communion with Him and when I'm talking with people, He'll come out naturally. There's just no pressure in the Kingdom and I love that. Everything comes out of a place of resting in Him. God is so good!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


     I'm in Washington, D.C. now, but before I write about my time here, I want to catch up on my time in Orlando. Orlando was so amazing! Every single day was so full and I met so many awesome, loving people!
     Thursday was probably my busiest day. I headed out to the parks early and my sandwiches ran out super fast. After the parks I had lunch with a girl who is a worship/intern at the church that my host family goes to. It was a really good time! We got to share our stories with each other and just talk about God, which is always fun! At lunch she invited me to go to a college age worship night at her church. She also invited me to speak for a little bit.
     My hosts had connections, so I got to go to Universal Studios after lunch and get my roller coaster fix! It was such a good time!
     Then I went to the worship night. It was so good, I love corporate worship! In the middle of the service I got to go up and share a little bit about what God's done in my life and things He's taught me through this year. After I finished I thought to myself, "That was fun! But I'm not very eloquent." And God said to me, "Neither was Moses." Haha isn't that awesome? We don't have to have a ton of great skills or qualifications in order for God to move through us. We just have to be obedient! And in our weaknesses, God is strong. And when we aren't qualified, yet God moves through us, that just makes sure that all the glory goes where it belongs. Because we can't do anything on our own, it's all Him! It's so beautiful the way that God wants to touch people through every single one of us, whether "qualified" or not. And really, all though not always from the world's perspective, we are all qualified in the Kingdom. Because the only qualification in the Kingdom is being covered by the blood of Jesus and having a surrendered heart. We don't have to try to measure up, Jesus did that for us. And now we just get to live in the freely given purity and righteousness in Jesus, not scrambling to be good enough or worthy of His love, because we already are and that was proven on the cross. Because even though we didn't earn His love, He still thought we worth dying for. And the Bible proves that God loves working through seemingly unqualified people. Moses, who first of all most Christians would disqualify from ever being a leader of God's people due to the whole murder thing, was also not an eloquent person, yet He led God's people out of slavery. David was the smallest and wasn't even "qualified" to fight, yet he was the one who slayed Goliath. Jesus' disciples, the guys who healed the sick and cast out demons, were just a bunch of young guys who were fisherman and such, not trained in the temple with Pharisees or anything like that. Yet Jesus picked them. Because He knew that its not about how "qualified" we are. It's about how powerful God is.
     On Friday, I went back to the parks all day. It was a super fun day! I got to meet some new friends. One was Greg. He was such a sweet guy! He talked to me about his struggle with alcohol and how he was trying to wean himself off. I could tell that there were a couple people in the park that cared about him and supported him. But I just got to encourage Greg and listen to him and love him. Another new friend I made was Kimberly. She was so funny! Her and Tyrell were full of advice for me, they were hilarious. And they were so excited when I gave them Bibles! I only got to see Greg and Kimberly that once, but meeting them was such a blessing! After I was done talking with Kimberly a couple of people that I met at worship night came out to the park and joined me! While they were there we were talking to a group and a guy walked up that didn't speak English, but he wanted to pray. So we got in a circle and prayed and then he prayed in his language. It was sweet!
      Saturday was my last day out in Orlando. I saw Donna that morning and she was in a great mood because she got the news that her friend got her a bus ticket to New Orleans. I was so happy for her, and I'm so glad I got to hear the news before I left so I know Donna's going home and she's going to be well taken care of. My time with Donna was so sweet! She told me about how she's a people person and feels kind of down when she doesn't have anyone to talk to. And in the park that she hangs out at she doesn't have many people to talk to, she just greets people as they walk by, but she doesn't really get to have a lot of conversations. I'm so glad I got to talk to her a couple hours a day while I was in Orlando and get to meet that for her. She's such a sweet woman, the way she talks about God's love unashamedly as people walk by, whether they respond or even listen or not, is so encouraging. After I left Donna, I went to the other park. I got to talk to Elaine some more! Elaine is just awesome! Everything she says is so powerful because most of what she says are just things God has told her or testimonies of what He's done in her life. She's so great! She just hangs out with God all day and reads the word and then when people come and talk with her, she shares what He's shown her with them. Elaine is such a bright reflection of Gods light!

This is Elaine! I think she was talking about feeling Holy Spirit like electricity when I took this picture haha. She's so great!

This is something that she wrote that she showed me that was pretty cool. If you can't read it, it's mostly about how God wants the ones He's called to do great things (everyone who gives their life to Him) to believe that He can do all that He says He can. That with Him all things are possible.

After I left Elaine, I went and sat alone and read for a while. After a little bit, a guy was riding his bike by, and said hello, then put down his bike and came and sat with me to talk. His name was Angel. He said he didn't really know why he came and talked to me because he normally doesn't talk to people, but for some reason he just stopped! We had a good conversation! He talked about his job his love for Jesus. It was really good and sweet!
After I left the park, I went to a thing at my hosts church called Joy Prom. It's a prom for people with special needs. It was so sweet! Before the dance, everyone was introduced as they walked into the prom on a red carpet and everyone cheered for them. It was such a sweet, joyful night!

My time in Orlando was SO good! Every day was filled with joy and love and new friends! I left the park every day with my heart feeling so full! God is so good and His children are so precious!