“Mike! How about her?” I point to a middle-aged woman sitting by herself on a grassy area in Baltimore’s inner harbor. “More than anything she looks distracted.” Mike replies as we notice how busy she was re-doing her makeup.
It is a Sunday afternoon and we are in the middle of street evangelization, approaching people to share how God has worked in our lives, to pray for them and to share the good news of God’s love. I stop and sense the Holy Spirit calling me to her and I turn to Mike “Ok, let us at least tell her she is beautiful.” I walk without fear into what would be the last and deepest evangelization experience of the day, one that would end with a kiss.
Getting Ready to Evangelize: Everything Goes Wrong
Earlier in the day as we were trying to get organized to go to the inner harbor it seemed like delay was getting stacked on top of delay. And we couldn’t stay longer to make up for it since we had to end by a specific time because Zack had a commitment to make. Everything seemed off and I began to doubt whether this outing was God’s will or if it would be in vain. After the 20 minutes it took us to find parking, and a concerning experience from a man in front of us kicking a large metal trash can to the floor, I turned to the guys and said: “Why don’t we just go home and watch a movie instead”. But I knew it was too late and we had to at least try.
Dancing and Kissing at the Inner Harbor
All 6 of us met at the inner harbor, we prayed, and we split in teams of two. I was paired with Mike Wagaman. After a false start, primarily because there was latin music playing and I began to enthusiastically dance by myself in public (something Mike patiently was able to bear), we began approaching people. After our first opportunity we didn’t need to approach someone because we were approached by an elderly woman. She was deaf/mute and was seeking financial help in exchange for teaching some sign language. She could read lips and Mike explained why we were there. We offered to pray and the lady came to be moved to tears. After the experience she jumped towards us for an embrace. I took this as an opportunity to kiss her deaf ears and blow a blessing. This was my first kiss of the day. As we continued on, she said goodbye with the sign language symbol for “I love you”.
A Time of Dryness
Shortly thereafter we were met with a dry period. We grew hesitant, and the few approaches we made were all met with rejection. I grew ever more anxious and lost my peace. I felt no hope and thought that the best had already happened, and now we just have to count the minutes till we have to go back.
A Time of Grace
Later I was drawn to another elderly lady with a bright orange shirt, who was seated on a bench along the harbor. She was a Baptist christian and had just come from church. She shared some deep struggles in her life with depression and family. Yet, as she shared that, she reaffirmed that she knew where her strength came from which allowed her to be at peace with herself regardless of her chronic depression. I felt God revealed to me a bible verse for her, and as Mike was speaking he also spoke the very same verse. Talk about confirmation! As we finished she shared how the main message of the sermon at her church today was to let others pray for you. She was delighted that within 2 hours of hearing that sermon, Jesus sent us two to pray for her. After we prayed for her Mike asked her to pray for us. And what strength and grace we received in that encounter. I had found my peace, and felt a renewed trust in the Lord’s guidance. The opportunity was there for the kiss of blessing but I exercised self-control.
Taken Deeper Than My Feet Could Ever Wonder
Ten minutes afterwards we approached the middle-aged woman I began writing about in this blog. We spent about 40 minutes in listening, conversation and prayer. After we prayed for her, she began to reveal a deep wound of her past, related to her parents divorce. She shared how it affected her and how she was bound to some behaviors and ways of thinking that have kept her from being truly free. Mike didn’t hesitate and without asking began a second round of prayer. She was also emotionally affected by this deeply personal time she shared, and to think that half an hour ago we were complete strangers. I felt compassion for her and as we say farewell I offer a blessing on her forehead in the name of the Holy Trinity, accompanied by a kiss on her head.
God Shows Up
It’s funny how I can have so many reasons for why what I’m doing is not really God’s will, and worry how things can end up being in vain. Yet, it is amazing how even as frail and doubtful as I am, how taking the smallest of steps of a willing heart to serve God can lead to God actually showing up. Who would’ve thought!
We left the inner harbor and I thought that was all for my service of the Lord on that day. Yet, it would only get more amazing, as miraculous physical healing and prophecy would be manifested that evening. But that’s another story.
To Him be the glory.
PS: Next time we go out to evangelize on the streets you should come. It can be quite the experience, and will probably add more meaning to your life than choosing to stay home. Peace… and a kiss :-)