“I delight to do Your will, O my God…”Psalm 40:8
Greetings in Jesus’ Name! As I ponder the events since my last newsletter, my heart turns to the truth of Lamentations 3:23b, where Jeremiah declared to God, “Great is Your faithfulness!” Many things have changed in my life as the medical world continues to search for a proper diagnosis, but the character of God remains steadfast. I can relate to the forlorn prophet who was grappling with raw feelings and hard facts, but through it all, there has not been a moment where I found the Lord to be anything other than faithful. His character is astounding enough to permeate the darkest clouds with an undeniable ray of hope!
While I have found God true in the hardest of times, I do want to express my appreciation for the measure of healing He is bringing. Specialists have not yet diagnosed my condition, but they have found key information that significantly narrows the possibilities and provides direction for treatment. That has enabled me to spend more time in the café. Although my role currently does not entail working shifts behind the counter, I’ve been able to get involved in background tasks like food prep and paperwork. Consequently, I’m still interacting with customers on a daily basis and asking God to open doors to shine His truth into their lives.
I had an interesting conversation a few weeks ago with Dennis, one of our regular customers. When I was still working full time in the café, he somehow got the impression that I celebrate Halloween. I had tried to clarify my position at the time, but I apparently was not communicating clearly. I was particularly nervous to speak up because Dennis is not receptive to spiritual conversations; however, I felt God’s nudge that I should be clear about the issue. I never want people to question on which side of the battle I fight, which was particularly concerning in this case since Dennis’ discussions of the holiday often brought up blatant moral issues. I started asking God to guide me to the right moment and proper words, but then my physical condition significantly decreased my time in the café, and I did not see Dennis for a few months. When I saw him again, I had sort of forgotten about the matter and was caught off guard when he brought it up. Yet, God helped me in that moment to explain that I do not celebrate affiliations with darkness, suffering, and death because Jesus brings light and life. Dennis graciously accepted my perspective, and we still have friendly chats every time we cross paths.
From the human perspective, that encounter was less than thirty seconds of spiritual discussion. Yet, I give God thanks for the opportunity and direction to speak truth. On my own, it’s empty words, but I pray the Spirit will use His penetrating power to call Dennis to the hope of Christ! If nothing else, it was a beautiful reminder for me of the transformative beauty of the Gospel!
Another chance to share Jesus arose last month when I was talking to Joseph. He comes to the shop almost daily. He has been experiencing homelessness, so we try to provide a comfortable place for him to relax during business hours. Some of the men who minister in the café have been able to help him in various ways, and Joseph helps us sometimes by assisting with closing cleanup. Anyway, I was talking to him, and he mentioned a big mistake he had made and his fear that we would never want him around anymore. I assured him that we love him and would not give up on him. He acted surprised, but touched. I went on to encourage him that God never stops loving us! If we misstep, then admit our need to Him, He always welcomes us with open arms.
In those kinds of situations, I am so thankful I can point people to Jesus! The world tries to smooth over hurts and errors by “turning over a new leaf,” changing mindset, etc. None of those things are wrong in themselves, but how much more effective is the One Who makes all things new and helps us take the right steps through the power of His Spirit!
I hope these few stories give you a glimpse into God’s faithfulness in Detroit. Thanks to each of you who make it possible for me to serve God here! I’ve been humbled at those whose support has not faltered in spite of my physical setbacks. I’ve also been extremely blessed with local church families from New Beginnings Fellowship and Lower Lights Church. God has used them to encourage me tremendously! I don’t know how I would have made it this far without them. So, whether you are supporting from near or far, please know it is deeply appreciated, and God is working here in the city.