There were a few moments from our trip that really stood out for me and I would like to share them with you. Lets take a look in the brown leather journal that I filled while I was there
"we went for dinner at UGM (union gospel mission) and like the day before we decided to split up so we weren't this clump of new faces. We were with the second group to go in for dinner and Jon (who was going with the Alis of Chad Williams)and I sat down at a table with only one other man at it. The man sat with his face down, focused on his dinner tray, we start to eat as well and I look up and over at him and tears are streaming down his face and he is quietly sobbing. Jon and I exchange confused looks and I start to push my tray across the table with the intention of going to sit by the man, but then I hesitate, what if he doesn't want to talk to me? I get up and I go over to him, I ask him I can talk to him, he says that fine, I ask him whats wrong and he begins to spill about a life of pain, of physical pain from several accidents and emotional pain which drove him to years swallowed by a alcohol addiction. I ask him if he wants me to get one of the staff and he shakes his head "there isn't anything they could do" I pause "I don't usually do this ... I don't want you to think I'm a religious freak but I believe in Christ" I begin to tell him what I believe and how I believe in healing. After stammering nervously through this explanation I ask him if I can pray for him, he nods tears still clinging to his cheeks, I place my hand on his arm and we pray, he leaves shortly after"
Later in Seattle
"Jon and I are walking slowing behind Jordan and Janelle, they are ahead waiting at a stop sign and a small older lady calls out to us from the bench she is sitting at, I approach and ask her name, Sylvia, she begins to tell me that she is temporally homeless and that she was hoping someone would buy her a sandwich, my heart sinks a little as we decided not to take any money with us. I explain to her that tonight we are in the same situation as she is and that I don't have anything to share with her, again I hesitate and start with "I don't usually do this..." and I ask if I can pray with her, she clasps my hand tightly and says "pray honey" I pray and say goodbye..."
One thing about these prayers was how powerful they felt I walked away knowing that God was there. Its strange that in both these situations I said to the person I was talking to "all I can do with you is prayer" when really prayer is a huge deal, and depending on the person doing the praying, can be a hugely vulnerable act, one that is very personal and genuine.
I often pray with people at the shelter, but I think sometimes things can get muddled in my head, I work for an agency that provides basic needs and i feel like i should be providing a tangible "something" whenever someone comes to me, these experiences of prayer on the streets are something I am sinking into in my "work" its really a blessing....