As I pulled up to my church early yesterday morning, I was quickly reminded of how much I love my church. I know we all have great churches, but when God called me specifically to Bay Area Fellowship Westside campus a year and a half ago I had no idea how much my life was fixing to change.
The sun was shining bright and it was a cool crisp morning. I got out of my car and lingered for a moment as just about that time a few men were arriving. They were first time guests there. People greeted them and made them feel welcomed. They answered their questions “what do I do with my backpack” or “where can I leave my dog?” I was taken back for the moment of how much I love worshipping and serving along side the homeless of our community.
As I made my way up the sidewalk from the parking lot and beyond “Lilly” our guest Chihuahua tied up out front there was a man waiting for me. He was older, clean cut, and had a cap on decorated with many veteran awards. I made my way to him and welcomed him. We visited for a moment and he asked what time our services started. I gave him the times and invited him to go ahead and come on in. He politely said he’d be back for the 10am service. (my heart sank at that moment because I’ve heard “I’ll be back” so many times and they don’t return)
However, my new friend wasn’t done visiting. He told me about his family and he had just moved within walking distance of our church. He told me he was a veteran and a POW. He told me he could speak Japanese. When I said I lived in Germany, he began speaking German, which I could not understand. Then he told me he was a pagan.
A PAGAN. (my heart sank AGAIN)
He went his way. I went on into church praying a fervent prayer for the next hour that God would work a miracle and bring my new friend back to church where he could experience and hear of God. I got the feeling he was searching for more in life. As it drew close to the 10am service I went to see if by chance God had answered my prayer.
HE DID! HE DID! God answered my prayer.
There in the hallway was my new friend. Others were welcoming him and he was smiling. He made his way into the sanctuary. He sat on the very back row as not to be noticed. BUT I noticed. I prayed. I prayed. I prayed.
Tomorrow I’ll finish this incredible story of my new friend.