“When we go into Kensington as the body of Christ, it changes the situation.” - James Holt
Keeping this truth in the back of our minds, about 105 of us boarded on some buses headed for Kensington Avenue.
Now if you've never been there before, you'll notice certain keywords when you search Kensington on Google:
- Drug corners
I had been there one time before and had already seen a drug deal on a street corner. It's so easy to only see the mess, the drugs, the smell, the trash… but God sees something else. God sees people and He desperately wants them to know Him.
So there we were, all 105 of us, bringing hope to real people who need Christ just as much as we do. Each of us packed 2 meals containing a sandwich and a water bottle. Combined, that was over 200+ meals!
As our group got off the bus, it was immediately easy to feel intimidated and not want to be there. I suppose Jonah might have felt that way about Nineveh.
We kept our focus, and many of the homeless came right up to us for the meals and hygiene packs. It's amazing how God uses a physical need to, more importantly, provide a spiritual need as well.
Over the course of an hour, my group was able to offer meals and prayer with about 10 homeless men and women. Some only wanted the food we had to give, but how blessed we were to even minister to them in that way alone.
When I gave a meal to the first man I came across, I asked him how I could pray for him. He openly said he was on heroin for years and was trying to beat his addiction. He had a 14-year-old daughter at home he was trying to get back to.
One man hurt his hand, so we went to the pharmacy next door and got him ice and an ace bandage to help the swelling go down.
The stories didn't stop. One lost his job two months ago and was separated from his family in El Salvador. A man was number five on a waiting list, attempting to get into a home. A woman got into a fight and hurt her arm. One man was in prison years ago, and was now trying to get his life together.
They looked scary. The selfish part of me wanted to just go back on the bus and be done. I didn't want to walk up to them, but I'm glad we did. Most of them were extremely friendly. These were hurting people, and we got the opportunity to pray with them, give them hugs, shake their hands, and even invite them to church and talk about God.
All this to say, sometimes God calls us into uncomfortable situations. If we can take a moment to see past people’s problems and see people, real people, how can we not share Christ with them? It's only another reminder that we see the outward appearance but God sees the heart. How humbling!
I challenge you today to look around your city or town. What are the physical needs? How can you provide a spiritual need by means of a physical one? You don't have to go to Kensington to find hurting people. They're all around us. Let's make an impact by loving deeply and bringing hope to the broken. As the body of Christ, we can change the situation.