By: Rachel L. + Emily H.
Out of all the strangers on the street, I don't know why they stood out among the rest. Some friends and I were out on the Christmas outreach, passing out gifts on the streets of Nashville. My friend and I didn't even have the right gifts, but we headed over to talk to them anyways, unable to shake the feeling that a God encounter was waiting on the other side of the street where they sat against the corner.
In the dance of small talk, they told us their story -- about how they found themselves in Nashville for the day by taking the wrong train and how they planned to be gone when night came. As we talked, something in me connected with the one in the middle and I started to sense things about his story that I shouldn't have known. I sensed that he had known the Lord from an earlier time in his life and because of pain, left what he knew even though he still longed to know that those things were true despite where his path had taken him.
Attempting to sound as least churchy as possible and afraid that I might be getting it completely wrong, God began to share His heart with me for this stranger and I started describe the way God wanted to pursue him again. His eyes softened and he began to tell me his story, the one that God had shown me just minutes before. They let us pray for them before we had to leave, but I'm still processing what happened today.
In the span of a few minutes, my life intersected with a stranger in a city he didn't belong for a day, sitting on a corner I wouldn't normally go, yet God wanted to make His heart known and I got to step into the story that God was already writing for this man. I don't know what to do with the beauty of a God where he goes to such lengths to find us...for no other reason than to let us know that we are loved, that we're seen and that our story's not forgotten by Him. These are the mysteries that we get to spend the rest of our lives discovering!
I love so much that we get the honor to love people exactly where they are! Sometimes that means sitting on a street corner listening to someone's story. Not judging them, not condemning them, not shaming them or telling them what they "should" do, but just loving them and blessing their day. My new friend said even though he hates and doesn't believe in region, he likes Jesus and believes that would "hang out with people like us." And I agree. Sitting on the corner of 2nd Ave, I saw the heart of the Father being poured out through an encouraging word Rachel gave one of these guys! It's such an incredible honor and privilege that God trusts us to be His hands, His feet, His heart, and His mouth!