Wilmington Outreach – How It All Started
This past June a group of us went on a mission trip to Nashville, TN. On one particular day we went downtown and split up into groups of six. We were given a list of things to accomplish before meeting up with the large group a few hours later. The list included sharing our lunch with someone who was homeless, talking to a police officer and asking their opinion on the issue of homelessness, etc. So we set out to find someone to share our lunches with. We walked for a while until we saw a man selling newspapers on the street corner. He was selling the homeless community’s newspaper called The Contributor in which all the writers have experienced/are now experiencing homelessness. Talking to a Contributor vendor was on our list too! We figured we were killing two birds with one stone. The man’s name was Ben. Ben was a fascinating person who had a lot to say! We were talking to him for a while when we noticed hundreds of people lining up in front of a church across the street. We asked Ben what was going on and he said The Contributor was having a meeting in a few minutes. Then he asked us if we wanted to sit in on the meeting. We responded with an emphatic, “Yes!” So ten minutes later we were sitting inside of this huge church with hundreds of people who were all without homes. To say it was moving would be an understatement.
The Contributor editors held a press conference, which was pretty interesting. But once that was over they began calling out vendors’ names in order to give them their next assignment. There were tons of people waiting inside the church, so we thought, “We might as well start striking up some conversations right here!” Why leave to “finish the list” when God had given us this awesome opportunity to witness right there in that church?
We split up into even smaller groups of three (we didn’t want to scare anyone away). Our little group was so nervous! We just stood there for a second looking around asking ourselves, “Who should I talk to?” and “What am I supposed to say?” Instantly, God turned our attention to a man sitting quietly in the pew. His name was Tyrus. We began talking to him and the conversation soon turned to God. The Lord gave us the words that Tyrus needed to hear. We told him about being a new creation in Christ, and how the blood of Jesus can wash away any sin. Tyrus was deeply affected by hearing the Word of God and how powerfully He transforms lives. He could not deny the truth being spoken to him, but he said, “I think God will show me when it’s time [to accept and follow Jesus].” We pointed out that God was making it pretty clear what he needed to do. We said, “Well, six strangers from Delaware are standing here telling you about Jesus… that’s a pretty big message God’s sending you!” He said, “You’ve got a point there” and proceeded to stare into space. (At this point we were about to burst with anticipation!) Then he said, “Ok, let’s do it.” We prayed with him to accept Christ into his heart and turn away from sin.
We realized something after leaving the church: we submitted to the leadership of the Holy Spirit and were able to lead someone to Christ. We realized that we needed to offer ourselves to be used as witnesses all day, every day. This outreach is an expression of that realization. We commit our Sundays to be used by God to share His love with people living on the streets of Wilmington.