The message of Jesus is the most powerful message in the world. It is good news. It changes lives. It changes cities and cultures. Yet it is also a message that provokes opposition. – Nicky Gumble
This Week’s Highlights:
*Homeless evangelist shares what life on the street is like – see below
*Toiletry kits gratefully received – see Donna
*Communion and Praise in the park – see photo below and Gaylene’s Report.
*Flying bottles of water don’t deter prayer – see Lorraine
*Pizza, Prayer, and Protection – see Iris
*Healings and Salvations – see Andy
Seventeen people came out to minister. Teams went to a hospital, Main Street, Portage Place, and Central Park. It was a beautiful evening and the park was thriving with people. Teams were given 22 bags of toiletry kits, to hand out, that my wife had prepared from items that were donated, and a few things we bought. Each kit contained soap, shampoo, and various hygiene products, a scarf and a piece of jewelry for the ladies and a new pair of socks for the men.
The last half hour of my visit to Portage Place was talking to an independent street evangelist named Lucas. He is originally from El Salvador. He has chosen to be homeless to better identify with the street people he ministers to. He stands on street corners with a sandwich board, that proclaims Jesus, and he verbally proclaims the Gospel. Portage Place has a public piano in Central Court and on Thursday nights he plays hymns, and that attracts people, that he then engages with. I have met a person he evangelized, and I have seen people come to him for spiritual advice. He was telling me about some of his challenges with people on the streets. He says some people avoid making eye contact with him (he is a little ‘wild’ looking in appearance – scraggly beard – tattered clothing, but very soft-spoken and intelligent). Some people hand him money or food (he says he never asks anyone for anything). Some people tell him off – ‘get a job’ – ‘get off the streets’ – that kind of thing. One of his challenges is one that we share, and that is having wisdom about who to give hand-outs to. While we were talking at the piano a street person came and asked him for money. He gave them about 40 cents. After they left, he told me he could have given them more, but he knew them and felt the money would just get spent on drugs, and that wouldn’t be helping them. (We advise our team members not to give cash – buy them food if they are hungry, buy them a bus ticket if they need transportation, but no cash. It is still sometimes hard to determine who is really in need, and who is just using us). Lucas was also discouraged that so many Christians he meets, are so casual about what it means to be a Christian. He can’t figure out why more Christians are not sharing the Good News. He talked pretty much non-stop for 30 minutes. I think he needed a listening ear, and I was interested in hearing his story and his points of view. It has occurred to me that I need to pray over Lucas each week, that he be strengthened in his difficult calling.
I was in Central Park in a team of 3. We firstly spoke with 6 gentlemen at one of the picnic tables. One fella who just recently had a heart operation asked for prayer. I asked if I could lay my hand on his heart and he said yes. We prayed a powerful prayer for him. Then another asked for prayer for his partner who was hooked on drugs so that she would be delivered. Then a third fella showed us his foot which was in bad shape from diabetes and we prayed for him as well. One of the team members, a retired nurse prayerfully bathed him in God’s love. They all appreciated the prayers.
We went around giving out water and protein bars which were quickly accepted, And we happened on several Muslim women who seemed to appreciate our friendly gestures but were struggling with the English language and did not accept prayer.
During the evening we gave out all of the toiletry kits that we had and they were gratefully received.
It was super hot in the park last night so Mike and Andy found us a new spot under several trees, which turned out to be very busy. We gave out a lot of water and protein bars.
Soon after we arrived we met Baraka (means blessing) and Deus (means God) who are both from Kenya. Baraka is a new immigrant who’s trying to find his footing in a new culture, country, and city. He was looking for a church with “manifestations of the Spirit” among some other things. We prayed for open doors with immigration and employment and suggested a few church communities where he could thrive. Andy talked with him for quite a while.
Then Gelane, Lani and I met Emmanuel from Ghana. He’s an international student studying economics at UofM but appears to be presenting himself as an indigent person (maybe to relate to people?). We all gave him accurate prophetic words, and Lani’s ‘word’ was something he’d heard several times. It pretty much blew his mind, once again showing how the prophetic can operate on the street.
Emmanuel, it turns out, is a missionary himself and feels called to evangelize and preach at the University of Manitoba. However, he has not been well received at all and had wondered if he would ever find his tribe in Winnipeg.
In the midst of getting to know him, we were pulled away to pray for Irma who has blood in her stool and was fearful of a diagnosis. While praying for her, Emmanuel suggested I bless the bottled water and get her to drink it (common in Africa) which she did.
I saw some teddy bear cookies beside her so I suggested we take communion together. So Irma, her cousin, Lani, Gelane, Emmanuel and I took communion led by him praying. This was unquestionably one of the most lovely and poignant moments I’ve had in Central Park.
And it appears Emmanuel found his tribe. I introduced him to Lorraine and Diana and the rest and they sang hymns together, prayed for Mike and more. It was simply beautiful.
I always leave the park with a full heart (and sometimes tired) but last night was something really magical. #Africa #Connections
Diana and I were out as a team. We prayed for a woman named Roxanne who was in emotional pain because she had just lost her children to CFS. She admitted to drinking herself drunk so she could forget the pain of this. She claimed that she also had physical pain in her heart, but my sense was that she was actually feeling the manifestation of a deep pain in her own soul. She was a believer and a struggling alcoholic.
We prayed for Isaiah who wanted to recite the Lord’s Prayer. So we both did that with him and others around the table also did the same with us. We prayed for Welk, a kind, gentle man who was kicked out of the home he was living in with others. He needed some new housing and was living on the street. We also prayed for another man who had been drinking heavily and had a swollen jaw. His pain was about a level 7 and it looked like he had been beaten-up. We prayed a few things and the pain went down to about a 5, although it was difficult to assess this due to his state of mind.
While we prayed a belligerent man came along swearing up a storm. Wasn’t too sure if he was swearing at us or at those around the table. A few minutes later two full bottles of water flew our way as he was trying to hit those of us at the table. Thankfully he missed but kept cursing at us. Sometimes, when we are ministering, our enemy uses others to try to distract or attack us in some way. We were not intimidated and just kept on going, praying for others around the table.
Later, we met a man from West Africa, the son of a pastor there, named Emmanuel. He was a strong Christian and had a passion to preach the Gospel to people around him in the park. He had never met us before and seemed pleased that there were some Canadians out in the park praying and sharing Jesus with others around them. In fact, Emmanuel commented that Canadian Christians seem to not show much interest in sharing the Gospel with others and praying for them. Sadly, we still have much work to do to be the Bride, bold and powerful, in our nation. Rise up Church! Let’s rock our cities, communities and nation for the Lord Jesus!
Claire, Sheyenne, Andrea and I (Al! I headed to Main Street to hand out toiletry kits, pizza, prayer, and love. Right away two of our team met a first nations teenager who was standing on the corner with hockey bags, we prayed for his future, and the other two prayed for a lady on her bike. We prayed for about 10 people that we connected with as we handed out pizza. Some highlights: A man and woman whose daughter had committed suicide three years previously, their hearts and lives were still shattered. The lady came back to our team twice to ask for more prayer.
River was sitting in the pizza place and wanted prayer for courage to finish English in high school. His father and cousin had died that year, and he said that he needed the courage to keep going. He had a stutter and we asked him if he wanted us to pray for him about it. He flashed us a big smile and told us that he liked his stutter.
As we handed out pizza, we prayed for another Clair who was in a wheelchair due to a car driving over her foot, and she was experiencing level 6 pain. We asked her if the pain had decreased, and she wasn’t sure due to it flaring up and going away. She said that she also prays for her leg every day and had a real kindness about her. Standing with her was Janice who said that she would like prayer, but not in a way that anybody would notice as she did not want her partner to see that. Janice is a believer in Jesus but had ended up in a tough place in her life with her addiction to alcohol, which started 10 years ago after her son overdosed on drugs. As we prayed and listened, she shared more pieces of her life, and our heart broke for her. Her mother had gotten murdered when Janice was 10, and then in her next home situation, she was abused. We prayed for her discretely, for her broken heart, and encouraged her that she had a future.
We felt covered and protected by angels as we were out on Main Street, and felt God’s love and joy for the poor as we handed out pizza. A gentleman, who didn’t seem to belong in that area, kept coming to check on us. He was being very protective. He told us he really appreciated what we were doing on the streets, and he offered to take us all out for supper.
Later we went to Central Park and I saw a group of Muslim women I knew, and we walked over to say hi to my Syrian friends, two of them named Fatima. It was the first time some on our team had spoken to Syrians. Again, a great evening doing outreach and being part of God showing love and care.
The night began at Central Park at the picnic table where the ‘NEED PRAYER’ sign was located. Gaylene, myself and Mike prayed for Doreen who was starving and very emotional about her 2 sons that had health concerns, one was shot just recently. Prayed for peace for her and healing for her sons. Mike helped her out for some supper as well, also met Barako, just in Canada a few weeks, prayed for his refugee hearings and safety..a Christian we gave him suggestions for a few churches to attend.. we gave out water and protein bars to many in the park. Mike prayed for a group of 7 that were sleeping in the park when we arrived.
When the group from Zion Church arrived I paired up with Ron and walked the trail around Central Park, meeting Sal, an elderly gentleman who wanted prayer for glaucoma and high blood pressure, he was a believer but didn’t know if he was going to heaven for sure. We shared the Good News with him and he believed to salvation.
Next, we prayed for Pam, a lady with a pain in her tooth. We prayed and the pain went down. Next, we prayed for two young men from Eritrea, Africa, Andrew, a taxi driver, we prayed for a taxi business of his own and a wife, his friend, Johan, asked for prayer for a family so we prayed for his wife to get pregnant. As we went, we met an Eritrean Pastor who arrived in Canada only a few days ago; he could not speak English, we found an interpreter and prayed for him that he would impact many people of his culture and lead them to Jesus. Next, we prayed for a lady named Sereka, who said she needed prayer for everything. We prayed for safety, health and better relationships. We met two Muslim men Abdi Assam and Abda Amman. We told them we’d like to pray for them. They said, Pray a blessing for us and we will pray for you too at their prayer times. They then invited us over to the Mosque to experience their prayer times. We declined that night and let them know we may come another day. Shortly after, the lady Pam asked if she could use my cell phone and I found out her tooth was still better an hour later.
For those who have fallen into the depths of sin or suffering, we must provide a safe place of refuge, a spiritual care unit. So many today say this is NOT the job of the Church, but I plead with you not to harden your hearts or fail to show true compassion and mercy to those who repent and seek restoration, and to be refreshed. Let the Church be a city of refuge where recovery, healing, and restoration take place, nurturing back to health every wounded warrior regardless of how his wounds came about. Steve Porter – The Elijah List