This night of street/mall ministry was different in two ways. Firstly I didn’t witness any physical healing, and secondly ,I didn’t have to approach one person in Portage Place Mall (they just continued to present themselves). I never moved more than 10 meters from my starting point.
As usual ,we gathered at the Zion Apostolic Church, for a time of prayer and worship (only 15 people this week). We were asked if anyone needed prayer, and I raised my hand, and asked for prayer for my sore throat. The Pastor’s daughter (13) laid hands on me and commanded the infirmity to go in Jesus’ name, and my sore throat was gone. There were other participants prayed for, but I am uncertain of the results.
We journeyed to Portage Place Mall where we were to meet by the piano in the central court, and the plan was to then organize into teams. Mel, Gaylene, and I arrived a little ahead of the rest. We were surprised to see James playing the piano. (He is the one who danced because his broken foot was healed two weeks earlier.) We noticed he had his walking boot back on, and he was very intoxicated. He wouldn’t answer any of our questions about his foot, he would only say he was back-slidden, and he would play and sing (yell) Amazing Grace.
As Gaylene was trying to engage James, an elderly First Nations woman with a cane approached and stood between Mel and I. Her name was Josie, she said she was Jame’s cousin and she wanted prayer for her cracked disc and her knees. We invited another couple of team members who had just arrived, to join us. We prayed for healing, and she thought her condition was slightly improved, but wasn’t sure. She then began to talk about what she called the pain in her heart. As we tried to console her she became very emotional and angry, and she left.
All the other team members had arrived, and most were engaged praying with people. The teams hadn’t been formed, and everyone was scattered. The Lord was bringing people faster than we could get organized. As Mel and I were pondering where to go next, or who to connect with, suddenly Josie appears in between us again. She says she would like prayer to get her hope back. She said her life was so hopeless, and she missed her husband so much (he had died a few months earlier). She poured-out her heart to us, and we each prayed a blessing of restored hope over her. I noticed a young girl with orange coloured hair had been watching us, and walking back and forth by us. When we were finished praying the girl came and led Josie away.
So once again Mel and I were pondering who to join, or where to go next. A few feet from us Alyssa had engaged a colourful character so we joined her. The ladies name was Shannon. She had on men’s work boots, dressed like a man, and wore a pearl-like necklace. She was about 4.5 feet tall, had a well-defined moustache, a beard, and was very animated. She said she knew Jesus, but received a prayer of blessing from us. She then prayed for us, sang a song for us (Lord I Need You), and then preached the Gospel to us. She told us that she didn’t drink, do drugs, or prostitution, but that it wasn’t easy on the streets, and she hoped she wouldn’t have to do any of those things. (I am not sure what that encounter was about – I hope she was blessed in some way.)
As Mel and I turned around, Josie approached the two of us again. She said she had something to tell us. She said she received $750 a month, and her rent was $495. and she found it hard to make ends meet (she added she ate a lot of thin soup). So she said, I am dealing with drugs to make extra money (the girl in the orange hair was a drug deal). So I asked her if she wanted to be free of having to deal drugs, and she said yes. We prayed a blessing of release over her, and asked Jesus to provide for her. I was caught off-guard on this request. First of all this grandmother isn’t anyone’s picture of a drug dealer, and secondly I, really had no idea about how to pray for, or deal with such a request. No end of surprises and challenges in the street/mall ministry.
So again, we were wondering where to go next, when another First Nations lady walks up to me and accuses me of making fun of people’s names. I assured her it wasn’t me, and asked her what her name was. She said she was Beaches, and she was from Shamattawa. Right at that time, team members Alyssa and Andy arrived and they both recognized Beaches from a previous encounter. After a bit of conversation, Beaches asked for prayer. She sat down on one of the stone planters with a pillar on her left and a garbage can on her right. Alyssa and Andy were squatted in front of her, and she spoke with her head down, so it was hard to get close, and hard to hear her. As Alyssa began to pray, Beaches broke into loud crying – so loud security came to see what was going on. Beaches waved them off and told them she was getting prayer. Through a series of prayers, she was being released from guilt and shame, and other bondage. In the end, Andy led her in a prayer of re-dedicating her life to Jesus, and he arranged to meet her at his church, Springs Inner-City. Alyssa bought her some food.
It was now 9 PM and the mall was closing. I am not sure of what other team members encountered other than I talked to one team member, Jackie, who had led a person in the food court to the Lord. As we were saying good-bye to one another, we were all commenting on what a different kind of night it had been.