We found ourselves in a second hand store selling fleece pajamas before we left for Romania. There were six people in that freezing apartment, including an infant. And the six fleeces we had brought all the way from Pennsylvania fit each and every one of those shivering people! God had provided for his children and we didn’t even know His good purpose beforehand when we were standing in the second hand store.
The first sermon I ever preached was just before Thanksgiving. I had read Spurgeon on the subject and was inspired to speak about the wonderful gift of grace and kindness and mercy we have received, beginning and ending with the death of Christ on the cross for our sake. How gratitude is the only response when grace hits our hearts from above, like a shaft of pure, golden light, breaking through the dark storm clouds.
It has gotten cold on the street, brothers and sisters, and it will get colder still this winter. There was a young man, Luis, only 22 years old, coming to us at the corner of Church and State street in front of the Capitol. He didn’t have a coat, just a thin sweatshirt. Luis said he couldn’t stay at home anymore or they would have killed him or he would have killed them. Jamie and I prayed with him. I will have a coat for Luis, to keep him warm, next Saturday, Lord willing. Pray for Luis that he would come to the Lord, that he would be clothed with Christ, that he would find work, and that he might be reconciled to his family.
One night, there was no heat in the room where we slept in Romania. All my dreams that night were full of blue icicles. I looked at the surrounding, snow-covered Carpathian hillsides in the morning, strangely and hauntingly beautiful, like a scene from Doctor Zhivago, and realized winter had never before so left its icy blue mark on me. Ever since, I have endeavored to give coats to the needy in winter because I have not forgotten what it meant to be so cold that single night.
Charlene thanked Sheri and I for the coat and hat and gloves we gave her. It always surprises me when someone thanks me for something. It actually causes some embarrassment because I know our gratitude belongs to the “Fount of Every Blessing”; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Praise God!
I am grateful for all the great people I have come to know serving our friends downtown. Spurgeon believed our lives should be lived Coram Deo, in the presence of God. Serving together on the street, we come into His presence.
John Wesley at the age of 35 in 1738, who had been snug and comfortable with his books, his private, lukewarm theology, attended a reading of Luther’s preface to the Book of Romans at Oxford, in which the great changes that faith in Christ works in the believer’s heart were described. Suddenly, Wesley felt his own heart “strangely warmed.” He soon realized that the ”ocean of wickedness” flooding the land could not be emptied a drop at a time, but only the proclamation of the righteousness of God could stem the tide. Wesley became a tireless evangelist, riding 20,000 miles on his horse around England to spread the gospel, and led a revival, reaching countless souls for Christ. I suppose he was rarely cold then, with his heart on fire for the Lord!
Terry and Jamie had the chance to pray for two couples. One couple was expecting and needed guidance. How could they keep a baby on the street, without a home? How could Mary give birth in a stable? Heavenly Father, we lift this couple up before you, we give thanks because you know them and you knew this baby also before he or she was even formed in the womb. Fearfully and wonderfully made! Please protect and provide for this homeless couple, for their baby, according to your good purposes. May the child be born healthy. And if they cannot take care of this baby, give them the love, strength and courage to give the child up for adoption.
In Romania, there were many orphans. There was a law under communism that every able-bodied woman must have six children for the Romanian Workers Army or be fined. The poor women would have the children, to avoid the fine, but would then abandon them because they could not afford to provide for so many mouths to feed. We visited a Christian orphanage and we wanted to adopt all the abandoned children there, but could not even adopt one after Romania closed its borders to foreign adoption. I dreamed one night that I and Mihai, a boy who was living in a building without a roof before he was brought to the orphanage, who we had applied to adopt but were denied when the country was closed to adoption, were floating on a raft upon the Black Sea, drifting on the tides toward freedom. So, my heart goes out to this couple who are trying to have a family without a home for one. Please pray for them, that they might live my dream, take passage across the Black Sea of despair and poverty, borne on the tides of grace and mercy, to find freedom in the truth of the Lord Jesus, may His name be praised with gratitude by everyone He saves!
And that is the Word on the Street!
For more information, or to learn how to join us in reaching people for Jesus, please email Living Water’s Director of Outreach, Mike Bongo, at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will get you plugged in! You will be blessed as you become a blessing to others!