Posted by: Asha Davé | July 4, 2009

Day Forty (God Bless America)

I cannot believe a month has already gone by. In some respects, I feel like I just moved in, but in other ways, I feel like this is my home. I’ve learned so much, met so many awesome people, and been challenged by God more than ever before. I love Jeff Street. I love Louisville. I love living in a low-income neighborhood and bearing my neighbors’ burdens. I love Sojourn, our church. I love my roommates. Thank you, once again, for supporting me and sending me here.

Working at a homeless shelter that sees, sometimes, over 200 guests a day can definitely be overwhelming. Sometimes, people are mean. They’re impatient, ungrateful, rude, snappy, drunk, high, bruised and battered. But they are no different than me. They are sinners, and our only difference is that I have accepted grace; grace through Jesus Christ.

There is one man in particular I have made a special connection with. He, like many of the people who walk through our doors, was addicted to drugs and alcohol. One day, however, he decided to accept an invitation to church; he was helpless, homeless, had hit rock bottom, and realized he may never see his two sons again. He surrendered his life to God and is now using his gifts of writing and rhyming to offer hope. He has written over 75 poems and prayers and frequently shares them with the volunteers and other day shelter guests. He showed me one a few weeks ago, and I suggested that he make a book out of all of them. He was one step ahead of me…he had already written an introduction, designed a cover and knew what order he wanted them in. He told me he had no way to type them out or get them to a publisher though. At that moment, I felt that God had given me a computer for the sole purpose of typing those poems. I offered to type them and then submit the book to a publisher for review. I gave the completed manuscript to him and sent one to a Christian publishing company a few days. I’m not allowed to share his name in this letter, but when the book is published, I will let you know. Please pray for the book. He is an amazing guy, and his witness allows him to minister to those some of us may not be able to reach.

I have been learning so much about God’s sovereignty and timing over the past month. It’s so amazing to see that God chose this team, long before we were even born, to serve together in the summer of 2009. I have never seen the Body of Christ at work quite like this. Our different personalities, passions, ways of worshiping, convictions, and testimonies make our team complete. The advantage of this is true Christian community. I am so challenged by their ways of thinking, and I have learned so much through them. The disadvantage is that we all have very different personalities, we’re in very close quarters, and we’re together 24/7. Please pray that we would put aside our differences and be able to humble ourselves and give and receive grace.

I learn new things every day. God reveals Himself in new and exciting ways all the time, and, at times, I feel like I can’t keep up. I journal all the time so that I can remember every awesome thing that happens. Seeing the world through God’s eyes makes everything awesome. Please pray that I will be able to soak in and apply what I’ve learned this summer so I can take it back home and love Gainesville.

The single most important thing I have learned in the past month is the importance of repentance. It is the foundation of our faith. I know this sounds pretty simple. We learned about repentance in Sunday School, and when we prayed the prayer, we repented, right?

Well, I’m learning what it truly means to repent. To repent of my selfishness. To repent of my pride. To repent of my judgment and jealousy. I’ve learned that repentance is necessary to experience the best parts of a relationship with Jesus.

Repentance is the only way to truly hear God’s voice. He is everything that is good, so when we have sin in our hearts, we are distracted. That sin is like a big pair of ear muffs on our hearts. There is no way to really allow God to direct you and to speak to you unless your heart is pure. I’m not saying when you repent you’ll hear a booming voice from the sky, although I’m not saying that can’t happen. I just mean that your heart won’t be burdened. You are free and open to hear God in whatever way He chooses to reveal Himself; through a sermon, His Word, a friend, a Facebook message, whatever.

Repentance is the only way to have true Christian community. To repent is to humble yourself and admit when you’ve done something wrong. It’s hard, it’s awkward, and it’s hard not to let pride get in the way. But I’ve learned that humility leads to unity. When you place others’ feelings above your own, they will reciprocate, and unity happens.

Repentance is the only way to be refreshed, to be truly at peace within your heart and mind. “Therefore, repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19

Like every business and institution right now, Jefferson Street is really feeling a financial strain as well as a summer slump. All donations are tax-deductable and go directly towards changing the lives of the homeless and urban poor. If you are unable to give financially, please continue to pray for our team and our mission. Pray for humility, strength, and unity.

Thank you so much.

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