Story City Day 1
By: Boogie Butler, North Campus Family Pastor
Our smiles and handwritten notes were met with some thankful gestures, but with more strange looks who wondered what we expected in return.
After a 4 hour flight across the country, our team hit the ground running. We went first to pray over the city of LA at the Griffith Observatory. There we heard the vastness and lostness of this big city. There is one church for every 23,000 people! As vast as this valley is as we look over from atop the Hollywood Hills, the wide neighborhoods are each unique and have great needs.
Our work began at the Echo Lake Park, which housed people enjoying paddle boats, running through the neighborhoods, parents strolling their kids to the parks, all alongside the multiple homeless and needy. Our smiles and handwritten notes were met with some thankful gestures, but with more strange looks who wondered what we expected in return. A simple gesture is not seen in many places around LaLaLand, especially one done without reciprocation.
Our team was asked to prepare their testimony and have it prepared to give to anyone as the need arose. With three rookies on our team, it took a few conversations to seem normal.
Still to come this week is a visit to local schools, knocking on doors to invite to Story City's Easter services, and handing out Girl Scout cookies for free! These selfless gifts of love are the seed to know what they’ve been missing; Jesus’ love.
By: Stephanie Kail
What is it about 'mission work' that we are so drawn to? Being in a foreign city still brings an element of excitement, an eagerness and reckless abandonment to go share the gospel of Jesus, even if it is a stateside mission, 2,000 miles west of rural West Tennessee and still within the confines of the continental US. A week devoted to mission work brings into clear focus, the narrow window of time we have at hand to speak Truth to so many lost souls. While the task truly is large and looming, it is so very exciting!! I am eager as can be to work long and hard to share the gospel here in Los Angeles.
This being my first ever 'official' mission trip, I have been forewarned that the experience of the mission often changes the heart and soul of the worker more than expected, so I have been eager to listen to the sound of the One speaking to my heart while I am here. It is also in my birth state of California. It is both foreign and familiar to me now.
This being my first ever 'official' mission trip, I have been forewarned that the experience of the mission often changes the heart and soul of the worker more than expected
Many of the people we met and spoke with today are just like the person I used to be...lost. That is not stating that these people were good or bad, just separated from Christ, like I once was. As I sit here and reflect on our first 'work day,' my heart is feeling the tug I had been forewarned of and anticipated.
However, it is conviction I am experiencing. A certain and familiar pruning from Christ. My heart is stirring with the term 'fraudulently loving others'. I have made eye contact today, I have smiled and with an open heart accepted these individuals where they are in their brokenness, without judgment; just a loving invitation to sit at the table with the One who changes everything. But the term isn't leaving my thoughts...What about the next step? Is a smile in the park enough? Am I really willing to give that kind of time to 'the loving and serving of others?' What about the people in my neighborhood, in my nearby parks, my neighbors? Am I just 'getting by' in sharing the Gospel by inviting someone to a special event at church, doing the very least I can to consider it worthy of a gold star on the Good Deeds of the Christian wall chart? Am I loving deeply enough? If those people who I gave a genuine and warm smile today, were to grace the doors of my church this weekend, would I cover them with joy and welcome them into my church family while they are still lost...while they are still messy? How am I loving the lost? How are we as a church loving the lost?
Our mission here this week is to make eye contact, be relational, and plant seeds. There are a number of assignments planned for us this week, but that is the premise: plant the seeds, engage and invite the lost into a fellowship with believers so the Truth can be shared with them on an ongoing basis.