As our team was preparing to go to Over-the-Rhine, my heart and mind were divided in many ways. My recurring prayer was for God to transform me with every encounter I had with him through our trainings, prayer times, and skit/craft prep. I also had the opportunity to preach a short children’s message on doubt and faith through the story of Abraham and Sarah during a Sunday service. While I was preparing the message, I was reminded of God’s faithfulness and was overwhelmed with thankfulness. I had no idea what God had in store so I prayed that I’d be flexible and willing to serve in whatever capacity that was needed.
In the first couple of days, we participated in street evangelism. One encounter that sticks out to me is when we met an elderly man who was in a wheelchair. While my partner was sharing the Gospel with him, he looked away, kept shaking his head, and pulled up his pants to expose his very swollen legs. Not only was he in pain but he felt alone in his pain. We paused for a minute and we shared that God loves him, hears him, cares for him and feels his pain. At that moment, the man’s demeanor changed. He started to nod and look at us. As we continued to walk around the community, I felt that God wanted his hurting and broken people to know that we are not alone and he loves and cares for us. There was such indescribable joy in being able to share about our God. I am incredibly humbled and grateful that God allows us to experience such joy in sharing and displaying the Gospel.
Towards the end of the trip, my mind was filled with what it meant to come back home from OTR. How did God want to use what we have experienced? I felt that we were coming back to a greater mission in Chicago. And to be honest, I was afraid to come back because with conviction comes a responsibility to obey. One thing I keep remembering is that as we were serving with 9 other churches, there was great unity in our mission. Living Water Church has such a presence in Over-the-Rhine that everyone I had talked to knew the church and its members. I believe this allowed us to have so many conversations with the locals. I am challenged to love my community (church, work, home) by sharing and displaying the Gospel and I am praying that TRC has unity in our mission to connect others to God’s story.