Here I am again, wandering around aimlessly, at around 7:30pm in downtown Newcastle. It’s winter-cold, the unfamiliar streets are lit like amber, and strangers pass by ever so often. And we’re expected to stop and tell these strangers about Jesus.
Evangelism is a term that I don’t remember learning. Walking around in public places and stopping to talk to people you’d never met before– it was a normal-enough concept. I’d heard dozens of stories, if not hundreds, about miracles happening on the streets.
I knew that so many people’s lives had turned around because someone was brave enough to let go of reputation, and simply listened to God.
However, it’s not my forte, just even talking to people. At least that’s what I tell myself as I’m walking with Stephanie and Peter, with ukulele in hand. I mean, I wouldn’t have even have an instrument with me, unless we had stopped to pray the first night we learned about evangelism. In the past, I thought in order to love people I had to be something other than myself. Whereas, tonight I have to remember that all I need to be is myself, and let God be the rest.
So I find myself sitting on the steps underneath the glowing Presbyterian steeple, strumming my ukulele and singing with two friends as three skaters assemble their boards. Rap beats had previously filtered from their speaker system, but as Peter tuned the uke, it went strangely silent. As we sing How He Loves to the quiet street, Stephanie goes to talk to a security guard, and is able to pray for a new job for him. The skaters smile as they leave, and I ask myself, Why did I let them go without talking to them?
Oh, I don’t want to miss another opportunity, especially when I’m feeling this nudge.
It’s almost time to meet up with the other teams. On our way back, there’s a young man alone at a bus stop– looking tired– and I half-expect that a bus is going to take him away any second. And I don’t know who was more surprised– him or myself– when I suddenly reached out my hand and asked, “What’s your name?”.
He had just finished his shift at a restaurant we passed earlier– an apprentice chef. I told him that, It might sound random, but I am a Christian and believe God speaks– and God wanted to say to him, “You’re wonderful”. He shook his head with a sad smile.
Yet through our conversation, we saw him come wonderfully alive as he chatted about his passion– food!– and told us how it’s so important to make mistakes as we learn.
And for the first time a young cook heard that Jesus was not just a swear word in the kitchen, but a man who loved him enough to die for him.
And by the time his bus pulls up, the four of us are sitting cross-legged on the brick sidewalk, laughing like old friends.
It’s here it hits me– this is what Jesus must have done, and still does– He loves to just be with people, completely and utterly Himself.
It’s the overflow of that presence that He provides what we need, and shows us where we’re meant to be.
Therefore, I realise, we were never just wandering around aimlessly. Jesus has been walking with us all along.
This post is the fourth in a new blog series by Kayla Norris who is one of our Music & Arts DTS students. In the series she will be sharing her experience as she goes through a DTS here. From things like lectures, community living, to outreach we hope it gives you a closer look at what a DTS with YWAM is like.