Bless the Food
In January 2016, the ladies went to share Jesus in California for two weeks. They started with San Francisco and ended with Los Angeles. Here’s what transpired in Los Angeles:
Watts & South Central
As soon as we arrived in LA, we took the opportunity to engage with our Uber driver and the lady who helped us at the car rental as Bevelyn had a specific word for her. The next day, Bevelyn wanted to hit Compton (you probably know why) and surprisingly we did not see much going on there.
We then decided to go to Watts and were not disappointed. As we walked the streets to love people and give out Bibles, we were chased down by a man who asked us if we were selling the bibles and we obviously said no. We gave him a Spanish Bible and prayed with him. As we continued deeper into the area, we ran into a woman on her way to her car. Edmee stopped her, looked her in the eye and told her she needed to read Redeeming Love. The book is about a woman sold into prostitution but redeemed by the love of Jesus. As Edmee explained the plot, the woman began to cry. We started praying with her, hugged her, gave her the book and a Bible. We, unfortunately, were interrupted by a man who kept telling us they had to go.
As we continued, we met a group of people and started visiting with them. It was not long before one of them said they were hungry and asked for food. Come to find out the whole group wanted to eat. So we asked what they wanted: Some good old fried chicken from Mr. Lee’s Market (you can smell the fried chicken a block away). As we got back, one man said: “we need to bless the food”. So we did. We all held hands to pray and served lunch. As the group started to eat, we were asked to pray and lay hands on the sick. What a glorious time we had in Watts!
In South Central, we saw a public school Bevelyn felt we needed to go to. As we got in, a lady asked us what we wanted. “We came from New York and Maine to see what the Lord would have us do. We saw the school and we want to share the gospel.” As you can imagine, she politely suggested we go to charitable organizations. We asked her if she was a Christian and she said yes. That’s when we encouraged her to let her light shine and be Christ in the school. We also challenged her not to let political correctness get in the way of the Gospel. She was thankful, and we were blessed to sharpen iron with her.
Greater LA Veterans Hospital
One morning we decided to hit Rodeo Drive. We had few encounters there but felt things were going slow. Jessica suggested we minister to veterans. The question was where. We looked up a VA facility and ended up at the US Veterans Affairs Department. As soon as we arrived, the security officer who also happened to be a veteran opened up to us and shared his desire to serve other veterans like him. We encouraged him and also told him what we had in mind. He more than welcomed us into the building. We had so much favor! No bureaucracy got in the way of loving on our soldiers that day.
We were further directed to the Greater Los Angeles VA Hospital. And lo and behold, we had carte blanche to go from room to room and visit with the patients. Every visit was a winner as we heard the veterans tell their stories, shared the love of Christ, prayed and laid hands on them. With so much favor on our side, we realized that we needed to come back every other evening. On our first night, we met Alfred, Bill, Dave and Mr. X aka Mr. It’s My Prerogative with whom we had a blast. A former Soul Train dancer, Mr. X (we could not believe that his medical records also said “Mr. X”) solely refused prayer. “It’s my prerogative” he would say. So we decided to sing, and he was a happy camper. While singing, a nurse burst into the room and said: “I’d recognize the Holy Ghost anywhere!!!”
Meeting this woman was such a blessing! We visited her church that Sunday and went to her house and spent the whole day enjoying her family, playing spades and having a lovely dinner. Later that evening we went out to Figueroa Street to share Jesus with the prostitutes who were out on the strip working. Most were receptive and to the glory of God, one of them decided to go home that night.
The Skid Row area is mind blowing. Known to have the highest concentrated homeless population in the United States, Skid Row attracts people in need of social help and those who prey on that very need. It is a haven for drug dealers and drug users. Ministering in rough areas of Baltimore, Detroit, Trenton or even in The Tenderloin had given us a grid for what to expect on our way there, but no amount of experience could have prepared us for such a place as Skid Row. The Love of Jesus prepared us.
Bibles in hand, we started on 5th Street in the middle of a gated park full of people, mostly men, playing cards, gambling, dealing drugs. Bevelyn and Edmee engaged in a conversation with two young men. One of them admitted that he didn’t even “have” to live this lifestyle. He came from a good family with parents that had been married for 30 years. Even in this positive upbringing, he still chose to sell drugs. We could tell he was hungry for God. He even asked if he could go to church with us. In the meantime, Jessica befriended a little boy named Jodeci. They played tags and other games. They were having so much fun. It was the saddest and yet the most beautiful thing to see: Sad because no 5-year-old should be running around in such an environment but beautiful because, in the midst of it all, you could hear the most innocent laughter making us forget everything that was going on around us.
We spent time with more people who asked for Bibles and prayers and continued to hang in the park until it was time for the people to go to the Union Rescue Mission. We were allowed to volunteer inside the building and so we continued to visit with folks. On our way out, we encouraged the security guard to look to the Lord even in his relationships. We prayed with him and promised we would come back with a movie entitled War Room. As we came back the next day to bring the DVD and minister some more in the area, we met a man who was intoxicated. He happened to wear a shirt that said: “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” Bevelyn had a sharp word for him. She challenged him to be the man of God he is meant to be. As we were praying for him, another man joined in. This man ended up sharing how Jesus delivered him and how he wanted so much to help others in the community.
This encounter was one of the last we had in California. We are so thankful to God for the role He gave us in advancing His Kingdom. What a King!
Matthew 5.13-16 reads “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.“
Jesus did not give a specific time, place or setting for us to let our light shine. Letting our light shine is a matter of BEING who we already are in Christ. This light should never be controlled by the government, society, politics, the board of education, the entertainment industry and so on… None of these entities went on the cross for the world. Jesus did.