Each week, we host a little Bible study at a donut shop on South Ninth Street here in Modesto, California, for the community of people who live in the residential motels in this area. The woman in this picture is a friend of ours who lives at one of the motels. She suffers from profound mental illness, and she is rarely still or at peace. Today, quite unexpectedly, she walked into our Bible study, sat down, and quietly listened. At the end, our dear friend ‘Big Ron’ (aka the ‘Prayer Ninja’ I featured here a couple weeks ago) asked if he could pray with her. She quietly said, “Yes!” That’s when I snapped this photo.
She and Ron are two of the best reasons I can think of to come and be part of the BGM ‘Beards In Action’ outreach week here in Modesto, California. Folks like this will truly change your life. If you’d like more information about the trip (March 30-April 6) visit our blog or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love for you to be part of the team, and we’d love for you to meet our friends!
Dang. Couldn’t even make it through Ash Wednesday.
Beards In Action: Someone Has To Be Awesome.
I love my Dad. Sadly, however, he’s beardless. I have seen a picture of him in the 70s where he’s sporting goatee, but that’s the most facial hair I’ve ever seen on him. Pray for him, my bearded brethren. With this information in mind, is it okay if I tell a little story about him? Yes? Okay then.
My Dad’s a trucker, and has often found himself in places where he was able to take some small action, and be in the right place at the right time for someone. The other day, he told me about just such a time.
Dad was at a truck stop, and noticed a dirty, disheveled woman sitting in a booth in the restaurant area. She was slumped over and sleeping, and it saddened him to see her there. Obviously she was homeless, and apparently may have had some mental health and/or addiction issues going on. But really, what could he do for her? Not much, he supposed, and he almost walked on by.
But then he had another thought. He had met some of the people I count as friends here in Modesto, and seen how simple it can be to be a friend to someone in such a situation. Maybe he could at least buy her some food.
He didn’t want to wake her, so he asked the waitress if he could leave a few dollars for her to get something when she woke up.
“Oh, that’s so nice of you! But my shift is ending, so I couldn’t leave the money for the next girl,” said the waitress. “But I know this lady. I’ll get her up.”
The waitress walked over to the woman’s booth and put a hand on her shoulder.
The woman awoke.
“Betty? This man wants to buy you something to eat. Do you want something?”
Instantly the woman, Betty, perked up.
“Really? Oh that would be wonderful! Thank-you so much, sir!”
Betty ordered something to eat. Then my Dad had another thought. As a truck driver who frequented this particular truck stop chain, he had tokens available for use of the trucker’s showers. And Betty could really use a shower.
“I don’t know how to say this, but, uhm, if you wanted to make use of the showers, you can use my shower token,” he said.
Betty’s eye brightened. She was not offended in the least that someone noticed she needed a shower.
“Really? Oh yes, I’d love that!”
At this point, you should know that my Dad has a big heart, but he’s got quite an aversion to being dirty. He just can’t stand being in a situation where he has to be around anything “smelly”. Thankfully, however, he’s thrown himself into at least two different short-term outreach situations where he’s had to get out of his comfort zone and into a less-than-sanitary situation. I have photo evidence of about a dozen filth-covered street kids in Thailand hanging off of him like spider monkeys. It’s the happiest picture of him I’ve ever seen.
Betty was, well, pretty smelly.
She stood up and threw her arms around my father. “Thank-you so much!” she said.
Dad gulped away a slight gag reflex as he got a good whiff of Betty. “Oh, no problem!” chuckled Dad. He remembered those street kids, and he hugged her right back.
A while later, Betty walked back into the cafe. Unfortunately, she did not have a change of clothes, but she looked like a new person anyway. (“I kicked myself later,” my Dad admitted. “They had shirts and stuff for sale in the truck stop. I could’ve got her something.”)
Betty gave my Dad another great big hug, with tears in her eyes. “Thank-you so much,” she said. She smelled much better this time.
I tell you this story for two reasons, for two different truths that were at play in this little story. The first truth is that God can use us exactly where we are, everywhere we go. You don’t have to be on a missions trip to be used by God.
The second truth is that God also likes to take us to places we’ve never gone. My Dad absolutely loved each of the missions trips he’s been part of. He loved them so much that he wishes he could do something like that full time. But for now, he’s still a trucker, and God seems happy to use my Dad right where he is.
Paradoxically, to be a blessing right where he is, Dad drew upon the things he learned when he’d went away on an outreach trip. God took my Dad out of his comfort zone so that he could be more effective in the place where he’s most comfortable.
Perhaps we tend to swing from one of these two truths to the other. An opportunity comes along to serve in some kind of outreach experience, and we quickly dismiss it because it’s just not “realistic” and “God can use me right where I am.” On the other hand, maybe we look at what people in “full time ministry” are doing and think we could never do something like that. “It takes a special kind of person to do that!” we say, and fail to see the glorious opportunities in front of us every day to bless someone who desperately needs a little love.
So with all that in mind, what are you doing from March 30 to April 6?
You may have heard that we are organizing a ‘Beards In Action’ outreach trip here in Modesto, California. This could be the ‘out-of-my-comfort-zone’ experience you need. The trip is very affordable, and is guaranteed to both challenge and inspire you with ways you can be a blessing back home. We have plenty of room for last-minute additions to this little team, so if that piques your interest, please drop me a line.
But if you’re not able to join us for the trip, what are you doing from March 30 to April 6?
We would like to extend this ‘Beards In Action’ experience to everyone. Maybe there’s someone right there where you live who needs the encouragement that only you can give. So do a little brainstorming with some friends. Is there something you can do that would be a blessing? If we all share our ideas, we’re sure to find something great. Obviously we can be doing these things any time, but it’ll be fun to post and share some of these stories during that particular week as part of the ‘Beards In Action’ experience.
Maybe this is an opportunity to do something out of the ordinary, to go somewhere you’ve never gone and experience something new. Or maybe you have an opportunity to do something out of the ordinary right where you are. Either way, remember to be where you are with a purpose. Someone you haven’t met may need you in their life. If you’re breathing, you are being called to be in the right place at the right time for someone. Don’t miss your chance to take action. After all, someone has to be awesome. It might as well be you.
There’s awesome and then there’s awesome.
You know it’s the only reason she puts up with your shenanigans, don’t you fellas?
This is my friend Charles, celebrating his birthday a couple months ago at the donut shop on Ninth Street where we host a little Bible Study. On his birthday four years ago, he was alone in a city park, suffering a stroke. Two years ago, he started coming out to the Ninth Street Café (more on the Ninth Street Café here: http://ywam-modesto.blogspot.com/2012/07/from-9th-st-cafe-how-to-make-iced.html). He barely spoke a word, and mostly kept to himself. Today, he is loved and surrounded by community. He comes out every day to a daily prayer meeting held at the church he now calls home. He’s still a man of few words, but he’s always ready with a smile and a chuckle. He is a true brother and a real blessing to me and a lot of other people around here.
And I would love for you to meet him!
Please consider being a part of the upcoming ‘Beards In Action’ experience! For more info, check out this blog entry: http://beardedgospelmen.wordpress.com/, and shoot us an email at email@example.com.
No really. I’m SO interested.
Yes, it’s been a while since we’ve had a featured Bearded Gospel Man (and I promise to get to all those that have been waiting!), but today I wanted to feature a good friend of mine, Big Ron. I first met Ron at the Ninth Street Café, a kind of outdoor drop-in center we host for the street community here in Modesto, California. As I’ve gotten to know Ron, I’ve been amazed by his incredible gentleness, humility, and genuine love for people. He has been through a lot, and is far from wealthy, but he’s continually giving of himself to the people around him. Every week, I get to pray with Ron, and I’m always amazed at his prayers as he intercedes for people. I’ve jokingly dubbed him “the prayer ninja”.
He also has an incredible ability to offer prayer to strangers he meets in a way that is completely natural and unforced. He often tells us about people he’s met on the bus who opened up to him and invited him to pray for them. I think what makes his prayers so special is that there is absolutely nothing pretentious or forced about them. Have you ever met someone whose prayer is really just a way of preaching at you? Ron is the exact opposite of that. His prayers are a humble expression of a heart that truly cares. I hope I can be more like that.
I have another reason for posting his profile here, and that’s to encourage you to come and meet him! We first connected with Ron through our ministry with the street community, and you are invited to come be a part of that ministry through the Bearded Gospel Men “Beards in Action” trip! We’ve hosted a lot of teams from all kinds of churches and other groups here, and we’ve gotten pretty darn good at it! It doesn’t cost much and it’s a lot of fun. More than that, it can also be life changing.
You can find more info about the BGM “Beards in Action” experience here: http://beardedgospelmen.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/beards-and-burritos-the-plan-comes-together/
You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You know it’s true.
Beards and Burritos: The Plan Comes Together. -
Do you long for action? Excitement? Burritos? Well get ready, cuz here it comes!
New Blog! The BGM Outreach Experience!
Respect the Crew.
(Also the winner of our Facebook caption contest!)
From old Father Time to you.
Beards In Action: The First Official Bearded Gospel Men Outreach Trip -
Just a little something to get you thinkin’. We are looking at hosting our first official Bearded Gospel Men outreach this coming March!
This would be hosted by Youth With A Mission Modesto (www.ywammodesto.org). Have a look at our Facebook page and website if you’d like to get a feel for what a week of outreach with us would look like. We’ve hosted tonnes of teams, and every one has a fantastic time. A BGM team would be awesome!
If this piques your interest, email us at email@example.com. We’ll keep you posted on how it develops.
With all due respect to Prius owners…