Friday was the First Day of Summer. It was a hot Friday night but not as hot as it could have been. The high for the day was only 93. There was a strong breeze blowing and that made it a little less of the dreaded hot, sticky heat.
We started out with some electrolyte popsicles for the people that were there waiting on us. As soon as everything was set up we got started. Jerred always prays over the food to begin. Then it is time for live praise and worship. It is a beautiful thing to sing praises to the Lord. It is wonderful to see other people’s mouths moving, knowing that they are singing along. As the music plays people line up at the window of the truck to get a bowl of food, it was zesty rice and beans with brisket. They move to a table at the back of the truck where they add hot sauce and salt and pepper. And they always add it. Then they get some cookies and a drink. Next they find a place to sit and eat or stand and eat, usually in a shaded spot. Some will go back for seconds and thirds and fourths. We will give them more food as long as the food lasts. Once the singing starts, people seem to come out of the woodwork. This Friday night there seemed to be a constant stream of people at the window wanting food and at the back table asking for cookies or more lemonade.
After the last song, Jerred began his message for the night. He had an illustration for the message and needed all of the team to assist him(we were his visual aids.) He gave a message that illustrated the spirit, soul, and body of man and the ways that the enemy comes against man. Many people were drawn in by the message. They were touched by the realization of what they had just seen and heard. Jerred’s message ended with a powerful altar call.
After Jerred is finished on the microphone there is more praise and worship. At that point, we open up the back of the truck and people can come and receive clothing, shoes, socks, underwear, and hygiene supplies. This Friday the truck was stocked up with t-shirts of every size, shorts and jeans of a large variety of sizes for men and women, underwear for men and women, socks, several pairs of shoes, sheets (it’s too hot for blankets), bags, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and baseball caps. As one of the team members related to me later, “It’s nice when you can make almost everyone happy.”
As things went on the people filtered away and the light began to dim. All the things had to be packed back into the truck so that we would be ready to roll down the road to our next stop.
We took a quick pit stop at a convenience store and then from there we headed to the bus station. On our way, we saw a man lying down in a parking lot and we drove up and gave him some food. We later served several people at the bus station. One of our team members likes to say that, “At the bus station we can be missionaries without traveling.” Friday night we saw mainly saw people who were traveling to Dallas.
We went to the jail next where we gave a pair of shoes to a young man who had just been released. We served several waters and quite a few bowls of food there as well. We always offer prayer when we feed people but even if they won’t bow their heads in agreement with us we know that prayers have been said over the food and its recipients. Our next two stops were some bridges where people are sleeping. We gave out food and water. We gave out t-shirts and shorts. We prayed prayers with these people and shined a light in the darkness. As we pulled away from the bridges we had less than ten bowls of food left.
We drove back south toward where our team had parked their cars and we came across a man in a very remote area. We pulled up and gave him some food. He was grateful for the food but more than that he was surprised that anyone cared. As we pulled around the corner to leave that alleyway, there was another man lying outside, waiting for sleep to come. We offered him some food and he was grateful to have it. Although our encounters with these men were short, actions speak louder than words. I truly believe these men got the message.
In the last ten minutes of our time in the streets, we came across a man walking and asked him if he was hungry. He replied that we had perfect timing because he was very hungry! This Friday had been one of the longer ministry nights ending at nearly midnight but what a great night!! It is a comforting feeling to be tired at night knowing that you accomplished the things God sent you out to do!