Isn’t it funny how the Lord puts you in situations to train you well before you ever need the training? When my mom first brought me out on the sidewalks with Cities4Life 7 years ago, there were a lot of my friends (and hers) who thought she was crazy for putting a 13-year-old on a sidewalk in front of an abortion clinic. Who does that, right?
But the Lord knew that I needed it. He knew I needed to experience seeing people in their worst moments. He knew I needed to see people with no one around them who cared about them. He knew that He needed to strike my heart with HIS compassion, HIS care, and HIS love for broken people. Now, 7 years later, He’s been using that training and passion for broken people in a new way.
This summer I’ve had the privilege to serve with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Rapid Response Team. The RRT was developed following the attacks of 9/11, and since then has grown into an international network of chaplains in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Canada who are specifically trained to respond to crisis situations, including natural and man-made disasters. These chaplains are volunteers who deploy all over the world whenever the need arises.
During my summer internship with the RRT, I’ve been able to deploy twice; once to a mass shooting in Virginia Beach, VA and once to flooding in Catawba County, NC. On both of these deployments, I saw people truly in the worst moments of their lives. From losing childhood photos in a flood to attending the funeral of their spouse; these people were broken. What do you say in moments like that? What do you say when you finally get a car to stop in the street outside the busiest abortion clinic in the Southeast? What do you say when someone has lost their wife to a shooting at her workplace? What do you say when someone is pregnant and has no support? Don’t these sound similar? Every one of these is a crisis, and every one of these has only 1 permanent answer:
The opportunity to be present when someone has hit rock bottom, to be the one they talk to, to be the one they ask “Is there a God? Does He love me?” is one of the greatest honors I’ve ever had. But you don’t have to deploy to a mass shooting to face crisis situations. Statistics say that 70% of people are in the middle of a personal crisis. Crisis response is something every believer will face in his or her life. The Lord, in His graciousness, orchestrates our lives to put us in positions where we get to be His mouthpiece of comfort and His arms of support, what a great privilege!
My experiences have forced me to rely on Him during my internship, as well as preparing me for my next step of ministry: RA to 90 girls (prayers & tissue donations appreciated!). As I move forward into whatever ministry lies ahead, I know that the Lord has used my experiences on the sidewalk, with the RRT, and beyond to prepare me for what He’s got in store.
*I am not posting this as a representative of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, or any of the Graham family.
Like Alexandra mentioned above, the Lord was preparing her for other areas of life and ministry by placing her on the sidewalks. You see, if we don’t exercise our spiritual muscles they don’t grow as they should. Being on the sidewalks at an abortion clinic isn’t easy but it does get us out of our comfort zone. It’s outside of our comfort zone that the Lord often uses us and helps us grow.
Maybe the Lord is calling you to step out of your comfort zone. Consider volunteering with Cities4Life. Thankfully we have seasoned sidewalk counselors that will be there by your side as you step into that calling. Of course, another way you could help is to donate by supporting our sidewalk counselors with a monthly or one-time gift. Either way, step out and watch the Lord work through you.