This morning I found myself praying, "Lord, please orcherstrate my day." (I try to make a regular habit of praying this, but recently for some reason, I'd dropped out of the habit. I decided to restart the habit today. Little did know what God had planned.)
I had sort of set the day apart to do a bunch of chores, some cleaning, some laundry, etc. Some sap had gotten on my car when I parked at BART earlier this week, so my husband wanted me to take my car out to have it washed... There is a Teen Challenge carwash (in the parkinglot of a Church) just about a mile from my house... so I decided to run out there between loads of laundry.
It started perfect.. there was no real line infront of me.. I would be next just as soon as they finished one car ahead of me and they were almost done. I got out of the car and stood in the shade.. and a few seconds later they began to wash it.. Then I realized something that made me shudder... I had locked my keys in in the car! Ed had to work today, and he'd left the house about 15 minutes before I did, so I knew he was at work... about a 1/2 hour drive from the house.
So I asked them if I could use the phone to call my husband, explaining that I'd left my keys in the car... and they explained the church was locked so I could not use the phone. I prayed briefly and decided I should walk across the street (there were several condos there) and ask someone if they'd let me use their phone. I prayed for the Lord to show me which condo to go to, and selected the one I felt God wanted. I knocked at the door.
"Yes???" a woman's voice called from inside. She did not even come to the door. So I knocked again.
"What you do want?" she asked.. I still could not see her. I told her I'd locked my keys in the car at the car wash across the street and asked if I could please use her phone to call my husband. I assured her it was a local call.
"Just a minute," she said. "I'll get my phone." She appeared at the door a few minutes later. She had a friendly face, but she did not know me and was perhaps a tad leery of a stranger at her door asking for a favor. She dialed the number for me and then handed me the phone.
Needless to day, my husband was less than thrilled, but agreed to come and unlock the car for me.
I gave her back the phone and thanked her. She invited me to come in for a few minutes, then she offered me a cup of coffee. She was very friendly and very nice, and I could not help but like her. As we chatted, it turned out that she works at University of Santa Clara, where I had done some graduate work towards an MBA. Her daughter, 22 years old and an only child (just like me), and was interested in walking for exercise.. and I'd been looking for someone to walk with... so we exchanged phone numbers. I believe the Lord orcherstarted this relationship and He will open doors for me to minister to them later on.
That would have been enough to make my day.. but God had even more planned!
I walked back to the carwash, since Ed should be arriving soon. Somehow he got held up for over an hour, and I ended up waiting quite a while. Since I was waiting, the "supervisor" for the carwash (e.g,. Teen Challenge staff member) came over and started talking to me. We both have a real ferverency for the Lord, so we hit it off pretty well. He shared some of what the program is doing in people's lives and I got to share a bit of what God is doing on the missions field.. including stories from India and South Africa. After a while, someone who was clearly retarded walked up and tried to join the conversation.. Fred had a lovely heart but was a bit lacking in social graces. We listened as he shared his enthusiasm for the Lord and then God impressed me to pray for him. I asked Fred if I could lay hands on him and pray for him and he was all for it. So, I invited Reuben (the staff member I'd been chatting with) to join me in praying. I did a a blessing prayer and with a bit of prophecy thrown in. Then Reuben prayed.. his prayer was pretty spirit led as well.. and the Holy Spirit was all over Fred... you could see it visibly. It was fun to get to minister in such an unexpected place, but God was not through orcherstarting my day. He had even more!!!
Ed came and brought the keys, and left again. Then I went to thank Reuben and say goodbye. He asked me if I'd like to come minister at Teen Challenge.. saying he would like to arrange that for me because he believed that God had given me an anointing that would really minister to the men in the program. (I had been feeling God's prompting to minister there for the past hour, but had no idea of how to graciously offer my services, so I had not said anything to Reuben). And here God goes and arranges it for me.. it looks like we will start me ministering at chapel once a month, and maybe consider once a week after we see how it goes. Again, the Lord comes through in a neat way!! Wow.
But God was still not done!
We'd been talking over an hour now and God was clearly orcherstarting it. Then he opened up and shared a bit of his own testimony. He had come out of a life of crime and had turned his life over to Jesus. God had transformed him.. but some of his past was still hanging over his head. He had been given permission from his probation officer to enrole in Teen Challenge's ministry training program. He had graduated and was serving his internship. He had been under the impression that the internship was a paid position but it was not. He was trusting God to provide. It turns out the court gave him permission to relocate to Oakland (from Oregon) for this internship thinking it as a paid job. He owned about $2000 in penalties and fines and was supposed to start paying it back. The first $400.00 was restitution money to go to the victum of one of his crimes. He fully intended to send it and was suprised to find that he was not receiving a salary during his internship. He had just been informed that a warrent was issued for his arrest because he had not paid the first installment ($400.00) that he owed. He had been really shaken yesterday, but had decided to trust God to somehow make a way. As we were speaking, the Holy Spirit whispered to me and told me to pay the $400.00 for him. I was going to offer to write him a check, but God said "NO, don't do it that way.. I will show you."
So I asked him if he had a checking account. He did not. I asked him how he was going to get pay the fine if he could not write a check. He said he figured he'd mail the cash to his probation officer when God provided it. He had the "paperwork" at home, but was hoping his probation officer would take care of it if he got the money to him. Then God told me what to do... So I told Reuben to call me this evening and give me the info, and I'd write him a check for $400.00, payable to "who" the paper said to pay. I thought he was going to faint... I love it when God uses me to help provide for someone!
We talked a bit after that about evangelism. Suddenly he got this really startled look on his face and said "Oh My Goodness!"
"What?" I asked.
"I just realized something!!" He looked so startled that I thought maybe there was a major emergency he had to deal with. Then he told me this story:
I had been talking to my mother on the phone last night. She was trying to convince me that working for teen challenge is NOT God's will for me, and wanted me to resign my internship and come home, where I could get a paying job. I almost left last night. I was feeling so low. Deep down I knew God wanted me here, but now I was beginning to doubt.
My mom prayed for me on the phone last night. She said, "Lord, I don't think it is your will for Reuben to be down there working at teen challenge. If it really is your will for him, then show me and show him by providing the money for his fine in less that a week."
Well, that was less than 24 hours ago, and God already provided the money.. at least the first payment that I would have gotten arrested if I do not make right away!
This means it really **is** God's will for me. I came so close to leaving last night and I would have missed His will for me!
But God provided, in a way I would have never dreamed! And now I KNOW this is God's will for me to work at Teen Challenge!
What a story!! Isn't God awesome! Reuben can hardly wait to share God's provision with the guys in the program team challenge. They have a meeting at 9:00 PM this evening, and he hopes to share it with them them.. he is sure this story will inspire some of them to not give up but keep on trusting God!
Isn't God wonderful!! It is only 4:30 PM.. I can't hardly wait to see if God will orcherstarte anything else for me today.. it is back to doing household chores until He comes up with His next "preempt" of my schedule.
I sure love serving Him!! He is such a wonderful God.
11:30 PM (same day):
Well, God had more for me. At 9:00 PM I got a call from Reuben. He had the paperwork for his court fees (where his probation would be terminiated if he did not pay them) so I drove down to the Teen Challenge center to write him a check, arriving at 9:30 PM. Of course, God wanted to orcherstrate more than that for this evening. I got to meet some of the rest of the staff and the director. Then they were serving dinner (at 10:0 PM), so I was invited to dinner. I was on a diet, so I passed on dinner, but decided to have some coffee with them.
I had the priveledge of being there when Reuben shared his testimony of how God had provided his urgent need. And he is a natural born preacher and story teller.. he told the testimony so well... everyone's attention was rivotted on him. And you should have seen the level of faith raise in the room as He shared what God had done. After he finished sharing, I also got to share a few words. So I told them how the provision came from God, and I was just a vessel. I shared how Reuben had choosen to put his faith in God instead of in circumstances and that is why God met Reuben and answered is prayers in such a dynamic way. Then I told them that God will meet them just like He met Reuben if they put their faith in God instead of letting the circumstances get them down.
Several of the guys wandered up to thank me for "being sensitive to God's leading." When the first one came up, I felt impressed to pray for him, and many of the others were standing around watching. THe power of God hit this person and they were almost slain in the spirit, even thought there was not a catcher. Well, the others saw me praying and suddenly they all wanted prayer. I would say that atleast half the men in the program came up for prayer.. and I got to pray for many and also talk to each one individually and prophecy to some of them. We had an impromptu ministry time in the kitchen, and God showed up BIGTIME. Some fairly powerful ministry went forth.. I was amazed and delighted at what God chose to do there that evening. (My favorite passtime is doing ministry, so I felt like a kid in a candy store.) The impromtu ministry time went on for well over an hour.
It was so much fun.. and in most cases the Holy Spirit moved on them in very tangible ways. One fellow told me "I was not going to have you pray for me, but as I walked by you, I could feel the power of God coming forth from you, and I knew I had to have you pray for me." I was having so much fun ministering that I had not even thought about the fact that there was a tangible power of God present until he mentioned it! God was doing a lot of good stuff, and it was so much fun to do it with Him! I enjoyed myself emensely.
And I was so well recieved.. they were all so open and eagar to receive.. and they are looking forward to having me come back. The director wants to set it up for me to be able to come and minister at their tuesday morning Chapel from time to time, so he is going to call me during the week.
I am excited about the door the Lord seems to be opening for me... I am glad that I invited the Lord to orcherstrate my day.. and even glader that He took me up on the offer!
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