I spent much of the past 12 years sitting at a desk in the office of Mesa Baptist Church staring at my computer. Although I have found myself ahead of the game when it comes to my task list, I felt restless and often wondered if I was making any difference at all in the world. Jesus tells his disciples to “GO!” and I wanted to be obedient to that command while, at the same time, not neglecting my responsibilities as a staff member.
That’s when my search began. I started looking for a place where I could bring my work and yet be present in the world around me. After trying many different establishments, I stumbled on a little restaurant in downtown Chandler and last fall it became my office away from the office.
Now the challenge began as I wondered if God could use me to make a difference in the lives of the people who worked there. The first gal I met was Jazzlyn and since they don’t wear name tags there, I immediately wrote down her name in my journal. I began to pray for Jazzlyn each time I sat at the table to study.
Meeting the people who worked there was a slow process as they were so unfriendly. When I did call them by name they looked at me like I was a creeper and so my enthusiasm for frequenting this little restaurant began to wane. I had been going there 2-3 times a week for 6 months and felt like I was still unknown as the only person who even acknowledged me was the owner, Mata.
Then one day as I drove to the Chop Shop to study I began praying and asking God if this was really where He wanted me or if He was leading me to another place to frequent. His answer became loud and clear that day.
As I approached the counter to order the young man said to me, “You come here often, don’t you?” He proceeded to tell me that they were working on their customer service and wanted my suggestions which I gave. We chatted a few moments and then I went to my table to begin to study. As he brought my lunch he made himself at home in the chair across from me and made note of the fact that I study each time I come. He then proceeded to tell me about his beliefs and that he had a lot of questions about what the Bible has to say.
After we spoke for a while I went back to my study which happened to be in Joshua 6 and the walls of Jericho. As I prepared to teach, God had made that story come to life that day in my own life.
As Joshua prepared for the defeat of Jericho several things took place. First he was given direction by God as to where and how the battle would be fought. Then he prepared himself, and his people, for the battle. They were told to first be silent as they marched and then finally to shout. As they shouted, God allowed the victory for the people as they took Jericho.
That story echoed my own as God led me to the place where He is longing for victory along with preparing me for the people who worked there. Then He had me be silent for six months as I prayed for them. Finally, there came a day when I was allowed to shout and share His truth with a young man named Emilo.
The victory is a slow process but God is at work. He is teaching me that my part in reaching out to the world is not to take the place of the Holy Spirit moving, but to simply be obedient and aware of the circumstances around me.
We live in a world full of hurting people who have some pretty crazy beliefs. God is showing me that through my willingness to “GO” He will use me to share His truth. I am looking forward to the day when Emilo says, “I am ready to trust to Jesus.” But until then I will keep praying, keep sharing, and keep studying at my favorite little restaurant, The Chop Shop.