Like many of our communities in America, a once very vibrant neighborhood has experienced un-welcomed change. When we first released the following story of Enchanted Lakes, many generalizations were made about this community, which we realized shouldn't have been made.
We reach out to communities all over the world, bringing the hope and light of Jesus. Enchanted Lakes is a community we love and care about and will continue to encourage through ongoing service.There is always a story behind the story. We may never know all the reasons for a neighborhood to experience a decline, but we can always offer hope. God can redeem anything! We are grateful for the glimpse of His redeeming power through the life of one little girl and her gift to one of our outreach team members.
The following story was originally published in July of 2017
A group of us from YWAM Tyler went on an outreach to Enchanted Lakes to serve with mercy ministries. We cut hair, handed out food, and provided medicine for those in need.
While we were there, a group of us were playing games with the kids from the area. One little girl who came was named Krista. It was cold outside and she came bundled up in her Dad's huge jacket; she looked to be about nine years old. She was precious and sweet to the other kids there.
We drew on the sidewalk with chalk together, and she was telling me how much she loves art and wants to be an artist when she grows up. I then remembered we brought some toys for the kids. So we went to see if they had any art supplies.
Much to my excitement they had a coloring book and box of crayons. Perfect for Krista! When she received her gift, she told me with tears in her eyes that she had no art supplies at home, but now she is free to draw whatever she likes.
I then asked her more about her living conditions. She told me that her family currently didn’t have a home. Regardless of her situation, she refused to see herself as a victim and was handling her living conditions with much grace.
While we were coloring in her book together, Krista asked me why I was there helping them. I explained to her that I travel around loving people and telling them about Jesus. Her eyes lit up! She expressed that she would love to do that! She loves Jesus and her greatest desire was to go to church again.
Ecstatic, I then asked her why she doesn't go to church and how she knew Jesus. She told me that her family attended a church when they lived somewhere else but haven't gone in a few years. It was clear Krista loved Jesus and missed going to church. She even shared about reading her Bible every night by herself and praying for her family.
I asked more questions to see what her understanding of a personal relationship with God was. I shared how I turned to God for everything, that He wants to talk with me all the time, and that I rely on Him to give me comfort, joy, hope, and peace when I am scared, angry, hurt, or feel alone. She told me that she did too! God is the one she turns to when she is in need, and she loves to talk to Him and desires to know Him better!
After sharing my favorite Bible story with her, I asked her what was her favorite part of the story. She gave me an answer I will never forget. "My favorite part was when Esther found the courage to go before the King and save the Jews because if she didn't, God would have had to step in, and He would have had to kill someone."
Wow! That is the foreshadowing of Jesus in the Old Testament! I was shocked to say the least. I asked her if she understood that was an example of why Jesus had to come. Jesus came to forgive our sins and to rescue us from death. He came to reconcile us to the Father.
She exclaimed, "Yeah, that's why I love Jesus!"
Before parting, I asked her if I could pray for her, and her only condition was if I would allow her to pray for me as well. When she prayed over me she said, "Most of all God, I pray my friend will never forget you."
Wow, just wow. My favorite outreach story from my time with YWAM. Such a humbling and beautiful experience.
Help us reach out to more communities around our country and world. Get training in how to bring the hope of Jesus to those who desperately need a friend. Our Lives at Risk DTS and our URBAN DTS missionary training schools are a great place to get started.