Five high school students (Kira Ellis, Shanny Nelson, Max Lohr, Jack Mooers, and Peter Harano), a high school parent (Jane Gibbs), myself, and Dan Wendell, recently partnered with City Impact in San Francisco. City impact is an organization that works specifically in the worst part of San Francisco, the Tenderloin District. This part of San Francisco is home to 36,000 people of which many are homeless, on drugs, and/or living in despair. City Impact exists to intervene on the behalf of the people in this part of San Francisco by: providing relief for those in urgent need, rehabilitation for those wanting a way out, and development to ensure the cycles of poverty and despair are not repeated.
This was no ordinary trip. We experienced moments that were a first for most if not all of us. We fed the homeless on our first evening there, by walking through the streets of the Tenderloin handing out meals, while praying for those who said yes to being prayed for. We even had an opportunity to pray for drug dealers and those high on various drugs. We encountered a moment where our City Impact leader broke up an altercation that would have left one of the individuals badly hurt had he not intervened. It was in intense moment, however, a moment that reminded me of the parable of the Good Samaritan. We could have easily left and walked away or stayed and simply called the police without stepping in. Instead, like the story of the Good Samaritan, our City Impact leader intervened. He put himself in danger for the sake of peace and reconciliation, which did take place.
Each person on this trip was bold and courageous as we went into various hotels going door-to-door passing out meals and praying for people. Some people we met responded positively, others very negatively. One of our students got cussed out by a man and simply stood there boldly, listening without fear or worry. Her courage spoke highly about her maturity and confidence in Jesus and what we were there for; bringing the hope of Jesus and a glimpse of heaven to those who are broken. Peter had a an opportunity to share his testimony to 40+homeless individuals. He spoke eloquently and from the heart, stating, “We all need to do this journey together, we weren’t meant to do it alone, and we are all broken and in need of Jesus.” All of those on the trip were intentional with everyone they met and showed a love that represented our Savior in such a beautiful way.