Treasure Hunts

On Thursday, Debbie Gable and Rebecca Monoghan and I met at the church and prayed in preparation to going out to see who we could love on for Jesus.  Debbie had printed out instructions used at Bethel Church in Redding, CA when they do what they call “Treasure Hunts.”  In those, they ask God to show them the people they are to speak with, and then go seek to find them.

That sounded like a great adventure!

While at the church, in prayer, Debbie saw an older guy with long, grey hair, wearing a green hoodie with a MAX train nearby.  Debbie had written down the word “depression” with her note.

Rebecca saw some youths, their backs against a wall, facing busses and the MAX. I saw this grey-haired woman, with glasses, a red suede vest sitting in the waiting room at Les Schwab Tires.  The word “loss” came with her, and a specific message.  We had other impressions of Honey Baked Ham, a place at Beaverton Town Center, and someone at the Freddies there as well.  With these impressions, we drove to the Beaverton Transit Center, where we knew there were both busses and MAX trains.

We walked across the bridge from where we had parked.  It is incredible what this felt like — it felt scary, but there was really nothing to fear; it felt stretching, yet we were simply taking a very basic step in obedience.  We separated from one another and just wandered the area seeking our treasures.

Debbie found her guy, but at the mention of God, he closed her off, shouted at her, even though she had a message for him regarding his depression. So, we just prayed for him from a distance.

The youths Rebecca had seen were sitting there, their backs against a wall, facing busses and the MAX trains, charging their phones.  There were four of them, and Rebecca got down on the ground in front of them, and God gave her a word of knowledge for one of the youths, which melted this girl’s tough defense and built an instant connection.  Rebecca shared about how much Jesus loved them.

While those conversations were taking place, I met a bus driver on break, and we had this marvelous conversation about what it was like for her to drive busses — “Sometimes it is like babysitting,” she told me.  “Yet, this work, it is a ministry for me, it is a means by which I express my faith in Jesus.  I love people on my bus. I care for them. I give them every break I can give them.”  This woman was full of Jesus’ light.  And a bright person to look at with her magenta highlights in her black hair, and bright magenta lipstick and bright purple nails. She stood out!  We laughed and talked and I asked if I could pray with her, and she joyfully received prayer.

I then found Rebecca with the youths and knelt down with her and them for a moment; all of them homeless, finding connection together, with one of them serving like their ringleader. They knew about Home Plate and were connected in with that local organization helping homeless youth get the support they needed.  But more than services, they needed to know they were loved and that Jesus knew them by name.  Rebecca and I shared this with them.  The girl who really had connected with Rebecca was most open and seemed to know Jesus.

As we left the area and the three of us ended up in this long, involved conversation with an older, Korean woman, dressed all in white whose name was Kim. She told us she was seeking to atone for her sins against her parents and sister, all of whom had preceded her in death.  We witnessed to her some about Jesus, but didn’t get far.

At Freddies and Honey Baked Ham we didn’t make contact with anyone.  We were sitting at these tables recalling what had happened with the folk we had spoken with at the transit center when a woman on her break came up and sat less than two feet away to have a cigarette.  As we sat there, talking about our experiences, I kept wondering about this woman, her needs, the hurts she carried and the need she might have had for hope.  Indeed, that was the word that came to mind as I sat there, but I took no action, and soon, she got up and went back to work.

After lunch, we drove to Les Schwab.  As we arrived in the parking lot, Debbie was full of faith, wondering what my woman would look like, and I was full of doubt that my woman would even be there. Rebecca said she knew my woman was there, for Jesus had told her, and was going to use the bathroom while I looked.  Debbie went to the counter to ask about tires, and at first in the general waiting area there were only men.  And I thought, “Well, I guess I may have missed her.”

But then, in the second waiting area sat this woman, with short grey hair, glasses, and red leather shoes.  She had on a yellow jacket, which threw me at first, but I wondered if she had started out with the red vest to match her shoes and decided it was too chilly for it?  I couldn’t deny the fact that there sat a woman, the image of the one I had seen, and red leather is close to suede!

I walked past her once, hesitant, and then thought, “Brian, what can it hurt to ask?”

I sat next to her, which surprised her a bit since there were 15 other chairs in the area. She looked up from her book and I said,

“Excuse me, my name is Brian. In prayer this morning I was given a message for a woman with short grey hair and glasses sitting in the waiting area at Les Schwab.”

She looked surprised, and said, “You’re kidding me.”

“Actually not,” I responded. “And I know it sounds unusual!  But, if you don’t mind, could I ask you a question?”

“Certainly,” she said.  I liked her already.  She had clear blue eyes, a gentle smile, a clear countenance, and a bit of joy danced in her eyes.

“Are you encountering any loss?”

At my question, the joy in her eyes dimmed a moment, and she responded slowly,

“Actually, we are at this time.”  She said. “There is a situation in my family that is especially difficult.”

“Okay. This message might be for you,” I told her. “Here’s what I heard.”

I read the message I had received more than 3 hours earlier that morning:

“I know your losses are great. I am not absent but present and with you.  It is not what you think. I am at work.  Do not fear.”

Tears brimmed her eyes as she looked back at me and said, with a voice that edged on tears, “That is exactly the answer I was hoping for.”  Her heart had been touched by Jesus.

I said, “Do you know Jesus?”

She told me, “Yes. I do.”

“Well, He knows you really well and sent me to deliver this message today and worked out the details for me to get here when you were here.”

“This is just amazing. Thank you so much,” she told me.

“May I pray with you?”

“Would you, please?” she asked.

“Could I ask your name?”

“Joan,” she replied.

“It is good to meet you,” I said.  Then we prayed together.  I felt so amazed by this experience.

En route back to the church, we stopped at the Cedar Hills Mall.  Rebecca and Debbie shared for some time with a woman there, praying with her, loving on her and inviting her to an upcoming special event at the church, while I told a Bible Story to these two middle school girls hanging out at the mall.  I asked them a few questions about the story and engaged them in conversation.  They each connected with different parts of the story and applied it readily to their own lives.  I encouraged them to continue to choose Jesus in their lives as well as the character had done in the story.

When we arrived back at the church, we felt so incredibly enriched.  No matter what had been accomplished in others’ lives, and certainly much had, so much had occurred in our lives as well. What joy.

This experience underlined one thing in particular for me: every day there are people around us who need to know someone sees them.  They matter. They are loved.

Search for God’s treasures!

About Camino Way 2016 Shimer

On August 22, 1981 I married this wonderful woman, Karen, who has consistently blessed and changed my life and days. We are still in love, all the more with the years. We have four daughters, two sons by marriage, and three delightful, wonderful grandchildren. So, that makes me a husband, father, and grandfather all in those sentences. But mostly just a guy who loves my family. Today Karen and I planted beautiful plants in numerous pots. She had come home with the plants and that experience reminded me how much I enjoy simple things and simple pleasures -- like digging in dirt to plant a flower, like sunlight through glass on a spring day, like clean windows -- just washed ours today -- like a melody that won't escape from my heart. I've been a local church pastor for 30 years as of this June, a number that staggers me for I feel about that age on the inside, but clearly that's not the case. Back in 1988 I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary with an Mdiv-- a time of schooling that has been a foundation for years of ministry. But it is mostly in the building upon that foundation, that has most changed my life. I love people, love seeing Jesus work in people's lives. One of my favorite joys is to pray with someone through some horrible place of memory and see Jesus walk right into their memory world, and turn on the lights in a way that sets their soul free and brings healing. There's nothing like this privilege and I have been there to watch it happen more times than I can count. Between 4 and 7 the associate pastor of my family's congregation sexually abused me, first grooming me, then repeatedly violating my young self. This marked my life. It changed my bearings. It ripped at my faith. It wounded my image of what it meant to be a little boy, and later a man. It has been a point from which I have been in the process of healing for many years now. I'm a survivor, but more than that, I am one who lives beyond what was done. For in the middle of all that stuff, Jesus was calling me, speaking to me, bidding me to follow him to bring change to people's lives within the realm of the very office that was used to harm me. Only Jesus can make light from darkness, hope from despair, and healing from brokenness. I love Jesus. He really is alive, no matter what others may believe. And his life, his presence, his words into my world, his healing power have continued to be the foundation point of what it means to experience life to the fullest. I love writing. I don't really know why on that score for really writing has never been a central tool in my world, nor has it come easily. But I love seeing how words released heal. And I love the way words can connect me to other people's worlds. So, that's why I started blogging. It began because I was planning to blog on a weekly basis when I went to walk the Camino de Santiago last fall. And in order to be able to blog while walking, I knew I had to begin to practice blogging before I was in another country. A friend told me that. Friends are good to help us find ways to live more authentically into our daily lives! So, I started. But what I have discovered is there is something powerful about sharing the story of life with others. So, I have continued. And I love the connections being built through those words. In 2011 I experienced my first seminar in Simply the Story, a bible story telling method that involves those listening in discussion and I decided then -- "this is what I plan to do when I retire." But really-- "why wait until then?" -- so I use this method while I continue pastoring. It sets people free and allows the Word to take root in ways that preaching never has. So again and again I am practicing asking questions and that is good practice for me, because I am frequently better at "telling" than "asking." This has been such a freeing gift. I love training others in this skill. So, a storyteller would certainly be true of me too. Years ago I discovered my mission in life is "the joyful transformation of people's lives through the person of Jesus Christ." And that continues to be where I find my home base, in joy. Where there is joy, I find, there is Jesus, and there is the possibility of transformation. Of course Jesus is in places where there is no joy as well, and once He is there, the place kind of changes because of Him. I love that.
Gallery | This entry was posted in camino, Encouragement, Faith, family, favorite things, Fellowship, follow, Friendship, God speaks, God with us, hope, Jesus, Joy, light, Presence, Steps, Trust and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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