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!

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