Our friends Pat and Dean are dating officially. A sweet lady that we met through Habitat, Milly Sue, gave us a 4 tickets to the Christmas Spectacular that was being held at Dauphin Way Baptist. Naturally, we had to take Pat and Dean on their first date. We took them out to Wendy's and then afterwards went to the show. It was incredible. Filled with Christmas music....and Pat loves music. They held hands and smiled the entire time. The women usually do not get to stay out after 3 or 4 pm because the shelters require them to be in early so Dean was having the night of her life.
Pat's sister passed away two weeks ago and the memorial was on Saturday, the day after his date. So we brought him to his brother's house to spend the night and await the memorial. We hung out with his brother and sister in law for awhile sipping sweet tea and laughing at how alike Pat and Daniel (his brother) acted. They welcomed us into their home and by the end of the night they called us family. They even called us after the memorial to let us know how it went and keep us updated on prayer requests.
The next day we went to the park and saw our friend JP. As soon as we saw him, he leaned over and whispered into our ears, "Hey, I got saved last night." All that we could think and say was basically, "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!YES!!!!!!!!!!" He told us that he had been going to the service that one of the shelters held every week. He said that he had been wanting to go forward to accept Jesus but he just couldn't do it....for some reason this particular night, he had to stand up. He said he was the only one to stand up and get saved. We cannot even begin to express to you how genuine it was. The Lord was shining through his eyeballs and he was excited to learn more about our God through scripture and prayer and hanging out with fellow believers.
At one point, our friend Trinity walked up cussing up a storm and cursing God. JP leaned over and responded with "Our God is not like that actually. God is who He says he is and does the things that He says that He will do." After Trinity left, he looked at us and said that something felt different inside of him while Trinity was talking. He said before he wouldn't have cared but that for some reason today something compelled him to speak truth. The Holy Spirit has made JP a new creation..."They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them." (Romans 2:14-15). It's beauty in its finest form :)
We spent the entire weekend just hanging out in the square with all of our friends. Praying for them and listening to them. They are full of broken stories and in need of lots of prayer. That Sunday we brought Pat and Dean and our friend Amber to church with us. Afterwards, the church had a big thanksgiving lunch and bouncy toys....which was fun.
Saying goodbye was almost as hard as leaving home. In just one week of getting to know our friends, we formed a mutual love for one another. Nancy wept as she thanked us for coming at just the right time. Paulie told us, with tears rolling down his cheeks, how much he appreciated the love we spread throughout the park..."I watched people smile every time you guys came into the park that I hadn't seen smile in weeks." Robby insisted on us staying in touch through email and letters. Patrick could not say enough about how timely God had sent us into his life after his sister died and how much he loved us for showing such love to him and his friends. With tears in his eyes, he called us family and meant it with everything inside him. We know and reassured them that it is Christ's love, not our own, that shines through us. We all cried as we gave our final hugs and went our separate ways.
After that hard goodbye, we spent our last night with our Reality Church family. They treated us to a delicious meal, we sat around a campfire sharing life stories, and ended the night dancing in fountains. Just as we fell in love with our friends from downtown, we fell deeply in love with the people of this church. Again, we cannot say enough about how much this church has loved us and taught us. They have truly put hands and feet to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. "Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for theses brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God...Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth." (3 John 1:5-8) We walked in their church as strangers and they took us in like family. They poured into us, met our needs, and sent us on our way with such encouragement. They are our fellow workers for the truth. (So if any of you RMCers are reading this you best text us, call us, stalk us, and NEVER lose touch!)
P.S. World...we are no longer headed to Naples, Florida. We are headed to Homestead, Florida. We also added pics to our last post. That is all for now.