Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dream Center I

You enlarged my
path under me, So my feet did not slip.

It's been so long since I posted on here...anyways here's an update on how the Dream Center trip went.

In summary, it didn't go the way I had planned...but it did go the way the Lord had planned which is always better! I felt like God told all of us on the trip that he wanted to stretch us, challenge our way of thinking, basically get us out of our comfort zone. Not just on this trip but in life. That's exciting because the Bible is chock full of people used of the Lord that were challenged and uncomfortable.

We left AG at 6pm Friday a man down, since Christion Richert went to his uncle's funeral. He had been battling cancer and succumbed last week.

From left to right are Austin (aka Dreamboat all the young women at the Dream Center followed him around), Aaron W. (aka Dorms his company is building the dorms at Calpoly and he liked to sleep on the trip), Nate W. (aka Prom King or PK since he was homecoming king at Pepperdine Univ), Aaron Nesper (aka HeavyNes...he's actually skinny so that's sarcasm), Josh and brother Seth (aka Mango and Pineapple because they ate a huge bag of mango and pineapple from a street vendor and because they are brothers).

Oh and that's to the Dream Center's donated Hummer. Rumor has it a member of the group Korn donated it. It's a sweet ride! They named me Helen Keller or HK because I kept driving by know running over the little reflectors on the highway. We were in deep discussions and I kept turning around to talk so the men in the 3rd row seats of my minivan could hear me...then I'd hit those little reflectors and swerve to get back in my own lane. It was a harrowing experience especially for those in the 3rd row seats.

So you know our trip down was full of conversation. I had asked the men to think about the following three questions and we discussed them all the way down.

1. Howz your joy? Remember in Nehemiah: the JOY of the LORD is our STRENGTH! Much of the time I feel like I'm just surviving...not joyful or abundantly living.

2. What's God refining in your life? If he isn't refining something you are stagnant or worse dead.

3. What are you doing with your life? God gave us this great and it's so short let's make sure we aren't wasting it.

As you can imagine the conversation was great and surprisingly deep. We got into some controversial topics like the emerging church, service vs. street evangelism, are we supposed to just live a comfortable life...those are always fun too!

We got to the Dream Center a little after 10pm and got settled in our room, which was 6 bunk beds side by side in a large hospital room. Let me tell you the facility is's a huge complex with the main building being a huge hospital...I'd say about the size of Sierra Vista maybe even a bit bigger.

The plan was to go with the Street Ministry at 11pm but by 11:40pm we realized it wasn't going to happen...nobody showed up. From what we heard the leader was a bit burnt out from going out 6 nights in a row and was in deep REM sleep. We walked around the neighborhood, which was a little scary, and talked some more and ended praying for each other. Then we headed for bed (Aaron W. was asleep before we turned the lights out).

We woke up in time to hit the cafeteria for some breakfast...pancakes stacked three high some nice crispy bacon and all the fixins. When we got back to our room we had to search for a shower because the one on our floor was being hogged by the women.

There is a rally before the Saturday ministries, which are Adopt-A-Block and Random Acts of Kindness. Let's just say the worship portion of the rally was VERY celebratory. We were like lost little puppies in that environment. We got our assignment, which was Random Acts of Kindness. We were assigned to pass out free hot dogs and fliers on the corner of Sunset and Echo Park. The above picture was of HK, um I mean Nate holding up a sign saying Free Hot Dogs.

This was fun but not what I had thought we'd be doing. Adopt-A-Block is a great program where buses full of people, food, and water are taken to some of the poorest areas in Los Angeles. They offer the people hope in Jesus by also giving them tracts and offering to pray for them. I so wanted to experience this but it was not to be.

Meet Francisco on the left and Richard on the right. Richard was our leader, he testified to me that God used the Dream Center and Angeles Temple (the church that owns the Dream Center) to free him of many addictions and a lifestyle that was not pleasing to God. After talking to him I was convicted about my thoughts about this ministry during the rally and worship time. The good fruit of the ministry was standing right in front of me. Richard now disciples 10 people who struggle with the same addictions and lifestyle...simply amazing!

I gave away the hot dogs (that's perros caliente in spanish good huh?) and the bottles of water with new vigor, making sure each one had a flier with them. I prayed for each of those hot dogs and bottles of water...hoping that if the recipient needed Jesus that they would go to a service at Angeles Temple and/or knock on the Dream Center's doors, which by the way are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week!

We left the Dream Center a little earlier than we had hoped 12pm vs. 2pm, but a lot wiser. If you ever get a chance to go the Dream Center takes volunteers just about anytime. Check out their website and go to the STM or Short Term Missions and make arrangement.

I hope to take another team in the future (thus the title of this blog Dream Center I). If for no other reason than to get to know some of the men of CalvarySLO...