I had it in my heart to make a trip to Skid Row before Christmas, but I had no funding. Our team was on a trip to Northern Arizona ministering to the Navajo Nation. This was an expensive trip for them, and they normally contribute to the Skid Row ministry; but I knew they were tapped out, so I didn’t even bother to ask.
God always makes a way for us. While at a Christmas party, Kirk, a family friend approached me and asked when I was going to Skid Row. I explained my situation, and Kirk said he would fund the ministry for the sandwiches. One problem was that we, in the past, have always made the sandwiches at Nohl Canyon Elementary School. The Christmas break was upon us and the schoolchildren were on overload with class parties – no time to schedule for sandwich making. Without giving it a second thought, Christina, Kirk’s wife, said, “We can make the sandwiches at our home.”
With their benevolent donation, on Friday I picked up all the supplies and headed to Kirk and Christina’s. Cookies and water were donated by their friends, Brian and Rob. We had so much help, and all the volunteers are related. aunts, uncles, moms, cousins were all united in one accord. In less than three hours, it was a wrap, 300 sandwiches packed and ready for delivery.
At 2:30 A.M., the day of the outreach, the Lord woke me, and I started to pray. I felt a strong assignment coming against us for Skid Row. I grabbed my rosary and prayed for our safety. I felt a breakthrough, and went peacefully back to sleep.
We met December, Florida, Georgia, and Star. These are their pseudo names. They use different names because they are not where they want to be. It deadens their pain to reality of what is really happening in their lives. No one wants to be a citizen in the town of Ingloriousness, because it is located the county of Hell.
For the first time, Skid Row was cleaner, the smell of bleach and pot fought for the rightful share of air. The bleach is due to the recent outbreak of Typhoid. Yes, this awful disease has hit the homeless due to a huge rat infestation. The City of Angels is doing a great job in cleaning with urgent concern. Typhoid is a serious matter, and we must operate in the wisdom of God. The Lord has always protected us, and granted us special graces for our outreach, but when I first heard of the typhoid outbreak, I did not feel it safe to return. As God would have it, we waited a few months before returning to Skid Row.
We met Kareem, and I told him he was special in the kingdom of God, He laughed and said, “No I’m not!” I tried to reassure him, but he did not accept the affirmation. It took some coaxing, but Robert did a great job in winning him over. Robert shared his personal testimony of drug abuse and prison time. I felt that God used us to reassure Kareem that he indeed is special and that God will change his circumstances. Kareem kept saying that it was impossible, but we quoted scripture from Luke 1:37: “For nothing is impossible with God.”
Around the corner we experienced a divine encounter, and one of the main reasons for visiting Skid Row: Mecca, a beautiful prophetess. Mecca said that the Lord had cleared the streets of debris for us. She ministered to me about a bigger ministry the Lord had in store for me. Robert, Eva, and I witnessed to her with kind words of encouragement. She almost fell back (filled with the spirit) when Robert prayed for her. Mecca is such a precious servant of God that those on Skid Row have great respect her.
As a team, including those that helped with the production of the sandwiches, a great work was done for the Lord. My heart was filled with gratitude because so many of the displaced wanted prayer. It was clear that the team that went to the streets to distribute the meals were hand picked by God. The beauty of the Lord illuminated all their faces. Christina’s, loving hands, handing out holy cards and rosaries; Kirk, the quiet giant of God, handing out lunches; Eva, the powerful prayer warrior; Robert, our rock, and Jane, the mighty intercessor. How the Lord is pleased with your work!
Christmas is always a busy time for all of us. I wanted to be sure to visit my nephew Mario in prison before Christmas. There are always obstacles set by the enemy when visiting Mario. I asked God to give me special graces to drive the hour and a half to Desert View Correctional Facility, in Adelanto, Ca.
I had a wonderful visit with Mario. He shared that he is enrolled in five college courses and that when he completes the classes he gets time off his sentence. We talked about a lot of things, and I’m happy to share that Mario is doing well. Although he is still incarcerated, he is living a full life and looking forward to getting out. He has plans for a future away from this life. There are many parolees on Skid Row who are still mentally in prison because they cannot find their way. My family always prays for Mario and wants nothing but the best for him. We ended our visit with reading the Bible, the gospels about the birth of Christ. The verse in Luke 1:37: “For nothing is impossible with God” came up in our reading, and to me it was confirmation for both Mario and Kareem. God never ceases to amaze me with His powerful Word.
The Fourth, and last, Advent candle symbolizes Peace. The messages from the angels “Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men.”