An Amazing Experience in Denver
Time and time again, probably like many others, I find myself praying for things that I want and desire. I pray for things that I think that I need. Very rarely do these prayers get directly answered in a way that I have asked. Today was a prime example of this lesson that I have come to learn. When I first signed up for this Headlights trip I originally asked to be sent to Rochester, New York. The reason for this was because I had been to New York in the past and experienced the homeless on the streets. I felt a strong desire to someday return and hopefully help the poor. When I found out I was going to be going to Denver I was a bit disappointed. I knew wherever I was going, I was going to be doing work for the Lord, but I had thought that New York was my calling. After talking with one of the leaders I found out that the trip to Denver was going to be working with the homeless directly on the streets. I immediately knew that there was a reason God wanted me in Denver for a mission’s trip. I prayed for weeks, and maybe even months before the trip. I prayed that I would experience a profound moment with God. One of those moments where God’s love and faith would just directly flow from me, a moment that probably happens very few times for most people. As the days grew closer and closer to when we would be doing our street ministry, my prayers got longer and my hopes were high.
As we were approaching the afternoon where we would be headed to Capitol Hill to work with the homeless on the streets, my nerves were high. The City Of Christ missionaries asked us all if we were nervous for what we were about to do, and most of us said yes. Now that I think about it, I believe we were all nervous for different reasons. My reasoning for being so nervous wasn’t because I was afraid of talking to the homeless or because I was afraid of those awkward moments. I was truly afraid that I was going to fail. I was afraid that I was going to not experience that profound moment that I had been praying for so long about. I didn’t want to fail as a missionary.
My experience at Capitol Hill was very different than I could have ever imagined. Of course I was able to talk with the homeless, and I was able to bond with some of them. One homeless man in particular completely caught me off guard. I was caught in an uncomfortable position with him where a few inappropriate words were said, and I honestly did not know how to react. I still to this moment have a very hard time explaining my feelings from then on. I couldn’t stop thinking about what just happened. I didn’t understand why this happened. I kept asking myself questions about whether or not I did something wrong, or what more could I have done in this situation. I also was very confused with God; I wanted to know why had He put this situation before me. My experience wasn’t what I had been praying for for weeks and all I could do was question God and his intentions.
Walking back to our housing after our street ministry, everyone was talking about their amazing experiences with their interactions with the homeless people. I was very happy and thankful that many of my friends had profound moments during the street ministry. When I was asked how my experience was, I honestly didn’t know what to say. I would never say that it was bad, but I couldn’t quite get myself to tell others that it was great. I was very emotional about the subject and hardly had words. I still hardy have words for why I felt so let down and why I felt so hopeless. I would kind of like to share a prayer that was said later that night though that really opened my eyes . . . it comes from Ephesians 3: 17-21, saying, “May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, and may charity be the root and foundation of your life, thus you will be able to grasp fully, with all the holy ones, the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love, and experience this love which surpasses all knowledge so that you may attain to the fullness of God himself. To him whose power, now at work in us can do immeasurably more than we ask to imagine-to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations, world without end.”
It’s crazy that I had been praying for so long for that experience of a lifetime that I had all planned out in my head. I prayed to God about what I wanted, thinking that that was what I truly needed. I realized today that God doesn’t always give you what you want. He gives you what you need. I really needed that experience today on Capitol Hill and I still can’t really explain to you why, but I can say that one day God can reveal this to me. This gives me time to pray and time to grow in my faith so that I can continue to serve the Lord. I have more to share with God than I did yesterday and I have more faith that I ever had before. I am truly thankful for this because now God has room in me to do work that is immeasurably more than I could ever imagine.
Thank you for reading,
Nicole K. Munoz