Hello all & welcome back! It’s Alyssa, and I am so thankful you are checking out this post!! I hope you guys had a good week!
Today I will be sharing about one of the most impactful days of my time on Operation Barnabas. On this day my heart was broken into a million pieces and helped to lead me to the finding of the calling to my life.
In my journal, I wrote: “Today was one of the most heartbreaking days of my life.”
When I woke up on July 7th, 2018, I wasn’t expecting to be so impacted by a homeless shelter. I wasn’t expecting to make such a strong connection with a little girl nor one of the members on my team. BUT, I am so thankful for the way God worked through these situations in me and those around me.
My team and I went to help out at a homeless shelter called Union Rescue Mission. It was very hot that day, but we made it our goal to not complain about the heat and willingly and lovingly do the Lord’s work.
Kayla, Elise & I started out by sorting out a ton of clothes and organizing a room that the residents can go in to find clothes for job interviews. I wrote down in my journal that I was thankful to get to know the other girls more and my goodness, looking back- I am really thankful! We finished our jobs and were walking around and I noticed that the kitchen needed help, so I stepped in & helped chop potatoes. Everyone there made so many fun memories singing High School Musical songs and chopping away!
After that, I went out into the cafeteria and visited with some families. I first met a man named Chuck. He was one of the nicest men I have ever met, and he was so encouraging. Then, I met a little girl named Sofia. She was the cutest thing, and we instantly made a bond. We started telling all the kids about our puppets and our program we were going to put on later that night, and they were so excited to come and have fun with us, which made all of the team even more excited to put the program on.
Sofia really made a relationship with Knox, Elise, Parker & I, and we hated to say goodbye for a few minutes so we could set the stage up. Finally, the show was going to start and all the kiddos came inside with us. Sofia immediately found Parker & I, and we knew that we made an impact on her right then and there. She sat right in the middle of Parker & I, and us 3 were inseparable. It then came time for us to get ready for the puppets, and Sofia started to cry when we tried to leave. We promised her that we would return, and she still was so upset. This made us think about how she probably had someone in her life that said they would come back and they didn’t, leading to this trust issue. It then was time for the “cross illustration” which I explained in a previous post, but long story short it is a story that leads to an invitation to accept Christ. Sofia ended up accepting Christ that night!! Parker & I didn’t find out about this until later, but it is just so amazing! Later while she was sitting in between us, Sofia looked up and us and said “You guys are my best friends.” I started to tear up at the fact that she said that, but more because I realized that we would have to say goodbye to her soon. How could I say goodbye to such an amazing little girl?
Parker and I took the opportunity to pray with Sofia, and give her a gift- Parker’s bracelet that she had been looking at all night. She was so happy to receive this gift, and it was so heartwarming to give her this reminder of us, & how special that day was. (Her salvation day!)
When it was time for the kids to leave, we made a tunnel for all of them to walk through. Sofia went through it and turned right back around and started crying because she didn’t want us to leave her. (I began to completely lose it once again)
My heart was so broken for her, and I wish I could see her beautiful smile again. She told me she wanted to be a cop when she gets older, and I hope that she achieves nothing short of her dreams. I cannot wait to see her again in heaven!
The bus was finally packed & it was time for us to leave. We were told to pray with our seat partner about our day, so Parker & I prayed for Chuck & Sofia. I am forever thankful for the impact we got to make on their lives, and I know neither of us will ever forget that day. When we finished praying, Parker said he had something for me, and he pulled out the cross that was used in the cross illustration to share the Gospel with Sofia. I lost it AGAIN and I was so happy to have a piece of that day to have forever.
It was later that month at Momentum that I was looking at the cross & realized that Sofia’s name & the date was on it. I began to cry again at this discovery & I am so thankful God used me to impact her.
God really revealed to me how I have the blessing of being able to connect with kiddos. I love to get down on their level & share the love of Jesus to them, and Sofia was the perfect example! She truly impacted me for the rest of my life, and I will never ever forget her, or July 7th, 2018.
After this day, I began to wonder why God has in His plan for Sofia to be in the situation that she is in. I was heartbroken at how I have it so good and she doesn’t. Why does she grow up homeless, and I grow up in a home? Why does she have to grow up in these circumstances, and I get to grow up with so much freedom? I constantly try to remind myself that this is all apart of God’s plan for Sofia, and that He is in complete control.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
God is fully aware of what Sofia is going through, and has such a bigger, beautiful plan in place for her life, and now as a follower of Christ, she can follow it faithfully.
Thank you all for checking this out! This was truly one of the most impactful, heartbreaking days of my life & I am so thankful for it!
I hope you all have a great week!
Below is a picture of Parker & I with the cross!!