Juneau H20 Adventure #1

Hi, New Life Church, this is Lindsay Goff. I am a part of the youth group. You may have seen me around. I started coming at the end of last summer. Alaska has been amazing. I am so thankful for this opportunity to be here. When I look back on and reflect on what has happened so far wow is all that really crosses my mind. Don’t get me wrong, as a group, we have all been having our ups and downs but I can truly say that I have never felt more like a true Christian and felt as much burning love for Christ our Savior as I do right now, right here. This place, to sum it up simply, is kind of sad. It’s full of so many lonely people who have had terrible lives and yet the Spirit of God is still here and still working miraculously. I have always believed that you can’t have great joy without great suffering, but here I realized, “what do I know about suffering?” Last night I had a really amazing experience and it really opened my eyes and brought me closer to Christ and it is something I would really like to share with all of you.

Our free time was coming to an end and many were busy shuffling around chairs and tables preparing for our Alaskan guests coming for lunch. We ate our lunch, we laughed, we giggled, we prayed before we ate, but nothing truly seemed to be that different. As lunch came to a close Lauren stood up to talk about the events planned later for the day. We were going to hand out H2O bags around Juneau. H2O is an organization that Lauren and Leslie Reavely had started as a way to reach out to homeless people. She explained some ways of how to approach and talk to these homeless people. One of our Alaskan friends named Travis came to talk to us about the people that make up the homeless community in Juneau. One thing that seemed like an exaggeration, but I later found to ring true, was the statement that if someone is homeless in Juneau it is because they drink.He made sure we had a proper grasp and a proper fear for the situation we were about to thrust ourselves into. Their talks were helpful, yes, but I don’t know what could have really ever prepared me and many on our team for what was about to unfold.

Small groups were necessary because we didn’t want to overwhelm them and many of the homeless were not really centrally located. My group was the first to get started on the task ahead. We were to go to the woods and meet people that resided there. Our group consisted of Joe (our Alaskan friend), Cale, Andrew K, Sarah C, Bethany, Josh H. and myself. We got to the woods and stepped out of our car. We prayed for what we were about to do and began our task. We were all a little frightened but we were all ready. The Spirit of God was most definitely with us. Even the bear warning that Joe had given us couldn’t put down the spirit in our group. We began walking into the forest and immediately heard screaming and yelling in the distance. We were freaked out but we knew that we wanted to do this and jumped into the situation.

The first man we came upon was not homeless but directed us to where a man named Kioki lived. We walked up to his “shelter”, or a spot where he had placed sticks and leaves together and was littered with a mixture of bottles and cans of different alcohol substances. When we arrived we were greeted by a slurry of curse words and yelling. Our group persisted to reach into the shelter area and hand them bags and speak with them. Two men in the shelter accepted them. Their names were Robert and John. John, I really got to know that night. He’s had so much sorrow in his life and just a handshake or a hug from a stranger meant so much to him. Kioki, the man who had been yelling and lived there, didn’t accept anything from us but we left a bag anyway. We talked to them a little bit about God’s love and continued on. After that we continued down the path. So much more happened that night. God was really present. We saw John and Robert again along the path and met more homeless people that really accepted God.

One story of many from that night that was truly inspiring had to do with Kioki. We had been on the path for about thirty minutes we had prayed with John, Cherri, Bobby and Robert ,when Kioki Started to walk toward us in a drunken stupor. He was closing his eyes and walking all over the place and was really a frightening person to see. It starts to get a little fuzzy past this point but I remember him coming to us and questioning us about where Jesus had died and how he had fought in a war there and seen such horrible people and horrible things. He walked away in his stupor. As he was walking away something came over me and I yelled “God still loves you” or something to that affect. He stopped dead in his tracks and turned around toward us totally irate. He got in Joe’s face and started yelling at him questioning his faith intensely. Something came over Joe and he answered with grace and truth about God and his love. It was so heated and intense but we ended up praying with Kioki that night. I encourage you all to pray for him and the other people we met that night. The Holy Spirit was really there that night in the forest. It caused me to realize we don’t really do anything. It is all God and His power that works through us and he picks such strange ways to do it. There is so much more I would like to share and would love to when we get back. I hope all is well and thanks for reading our blog.

Here is a conversation that was recorded with one of the the homeless men...