By Rebecca Nelson of Fenway Church
As we celebrate the gift of God’s Son at Fenway Church this season, we are reminded that God came into our world to be present with us. Thus, we want to serve and be especially present among our neighbors, friends, and those in need this season. Our community groups have mobilized to demonstrate the love and hope that the story of Christmas represents to the communities around us.
Community groups served the city by delivering presents to children whose parents were in prison, making blankets for homeless veterans, and hosting dinners for neighbors.
One night, I was in a group that packed bags of stuff for homeless people around Back Bay (granola bars, pen, flashlight, socks, gloves, hand warmers, paper, etc..).
As we did “listening prayer” and asked God where we should go, I saw a picture of the steps of Trinity church.
We were led to pray that “God would reach someone whose family has been praying for them, and who seems like the last person who might come into God’s family”. It was a prayer for lost sheep, especially those who no one really believed could return to God.
Off we went.
We went to the church and didn’t see anyone who needed one of the bags we had prepared. But when we walked around the side of the church and there was a man kneeling in prayer and another man standing nearby. As we had prayed in the apartment, “Johnny” had been praying outside. While two others prayed for his friend’s knee, I sat on the ground and talked with Johnny. He recently left a halfway house where he was required to stay after a jail sentence. In the bitter cold, we talked for quite a while and he told me all about his family, his father and sister who love Jesus and pray for him. We prayed and he promised with much sincerity to come to church Sunday if we’d get him from Copley.
Lost sheep at the church, just like God said.
When we returned to warm up and debrief, we found that the 3 other groups also had successful evenings. They prayed for a blind man to receive sight (we are still looking for him to see if it has happened), they felt great boldness, much more than usual, an answer to prayer. Even those who had never done this kind of thing were deeply encouraged and used by God.
When we returned Sunday with a car to get Johnny, he was nowhere to be found. I checked Finagle a Bagel, Burger King and all the surrounding stores, and he was gone. He had been so excited for church! We prayed for him together, that he would know we looked for him, and went to “friend Sunday” at Fenway Church.
Towards the close of service, who walked in but Johnny? First this shaking, weak man took a guitar and played a beautiful song of praise to God. Then, we prayed for him to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to turn and live a holy life, and he laughed with joy as we closed the prayer.
He got a warm meal, lots of cookies and a hot shower with men from our church. And when I checked my email late last night, I found that Johnny was spending a few nights off the streets with a church member who had offered a spare room.
Today I am thankful for our church family, God’s guidance, and his love for every single person in Boston.
For more information on Fenway Church visit www.fenwaychurch.org