Saying "yes" to Jesus takes just a moment, but getting to it and becoming like Him is a journey! We know that simply presenting the gospel rarely results in immediate change. That reality does not diminish the power of The Good News.
Instead it reminds us that all parts of the process are important. As the Apostle Paul reminds us: "I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow" (1 Corinthians 3:6).
Here at Cru® Inner City, Compassionate Product outreaches like Boxes of Love® and youth development programs like S.A.Y. Yes!® Centers are often part of that process. They are like a foot in the door. As I have poured over the letters from cities where we serve across the U.S., I found a reoccurring theme: it goes in steps. I read countless stories recounting portions of the journey, illustrating each step of the way. Some progress faster than others. All are stories of caring for and loving on people who are hurting, in an effort to live out the love of Christ.
A second theme I have discovered is that it takes coming alongside. Sometimes we might wish it were easier to introduce people to Jesus, but often it's only in the relationships built on trust that the power of the gospel is sown and can take root in a life.
Kara Atkinson, who works in Milwaukee, shared a vignette that demonstrates these two themes well. She tells of one of her many interactions with a 14-year-old named *Alecia, one of two sisters she mentors. Lately, every time Alecia gets in Kara's car, she plays a pop song over and over, titled "Thinking Out Loud," that tells of a selfless, lasting love. This song struck Kara, as it is unusual for current pop music. She says she realized that this is what Alecia and many others long for: an unconditional and eternal love, the kind only Jesus can offer.
Kara has known Alecia and her older sister, *Chandra, for many years. She's walked through life's ups and downs with them. A few years ago, Chandra came to faith in Christ. Kara is still hoping and praying that Alecia will come to know the only true love of Jesus, too. So Kara and others in her church continue to plant the seed and water it as they come alongside the girls in their journey of faith.
This is just one of many stories that display the patient loving of the broken; walking with them toward Jesus and His love — by the empowering of the Holy Spirit. One step at a time.
(*name has been changed to protect privacy)
Alicia Losier serves the inner city as the Communications Specialist with Cru in the Twins Cities.
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