Photo by Jack Amick/Flickr
Inner City

Hope for a troubled man at a county fair

Alicia Losier July 23, 2015

After missing out on a summer project the previous year, Zach, a college student at the University of Minnesota, felt God leading him to Summer in the City® in Milwaukee. He knew it would be a very different experience and couldn’t help wondering how folks from the city might feel about a white kid coming into their neighborhood.

He quickly and continually learned throughout the summer that his fears were misplaced. Each person that he and his project teammates met seemed glad to encounter them.

There are many fairs and festivals during the summers in the East Side of Milwaukee, and these proved to be great outreach opportunities for the students.

One day, Zach’s team headed to the Waukesha County fair, splitting into pairs to talk with people. Hopefully, those conversations would lead to an opportunity to share the good news.

Zach and his friend started a few conversations but when they tried to take things deeper, they were turned away.

Just as they were beginning to get discouraged, the guys met Marcus.

Smelling strongly of alcohol, Marcus seemed eager for a listening ear. He spent nearly an hour telling the two all about himself. He told them that when he was in high school, he had been the one to find the body of his best friend who had taken his own life. He also explained that he struggled with many things since being abused as a young child.

Needless to say, Marcus was broken and in need of Jesus’ healing.

He said he was a Christian but he didn’t fully understand what a relationship with God was like; he didn’t understand the Holy Spirit.

The guys walked him through the Satisfied booklet, a resource Cru uses to explain more clearly about God’s Spirit.

With it, they told Marcus that believers receive the Spirit when we come to faith in Christ. Then, as we walk with God, we can depend on the Holy Spirit to guide and direct our lives, to fully enjoy our relationship with Him. The booklet even contains a suggested prayer that helps the reader understand how to ask to be filled with His Spirit.

The pair told Marcus that the Holy Spirit would help him to overcome his struggles and find joy.

They encouraged Marcus to find a good church where he could be part of a community of believers. After listening intently, Marcus said the guys had given him a greater understanding, adding that they were a godsend that day.

Zach said this conversation with Marcus and his summer overall helped him learn so much. He was grateful for the experience. He not only learned how to talk with strangers, but also how to share the life-changing news of Jesus Christ with them, as well as with people closest to him.

Throughout the summer he learned how to approach gospel conversations unafraid, because he had the tools that gave him the confidence to do so more easily. He said it also showed him how to love people as a humble servant. Zach said the summer blew away his fearful expectations. He remarked that it was the best summer ever – among a diverse group of people, with the common goal of sharing the gospel.

Learn more about opportunities like Zach had in the inner city.

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