by Linnea, YWAM missionary. A youth group from Illinois came to Madison for outreach. Here’s one of their stories.
We were on a secret mission in downtown Madison. Six groups. Ten bucks a piece. And the big question, “God, how do we spend this money? Who do we help? What do we buy?”
I glanced across the picnic table at my husband James. “What do you think? Is God saying anything to you?”
“I don’t know,” he answered. “I think that we’re supposed to help someone get somewhere.”
“The name Charles came to mind,” Nicole piped in, the third member of our small group. “And I think we need to buy someone coffee.”
“I think we need to pick up a pint of Rocky Road ice cream at Walgreens,” I said. “And this may sound a little unusual, but I think the person I give the ice cream to is walking down a rocky road and God wants to walk with him.”
I turned to Nicole. “Do you think Walgreen’s even sells Rocky Road?”
“There’s only one way to find out,” Nicole said, leading the way to Walgreens.
Sure enough, Walgreens had Rocky Road and coffee. But who were these items for?
Nicole and James headed to the bus stop, coffee in hand, while I went to Library Mall. Dozens of people streamed past me. I had no idea who the ice cream was for. So I kept stopping people to see if they liked Rocky Road. Surprisingly, no one said yes. I was getting worried.
I spotted an older African American man walking towards me. Maybe he’s the one.
But to my surprise a different question came to my mind. “Excuse me, sir. What’s your name?”
“Do you like Rocky Road ice cream?”
I was disappointed, but at least his name was Charles!
“Can I pray for you?” I asked.
He nodded. I prayed that God would help Charles discover his purpose in life. After I finished praying I looked up at Charles.
“I have to tell you, sister. That’s the best prayer you could have prayed for me. How’d you know I’m a man of faith?”
I laughed. “I don’t know. But you did have a big smile and you were the only person to say hi to me.”
“Well, keep up the good work, sister!”
He shook my hand and set off toward State Street. I phoned Nicole and James to see where they were.
“How’d it go?” I asked.
“Great!” Nicole said.
She told me they’d met a young man by the bus stop. He was very excited about the coffee since he hadn’t slept all night. And he’d just missed his bus. So they gave him a ride to Eagle Heights. They learned he was from Uzbekistan. And he asked them so many questions about God.
“He’s looking for a teaching job,” Nicole said. “And he was happy for us to pray for him. He told us he takes Bus 80 every day at this same time. He really hopes we can meet up with him again.”
“That’s great!” I said. “I found Charles.” I shared my story with them.
“Cool,” Nicole said. “No luck with the ice cream?”
We prayed and asked God to help us find this last person. A short time later a middle-aged man approached.
“Do you like Rocky Road?” I asked him.
“I sure do.”
“Then this is for you.” I handed him the pint of ice cream and a spoon. “And God gave me a message for you. He knows you’re walking down a rocky road. He wants you to know that he would like to walk down it with you.”
“Really?” He looked shocked. “Maybe we should sit down and talk.”
We found a bench nearby. He told me that he’d been having a lot of trouble lately. He had cataracts and was blind in one eye. We talked for quite a while. I told him that God wanted to have a relationship with him and help him through all his troubles. In the end, we prayed together.
I was amazed by how specifically God led us all afternoon. A week later, I met the man I’d given the ice cream to again at our ministry to the homeless. There’s no doubt God cares for this man and longs to help him in his troubles.