The Turn

2021 Jan 15

I was at a Monday night ministry time and for some reason I was just not engaging like I usually did. I felt God tell me to walk back to YWAM Ships so I took that as permission to go and left.

As I was walking back I felt led to go down a random street I had never walked down before. It took me through the back parking lot of a place called Coconut Grove where we would often play volleyball at night. I had a sense God was leading me there to talk to someone. I saw a security guard and thought of talking to him but chickened out and just kept walking. Then I ran into Michael.

Michael was older, maybe sixty, skinny, with silver hair. He lived on the streets and would pick flowers near YWAM Ships to make leis which he sold to tourists. I said hi and we struck up a conversation. This sparked a really close friendship with him during the rest of my DTS lecture phase.

We would hang out for hours at a time, about once a week. I would listen as he told me stories from his time in the military or talked about his daughter. We would also talk about what I was doing with YWAM and my relationship with God.

I got to ask him what he believed in and at first he would talk a lot about Buddhist beliefs. He was not a Christian. I let him know I was praying for him. He told me he really loved to read, too, so I gave him a Bible.

As our conversations continued, he told me one night that he really felt like God was helping him or looking out for him. He had been suffering from seizures, too, but after I prayed for him he said he started feeling a lot better and, as far as I know, did not have seizures for the rest of the time I knew him.

Before I left for outreach, my friend Iain and I were praying that I would get to see him one more time. He had not been around for a little longer than usual and I was concerned I might not get to say goodbye. 

Then, the week before I left, I ran into him in Coconut Grove. I got to say goodbye, pray for him, and give him a bit of cash. He still looked homeless – still wearing the same outfit he always wore: a blue hawaiian shirt, jeans, and sandals.

When I came back from outreach Michael was no longer selling lei’s near our base. I wondered what might have happened to him and if I would ever see him again. 

Then one night, when we were playing volleyball at Coconut Grove, I caught a glimpse of him  in the distance. For the first time since I met him, he was wearing a new outfit. He no longer looked homeless. 

I smiled inside as I felt grateful for the part that God had for me to play in helping him during a difficult time and I am sure that God will continue to look out for him wherever he goes.

Camden Erwin, DTS Alumni
YWAM Ships Kona

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