After two months of serving in Thailand we said “sawadee krap” to the lovely Thai people. We briefly returned to Vancouver, Canada to debrief and further discover how God moved during our time of serving. We were scheduled to do a mobilization tour of the North Pacific region after our field assignment, but along the way plans started to change. During our last stretch of Thailand we learned that once we returned to Vancouver, we will travel down to Modesto, California to help serve with YWAM Modesto. So after our short period of debriefing we repacked our suitcases, loaded up the van, and started our two day trek to sunny California.
Serving here in Modesto was a third option to us when our leaders were in the process of replacing our mobilization tour. But I would hardly count this as our last resort. In fact, I know that this was where the Lord had intended for us to go. After all that we experienced in Asia, this was the perfect way to wrap up our time of ministry. YWAM Modesto specializes in ministering to the street community. They aim to extend a feeling of safety and hospitality to those who are often homeless, broken, and misunderstood. Our team arrived here on the night of Labor Day. and there was a slight miscommunication of when our actual arrival date was so we arrived three days earlier than anticipated. That meant that we would be diving head first into serving.
We were up bright and early the next morning ready to go. Every Tuesday and Friday morning, YWAM Modesto sets up a cafe in hopes of achieving their goal of extending hospitality and the love of Christ to those who wouldn't otherwise experience that. They go to an area called South 9th street that is also nicknamed the “No Man’s Land” of Modesto. It is located right outside of the city limits and is viewed as washed up and undesirable. But we were honored to get the opportunity to go love, make connections, and serve them. I was the barista during our morning there and I learned how to make a many beverages. My favorite one to make was called a “cadillac,” which is a concoction of cream, sugar, hot chocolate powder, and coffee. It was also a crowd favorite of our new friends that we met. After our amazing morning there, our ministry hosts treated us to lunch at a local taco truck. (You have not lived until you’ve eaten a authentic burrito from the a taco truck, haha.) We went back to our living space with a full stomach and a joyful heart. We spent some time resting before engaging in youth group that night.
At youth group our team was split into two. Three of us served with the older kids and the other three assisted in the leading the younger ones. We had a awesome night of fellowship, games, and wrapped it up with a lesson on patience. This was a cool experience because these are children from the community who don’t normally attend church, so it’s amazing that we go to take part in this time with them.
The next day we continued our serving by partnering with a ministry called the Vine House. This ministry is dedicated to feeding and extending love to those of the street community. We spent our time there doing multiple things. Our jobs ranged consisted of serving food, washing dishes, making care packages, and cleaning. We bonded so well with the staff and had a blast serving. We ended our time in prayer with our ministry hosts and the Vine House staff. We also got attend a prayer meeting of the various ministry hosts and pastors all over Modesto. They view themselves as a team, and Modesto as their missionary field. Our team was so humbled to be prayed over by such amazing prayer warriors who were united in Christ. We then proceeded to go downtown and did a survey aimed towards getting to know Modesto. We talked to a wide range of people. We connected with people from the street community all the way to high class lawyers. It was interesting to hear what they thought of their town and their different perspectives. We ended our day with debriefing and prayer.
Our next day was a fairly light load. We had the opportunity to lead a community bible study. We also had a chance to receive and sort bags of goodies to serve at the cafe that the next day.
Yesterday we returned to the Vine House to join them in another community bible study. We studied Romans 8, both times. We read about how we are the children of God and how we were once slaves to sin, but now we are alive in Christ. It was amazing to see how God used the same scripture to reveal different things to us. After that we returned to South 9th and set up our cafe and served our new friends. We returned there last night to set up a lemonade cafe and served fresh watermelon.
It’s only been one week and God has used us to accomplish so much. We are loving it here in Modesto. We are positive that though this seemed like our last resort, this is where God intended us to be all along. Thank you so much for your prayers and support.