A Walk in the Park
Last Tuesday evening my wife Penny and I were walking our dog in the park near our house. Up ahead we saw a homeless man sitting on a park bench.
We assumed he was homeless because of the large backpack on the bench next to him. But, as we got closer, we noticed that it was a young man who looked very well groomed for someone who was homeless. He was reading a Bible that looked so new that the gold edge on the pages reflected in the setting sun.
After we passed by, I felt a nudge on my heart. I mentioned to my wife that we should go back to the house, put some food in a bag for him, then come back, and give him a little money as well. She agreed, sensing the same ?unction? of the Holy Spirit.
That was how we got to know Zach. He told me his story; that he had been a Bible teacher at a church and used to have a full time job. Zach told us that, in 2013, God told him to do a faith walk from Texas to Florida. God commanded him to stay out of shelters, missions, etc.
At first, Zach explained, he stayed in hotels and ate in restaurants until all his savings were used up. God challenged Zach to trust Him for his needs. He did not go to shelters and he did not hitchhike, he just trusted the Lord. Rides were offered to him along the way, as well as food.
In January of this year, he felt nudged of the Lord to take a faith walk from Seattle to San Diego. This time, God allowed him to experience the homeless ministries in order to learn some things and minister to certain individuals God highlighted to him. So far he only stayed in one shelter, in Oregon, for 5 days. But he has eaten at several missions.
He still has never asked for money, flown a sign, or ever hitchhiked. One gentleman gave him a quality backpack and hiking boots. God protected him on slippery roads in the Pacific Northwest as lumber trucks zoomed past him.
It was late April when we met him in our park in Oceanside, California, and I listened intently as he shared with me the insights he had learned being homeless. Like, $250 fines for sleeping in a park; authorities expecting the homeless to scatter like roaches and disappear when it turns dark.
?Jesus would probably be arrested today,? Zach said, ?if he tried to minister the way he did 2000 years ago.? I agreed.
Zach expressed interest in learning the history of the Jesus People movement, which I had been part of back in 1970 (which is where I met the Lord). He wanted to hear more of my history and learn about what I was doing with house churches. To stay in touch, Zach gave me his email address and said that he checks it when he can at the public library.
The next day I emailed him to let him know about a group of brothers who were going on a mountain retreat the next weekend. I asked if he wanted to come up with me for the day.
I picked him up in the park on Saturday morning. We had a fun ride up the mountain with three other brothers.
On the mountain, we enjoyed a fellowship that was open and free where anyone could share. In the afternoon, Zach had time to get to know several of the brothers who also had a background like mine. Zach had been reading about Lonnie Frisbee and was thrilled to connect with one of the brothers that had known Lonnie personally.
Zach stayed until Sunday morning and got a ride down the hill with another brother. Excess funds had been collected for expenses for the weekend, and the brothers all decided to distribute that amongst those that were in need. So Zach was blessed with some more money as he left the retreat
I love divine encounters like these. How precious that Zach ended up at the park across from my house, a few days before our planned mountain retreat.
Zach made a bunch of contacts and friends last weekend. He was invited to help minister at a homeless outreach in LA. I await a future email from Zach to hear what adventures he is up to.