City Union Mission Testimony

A Gift of Hope
By Elisha Ortiz

Tonight a group of us were serving at the local homeless shelter. The residents began arriving and I immediately noticed a woman (who we will call Grace) struggle through the dining room with six children between the ages of 1-8…and she was pregnant. She sat down and our team began serving her table restaurant style. I sat down next to her and offered to feed the 1 year old so that Grace could eat. She immediately said, “Wow…this is so nice. Ive never been served before. This is so nice.”

One thing led to another and, while I was feeding her little one, I ended up sharing how the kids and I served in Togo, West Africa this summer. She asked how I was called there and then the Lord had me share how I was a relationship addict and that for many years worshipped a man instead of worshipping the Lord…until a year ago when I gave my life to the Lord and let Him be the Captain of my ship. Ever since then, He has been putting me to work serving Him and taking care of any obstacle in the way of that.

She said, “The Lord brought you here to me today. I have been making the same mistakes and worshipping a man my whole life. I keep taking the same road expecting different results. Recently, I have been having a dream where I’m in a cage being poked and prodded. I somehow escape and ‘m running down a street. All of the intersecting street signs read, “God, Grace, God, Grace, God, Grace”. I felt Him asking me, “Are you going to go down your road or are you going to try something different and go down My road? So last week, I decided to go down a different road and I left my husband. I’m only able to stay here at the shelter until Oct 14. I will be putting in an application for an apartment on Oct. 1 and if it’s God’s will, we will have a home.

Once we have a home, I have to find someone to watch my children when I go into labor with this baby in February. The pastor’s wife at my church told me this week that my kids and I are going to be adopted for Christmas and that I just need to make a list of what we need.”

Tears began rolling down her face and she said, “He’s showing me that this new road, that I don’t know, has a better plan for us and He will take care of us. Your testimony gives me hope.”

I gave her a hug and told her that I will be praying for her and that I would be back to serve dinner next Sunday and bring her my written testimony to keep with her for encouragement. I told her one day her testimony of how the Lord brought her out of her suffering and set her feet on solid ground, would also encourage another mother.

When we returned the following week, Grace came in looking all over for me. When she saw me, her face just lit up and she came to give me the biggest hug. Even the kids all ran up and gave me a hug.

After I let the kids join me in singing with Michael, I went over and sat down with the mom and I told her how radiant she was. She just seemed to be glowing since the last time I saw her. She said the only explanation was that God is good! She was excited to receive my testimony and immediately put it in her Bible. Then she said, well I can tell you have been praying because I ended up qualifying for a program here at the mission and now I do not have to be out until November at the earliest!! GOD IS SO GOOD!!

Then she pulled me and another member of our church family to the side and said, “I would really love the two of you to come to my baby shower if you’re available and I would also be honored if you would come and see me and the baby in the hospital when he is born.”

Ohhh the joy and love that was flowing from my heart.

We spent the rest of the night playing with the kids as if they were our own, interacting with the residents and hearing their stories.

The kids all joined in braiding Sara’s hair! It was all so adorable!!

Then one of the managers at the mission called me into their office to find out more about Crossroads Christian Church and just couldn’t stop saying how wonderful our church family was. I was able to share my testimony with him and another staff member and they were so inspired.

I could just cry with a heart full of joy when I look back and see how quickly the Lord allowed us to connect and minister to these people….to refresh them by giving them a break from their hardship…but also because they all ministered to us even more by allowing us the opportunity to serve them.

I love serving…what an absolute gift!