When I was preparing to move to Orlando to do ministry Downtown, I felt an array of emotions. I was certainly excited to move from Small Town, USA to the city but I was also scared. I wouldn't know how to get from my home to the grocery store. I felt unprepared for the ministry we were called to (I was), and I felt unequipped to reach the people we would be ministering to (I wasn't).
Before moving to Downtown Orlando we came to the city often. We observed the ministry of others and tried to gauge the culture. I came to learn that many of the people we would be doing ministry among were very different from myself. People ranging from the homeless, to the young partier, to the wealthy business man or elite of society, crowded the Downtown streets. At the time I believed I had nothing in common with any of these people and that belief only increased my fear of failure.
So I did the only thing I knew to do; I prayed. I prayed these two specific prayers for months:
And you know what? God was faithful to answer both of those prayers. I carry in my mind a Rolodex of information on my city. I can tell you where to eat what you crave, what new businesses are opening or shutting down, what events are taking place, where to see the best art for free, and the perfect spot to drink a cup of coffee. People are often amazed by the wealth of information I remember about this place. I just love my city! And in order to love anything you have to get to know it well.
God was also faithful to answer my prayer about breaking my heart for the people of Orlando. I wanted to weep for the things that made Him weep and I wanted to see beauty in the eye of everyone He created. I haven't always seen people clearly but now I see the story behind almost anyone I pass on the street or talk to at a business. I look into their eyes, listen to their voice, and can start to see God's heart for them almost instantly.
There were a lot of things that could have been legitimate fears moving into this city. But being ineffective was not one of them. If you're wanting to love your city more and minister to it's people better, I highly encourage you to begin praying the two prayers above regularly. I know God will answer you and use them change the way you see your city.
By the way, I did find the grocery store. And so much more.
Joy is a missionary to Downtown Orlando with her husband, Jason, and drool covered Bassett Hound, Sam. She has a degree in Church Leadership and formerly helped manage the Church Planting office of Converge Worldwide. She teaches women how
to intersect their faith and life through intentional missional living
at joybrudolph.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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