Serve in Anaheim

"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15
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Lord, I want to serve You.  But, my way. 

God called me to be a missionary. That is my heart's passion. That is my joy. 

I've heard it all before. Serve where planted.  Make our neighborhoods, workplace, and school our mission field. Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Whatever.  What I mean to say is, I am called to be a real missionary.  You know, in other countries.

After many prayers (translation: whining and complaining) God heard my mission prayers. (Haven't you heard, persistent prayers pay off?) He responded by clearly showing me my mission field--Anaheim. 

God must have been distracted when He answered my prayers because He didn't get it quite right.

No God, You called me first to foreign missions, doncha' remember? 
Can't you see how we can serve alongside those already out in the field? We like them.  They like us.  We’d make great teams. Yes?


"Anaheim!"

How about Cuba? How about a short trip to Cuba? 
To Romania? 
How about Ireland?
Mexico?
 

"Anaheim!"

Anaheim?

"Anaheim!"

Here in Downtown Anaheim we are surrounded by families who speak little to no English. Four and five-year-olds play in the streets at night, seemingly without adult supervision at times. Families often run out of their welfare funds before the end of the month. This is where the "canned food drives" are distributed.

Kids seem to like our yard.  We never lack little kids wanting to come and play. Surprisingly, many older kids also want to hang here.

OK God, if this is it, the least You can do is give me a supernatural ability to love Anaheim.

God, I complained. These kids want to come more often than I have the ability to watch them. They leave trash everywhere. They use vulgar language and are rude. I find them playing in our yard when we're not home after being asked over and over not to. 

"Teach them rules and boundaries." 

How often Lord? I repeat myself over and over and they don't show any respect. 

"Teach them only as often as I have taught you.

Oh!
Well, it's not the same! 

"It isn't?" 

No, Lord, it's not. Some of these kids are not likable.  

“Do you remember losing your temper with the cable company on the phone the other day?  How about the lady at the store that snapped at you?”

Well . . . I may not have been likable then but wasn't my response justifiable?  Okay! Maybe I’m not always likable.

"I love you, Child." 

God, they want to use the bathroom all the time...they want drinks...they want snacks.  I'm busy. My own kids need me. When was the last time I went out with my husband? And we can't afford to feed them all! 

"I gave you the house with the bathroom, money to buy the snacks, and the car to go purchase the snacks." 

That's not what I want to hear. What I want is for You to supernaturally send me the cute, polite ones. Only send me the sweet and nice ones that are easy to love and serve. Please send them when I have the house cleaned, outside work done, lemons picked for lemonade, cookies baked, and have time to sit with them at the kitchen table to lovingly share of God’s love for them.

"If you love Me, feed My sheep in Anaheim. 
Not just when you have the time.
Not just when you feel like it.
Not just the way you see fit, even if it's just to teach them boundaries." 

"Serving me doesn't mean you should say 'yes' to everything. It means spending time with me to know my heart's desire for these kids--what values I desire to instill in them to be equipped for their future. You'd be amazed what I can do with just a few minutes". 

"In the future, will these kids reflect back and remember the busy, cranky old lady? Or, will they remember the way you gave them a genuine smile and allowed them to play for 10 minutes?" 

"This is not only about them. It's also about you being blessed. It's an opportunity for you to learn wisdom, organizational skills, detect opportunities to love, when to say no or yes. It's an opportunity for you to experience my love as you learn to love the unlovable and needy Anaheim. You see, Child, I can use a donkey to accomplish my work in Anaheim but I want to bless You by you being My vessel in Anaheim." 

"Even the wicked can do good and love when all the circumstances are right. Child, don't just love with Thanksgiving Meals or occasional mission events.  Love them daily when there is an opportunity to do so. These opportunities won't always be there. Don't miss them now." 

I'll take your 'widow's mite’ of 10 minutes and do mighty things if you give with a sincere and humble heart."

"Anaheim!" 

I'm starting to get a vague idea . . . slowly understand . . . begin to recognize that maybe Anaheim is where God wants me serve Him today.

by Susan Chinn