Ministry With, Not Ministry To

by Lorenza Andrade Smith

I was in New York. A woman caught my eye. I was in McDonald’s buying a 99-cent burger so I could use the restroom.

This woman, with all her baggage and a cart, comes in, tries to use the bathroom without purchasing anything. The manager says, “No, you can’t use the restroom; you’re not a customer.” And she leaves.

As soon as I’m done, I go after her, and I tell her, “I know how it is not to be able to go to the bathroom. Let me hold your stuff so you can go to the restroom.” I told her, “I’m homeless also, and so I know what it’s like.”

She stops me right on my track and says, “Young lady, you are not homeless. You live in God’s creation. Your home is with God.” (She) begins to witness to me about God’s love in the midst of crisis. And this was from a woman living on the street.

That’s why I’ve changed my vocabulary from being homeless – that’s so negative – to living on the streets. I saw the face of God; I heard the word of God in that very moment.

And this woman, whom everyone around her rejected, knew she was in the arms of God. That was powerful for me, knowing I’m in ministry with and not doing ministry to anybody. And myself being transformed during this journey.

Credit: InterpreterMagazine

Hear Smith speaking at General Conference 2012 Common Witness Coalition luncheon at Love Your Neighbor Tabernacle


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