July 25, 2004, Sunday ~ Lewis and Clark State Recreation Site on the Sandy River near Troutdale, Oregon was the location for our second annual family picnic and worship gathering. The LORD spoke to me that we would be ministering to people in the park this year. My assignment was to take “HIS Glory Coming Down” Anointing oil and pour it out into the parched land.
Pam and Sandi prayed fervently that the raging heat would decrease. The hot steamy temperature plummeted 20 degrees, from 106 degrees to 86 degrees in less than 24 hours! Thank You Jesus!
When I arrived at the park, Dennis was busy setting up the BBQ's. Immediately, I noticed some people sitting at a table off to the side. They were drinking alcoholic beverages and I was a little concerned as we had families with young children. (Please understand, when I was a young girl, my parents owned a grocery store, which our family lived behind and immediately next door was a tavern. As my bedroom window overlooked the back of the tavern, many things happened behind that tavern, which imprinted me for life. Therefore, I am very cautious in certain situations.) Dennis, being the anointed evangelist that he is, let me know that he had already invited them to join our "party"...I just laughed at myself. While the temperatures decreased, GOD’s mercy and grace increased.
This year we opted to begin our family gathering with worship. There is something precious about worshiping the MOST HIGH GOD in a park setting. We joined the rest of nature and worshiped the LORD, transforming the atmosphere with the sound of our praise! One of the men from the other table came to join our worship. It was good, and it was GOD.
After worship, Jeremy, anointed by the LORD, went to share JESUS with the men at the table. In a rare moment of courage, I walked over to their table and introduced myself. Jay had joined us in worship while Curtis, a Native American watched us from a distance. Even though I invited them to join our picnic, they declined. A little while later, I noticed Dennis piling up plates with food and taking it to their table. Sometimes in ministry it is not about people coming to where we are it is about us going to where they are!
As with most family gatherings there is an abundance of food, laughter, children and memories. God's blessings in overt abundance! Five cities and two states were represented by those that gathered. Only GOD!
We savored seedless watermelon, Oreo cookies, someone’s famous BBQ chicken, savory grilled steak, tube steaks aka hot dogs and so much more. After feasting, the panoramic view included teenagers volleying the volleyball, families playing croquet, men tossing horseshoes, children throwing balls, little ones blowing miracle bubbles, infants sleeping, some visited, some prayed and many escaped the heat in the cool waters of the river.
Later in the afternoon, Jay came over to give me $10 and thanked me for allowing him to join us. It was all that I could do not to cry. His life story etched in every worn crease of his face. Yes, we received his offering and prayed that GOD would multiply it for HIS glory.
My grandson, Elijah wanted to go swimming, so I agreed to walk with him to the river's edge. Some of you may remember last year, when we gathered at the Sandy River’s edge for a Baptism Celebration and the beach was completely empty (at the time we were certain angels reserved it). I was stunned as to the number of people (and their canine companions) as this year over a 100 people, escaping the heat of the city, crowded along the Sandy River's edge.
When we returned, I noticed that a couple had joined Curtis at the other table and Dennis had already taken them plates of food. A very thin woman came over with two empty water bottles in her hands asking for me to fill them with water as the park water was unfit for drinking. Reaching into the cooler filled with ice, I handed her three chilled bottles of water, she said rubbing her tummy, "That is the fullest I have been in a long time, haven't eaten for two days." Sometimes, I wish I had a reverse tear faucet or at least a delay drip like they make with landscape sprinkling systems. Later, I learned that the couple was living in their van and Curtis, a Choctaw Native American was living in a tent along the river. Since I was homeless, jobless, car-less and jailed all rather unexpectedly through a bizarre abusive situation in 1994, I know experientially, that life just does not always turn out as one might hope.
Today is the 25th of July and in the 25th chapter of Matthew verse 35, Jesus spoke, "...for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in." He continued HIS teaching through verse 40..."And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'"
"FATHER GOD, in the name of JESUS, I pray that our eyes will be opened to see what YOU see, that our ears will be opened to hear YOUR voice more clearly, that we will walk immediately obediently for YOUR Glory! and that YOUR love will be demonstrated through us daily. Amen!"