Today we went out to the beach excited and energized prepared to see old friends at Oceanview and meet new friends on the beach. Much to our disappointment, though, clouds were covering the beach and rain was streaming down. While sitting under a pavilion waiting for the rain to stop, a friend from Oceanview named Charlie told us that one of our good friends named James Lewis (pictured below) had passed away from a stroke. This was not easy for many returning team members, as James Lewis has been considered family for many years to them. Why God? Why is this how we are starting out the week?
As the rain continued in and out, we played volleyball, went on walks and handed out sodas to those who came by our spot on the beach. Finally we decided to call it quits on the beach and return to the hotel to regroup. From there, different groups went to the boardwalk, Starbucks, and the beach in front of our hotel.
Starbucks is a place that is very familiar to me [Natalie]. Thinking about evangelizing in such a familiar place made me nervous. Izzy, Ethan and I knew that it would be a place where people had a routine, structure, and things to do. Outside on the porch, Izzy started talking to this family of three. Conversation grew and over an hour went by. We touched on the topic that we were Christians and from a school that has many limitations on partying, and we have to make our own fun. This propelled the conversation down why we are not partying down here in Daytona. Meanwhile, a homeless man named Robert interrupted us. He asked if we would like to pray with him. “Hey are you guys praying? Cause it looks like your group was praying, and I want to be a prayer warrior. I don’t normally do this. I think God told me to come pray with you.” He asked us for prayer requests and we joined hands… all 7 of us at a Starbucks! After he prayed, I asked to pray for him. He made it clear that he did not want prayer for himself, but tearfully asked for his sister. He left with tears in his eyes, but he was clearly overjoyed by the spirit (and a fresh cup of coffee ;)). My teammates and I were overcome with such encouragement. Robert seemed sincere in his desire to pray for us. Little did we know that the wife of the family we first started talking to was a Jehovah’s Witness. She told us she was encouraged in her own faith and wanted to pray for us.
Overall, it was a long day but the Lord still used the most unexpected change of events for His good. Looking forward to what the rest of the week entails!
(Our Prayer Wall) (Our friend, James)