We have finished the halfway point of our time in Daytona.
The last two days have had a number of similarities to what we experienced on Monday.
Each day begins with the ‘food crew’ heading off to Sam’s Club (and sometimes Walmart) to pick up the supplies we will need for the upcoming day!
Tuesday began with half the team heading to the library park to connect with many of our friends who are homeless. It continued to be a mixture of joy and sadness as we sat with men and women and heard more stories of the harshness of life on the street. Many continued to struggle with the question of how we could possibly share God’s love with them – how to let them know that they matter to the God of the universe.
The other half of the team went to the beach to get set up for another very warm day of walking on the beach. During our time there were lots of games of volleyball – with high school and college students who are spending their spring break running around Daytona. Small groups of the team spent the day walking the beach and getting in to conversations with individuals, families, college students and snow birds. These conversations range from shallow discussions to ones that are deep and surprisingly open. While we can’t arrange the outcomes of these conversations, we enjoy each one, seeking to be present and available to what God wants to do.
The beach is also the place where we get to hang out with our friends from Ocean View. We love sharing a soda (or many, many sodas) with these friends, catching up on their lives and talking about the things they want to discuss. Many of these conversations are fun and light – while some reveal the great hurt and brokenness that the years have dealt them. Most of the day on Tuesday we were ‘serenaded’ by our friend Louis doing a variety of karaoke songs from the 80’s, 90’s and beyond.
Ended the day on the beach doing some beach worship with a wild collections of friends and strangers – always a highlight of the day.
After dinner (with our local friends we met a few years ago – Les and Kris) a number of team members went out on the town to talk with people on the boardwalk and in the town.
Today followed much of the same pattern – with a few changes. Our time at the park with our homeless friends was an wonderfully encouraging time as we connecting with a local group (Four Seasons Ministry) who does a feeding ministry weekly for homeless in Daytona. These wonderful Christians were SO encouraging to us and provided us with a wonderful opportunity to connect with and see the church caring for the men and women on the streets.
The day at the beach was similar to yesterday with more conversations and more encounters where God gave us opportunities to encourage others and also used others to encourage us.
After dinner we were able to do what is typically the highlight of our week as we went to Ocean View and worshiped with the residents at the home. Always great to see James Lewis tapping away as we sing a variety of songs.
Continue to pray for strength over the next to days. The good news is everyone now appears to be healthy (largely) – no significant sunburn, but certainly some tiredness from spending hours in the hot sun.
We really want to finish well during the next two days – pray that along with strength – our hearts will be open to those that we meet and that God will use us to bring his love to the people of Daytona that we are privileged to encounter.