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Category: Testimonies
Topic: High heels to flip-flops- from the stage to the street

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After competing in the Miss Alabama pageant last summer, I traded in my high heels for flip flops and headed out on a mission trip. WOW- it was a huge leap of faith as I stepped from the stage to the street. In Bend, OR, my missions partner (Jenny) and I felt led to build relationships in Drake park with the social outcasts. This summer Jenny MOVED to Bend to minister to the homeless, and I returned for another month. I was given your book by the manager of the Christian bookstore here (WHAT a blessing!) and felt I should share my journal entry from today---

"I picked up the book- knowing I needed sleep. It was already 2 am. "I'll just read the first chapter" I thought, and crawled into bed. Moments later I knew I wasn't going to sleep anytime soon. I was captivated by Mike and Sam's story... vividly seeing every scene. My heart broke and I read on- hungry for more. I heard of George, Russ, and James-who not only fed people in the parks, who loved them, who built relationships with them. The words became blurry as the tears streamed down my face... soon, I was sobbing as Mike shared how much their time impacted them. I thought about all the people I had met, and my questions of "Am I doing enough? I've only had a handful of opportunities to share the gospel!" were fresh in my mind. But Mike told of George, who'd never preached to the people, but fed and loved them. "Isn't it amazing" he said, "that when we live as were called and do what were commanded, the gospel does get preached- one way or another?" I continued to cry as God spoke to my heart and confirmed everything I'd done. Each hug I'd given, meal I'd cooked, shoes I'd bought, conversation I'd shared were more valuable than any sermon they could hear. I finished the book as the sun rose, closing it between my hands, but knowing it would be forever open in my heart. I was broken and burdened, inspired and confirmed. The homeless and hungry, the poor and addicted, the park rats and panhandlers... all these people outcast from society... they are not a project or part of the scenery. They are not a mission trip- to help for a month and then forget. They are "the least of these"...mercy opportunities... a chance to be His hands- to be a true expression of the love of Christ in its purest form. I have read Under the Overpass... I have come... I have seen... I have touched... I have loved... and I will never be the same."

Pray for me as I return to college at Auburn University and live this calling to a lifestyle of love. And each time I pass a lonely soul sitting beside the street... well let's just say I have a lot of friends to make in the days to come!

God BLESS you and Sam, for your vision, your willingness, your great faith!

In HIS hands,
Ericka Bennett
Miss Auburn-Opelika Area 2005

"That they would know Him by the way we love them"

Posted: 2005-07-31 03:10:00

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