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Understanding God’s Gifts in a Parking Lot

–April 2, 2015

Los Angeles and Skid Row have had a huge impact on me these past couple of days, but tonight has definitely been the most impactful night so far.

As a part of our ministry for the Dream Center we went out to Skid this afternoon and handed out hot dogs and water to people—at first it was only for a group of people but later we were out giving water to everyone on the streets. I was having a really good day so far so I was extremely happy and excited to have the opportunity to bless and help other people even just by giving them cups of water. The people on Skid are so so friendly and I really love getting to talk to them and hear their stories. I was having a great time handing out waters and such, but I was feeling a little discouraged when I saw that a few of the other girls on my team were a bit scared, frightened and nervous. I think that there were a few instances where we felt like the LA leaders that were with us did not handle situations really safely and put us in circumstances where there was a possibility of danger—this made quite a few people extremely nervous.

When we all got back to our meeting place (where it was safe) there was quite a bit of worry in the group because some of our team hadn’t returned yet and we had just been in a relatively dangerous situation. I wasn’t scared or worried at all though. I felt like something was wrong with me. How could I be so calm and peaceful when we were in such a dangerous place with such dangerous circumstances? I have struggled with this a lot in the past as well and I have a really hard time getting worried when I am in terrifying situations.

Recently my dad was in the hospital with a life-threatening situation, and don’t get me wrong I was very worried about him, but I was never really afraid and worried for his life (never thought that he would die) and I could not explain that until tonight.

I approached Shaun (my leader) tonight and explained where I was at—I really just didn’t understand why I could be so calm in such tough circumstances and the conversation we had on the black top (a parking lot of all places) was life-changing for me. He asked me what my spiritual gifts were and to be honest I had totally forgotten even though I had just done the test (I do believe that was part of God’s plan). Then he said this to me: “I think your spiritual gift is faith”. That one sentence hit me like a tonne of bricks and I just couldn’t hold back the tears. He just kept talking to me and giving me examples of how God has been working through my life with that gift and I was just so overwhelmed by the peace that filled my spirit and the realization that all of my reactions had a purpose. The whole time Shaun was talking I could just feel God saying to me that what he was telling me was truth. I have never felt so broken yet so whole at the same time. It was like I had been looking through a keyhole instead of just taking a step back and seeing the whole picture. I really got to see myself from God’s eyes rather than my own for one of the first times in my life. I never really understood but tonight I did. God spoke through Shaun and He just really showed His work in my life—all of those times that I thought my own faults stopped me from seeing everything, God was actually working through my life. I almost feel like I trust God without knowing it. I have always been so worried about my faith and have always really struggled with it so I have never even thought that faith could be a spiritual gift that I would possess.

What I saw as fault, God saw as opportunity. He has given me a gift that I never expected and could never explain. It was one of those a-ha moments where I got to see the whole picture for what it really was.

So what did I get from this trip? I got depth. I was able to open my heart to God’s love and when I studied and examined my heart I got to see the role God has played in my life so far.

I am still in awe of everything that took place and hope to be for a long, long time.


Later on in the night we went to the DC church for their Thursday night service and that was one of the most amazing church experiences that I have ever been to. During worship I was just overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit and so filled with hope and joy that I couldn’t help but fall onto my knees in worship. I wanted to dance and cry and laugh all at the same time—I couldn’t get enough of praising God, the One who made me and guides every thought and decision I make—the One who knows the number of hairs on my head. The sermon also spoke to me in a huge way and I just kept saying amen to every point the preacher was making—the love of God completely overwhelmed me. Some of the best church services I have ever been to have been in L.A. and I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to go to each one of them.

To make my night even more unbelievable, when we were walking home two ladies who had just come off a bus came up to Liana and I and asked us if we knew where the Dream Center was. We were like, “of course—we’re going there”! It was truly so perfect and God surprised me yet again with his timing—you’d think I’d have learned about the awe-ness and timing of God by now! Those two ladies were so amazing and I had such an awesome conversation with the one lady named Cindy (the other was named Alisha). She really encouraged me and I got to share about the ministry we were doing and also about my own faith—maybe for the first time this trip. It was so cool. They found where they were going (the chapel) and I was just so in awe of God and how He had planned everything from the night out perfectly. Tonight was such an incredible night that I hope I remember for the rest of my life. God truly showed me His power and love through all things tonight, but most of all I was able to see His perfect plan for my life—I could see myself through God’s eyes and not my own. I find that pretty awesome!

About Melissa

Hi! My name is Melissa and there are many things that I enjoy- what a coincidence! These things are soccer, singing and dancing...... and many other things!! I have a brother, who's favorite thing is to test my patience, and a sister who I can't say anything bad about! I have three cats- Misty, Aubrey and Kaui (said Cowie)! No we did not name him that ...and he does not act like a cow, even though he probably weighs the same amount as one! What I love to do most is musical theatre and to perform. I also love horses and food! :) I love writing and working with kids, and watching old movies. One of my dreams is to go do mission work, and to bless other people, as well as develop an amazing relationship with God. I look forward to forming relationships with many of the people on this site, and to share my faith with other believers. Hopefully I'll be able to inspire and be inspired by this site.

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