Alan’s Story

My fifteen-year-old daughter Lily asked me if I would go on this mission journey trip to Chicago. She begged me for a couple of days, and then I said, “Okay, I am going to come with you.” They told me that I was going to be on the hot dog and the car wash team.

I met John when he was standing in line to get a hot dog. He had a fresh, purple eye. His skin was cut in several places on his face. Obviously, just by looking at him, you knew that he was a victim of drug use, and he began to talk to me. At first, he wouldn’t look at me in the eye. Then after a few minutes, he started looking at me in the eye. He could tell that I really wanted to talk to him. And then I said, “John, can I eat with you?” And he said, “Yeah, I’d like that.”

A New Story in Christ

He started telling me a little bit of his story, and he said, “My story is so messed up.” I said, “John, you know, all of us have stories, and we’re not defined by our stories.” And I told him the story of Joseph. And I told him about everything that Joseph had been through and all the trials and tribulations, and I said, “Joseph looked at his brothers, he looked at his family, and he said, ‘What you intended for evil, God intended for good for the salvation of many.’”

John’s crying, and John said, “I want that.” He said, “I want my story to mean something.”

Love Put into Action

We had a conversation then about how Jesus comes into our life. John asked Jesus to come into his heart in that moment. It’s just amazing how God works through little things like hot dogs, and they saw these kids—these youth, these young men and women—who were willing to pour into them and were willing to look at them in the eyes.

Our students were willing to put their hand on their backs and let them know that they are being loved. It is just the greatest gospel conversation you could have.