A heart of humility is essential for serving on the streets. Evangelism is so often a daunting thing to do, but really, what makes it so terrifying is the idea that people’s hearts are involved, their souls are on the line.
I talked to freshman psychology major Avarie Wilson about the beauty in the brokenness of local missions. While having experienced global missions prior to Biola, Avarie went to Skid Row and realized that there was no translator, which meant no filter. Evangelism, then, became something with less barriers than with that overseas. And while we often look at the barriers as things we need to break down for a greater connection, barriers here can be seen as a wall of security. She said, “when I go to Haiti, they know I’m American. When I go to Skid Row, they know I’m a privileged college student. We have less in common.”
Within her diverse team, honesty with the uncomfortable and the unknown is welcome. For Avarie, it’s seeing the “parts of the body working together on the streets” that makes it worthwhile to struggle together for the sake of growing the Kingdom together. While usually we give an allotted amount of time to serving with everything we have and come back to wherever we call home to the confines of comfort, Avarie has been “thankful that God taught [her] to not overlook my neighbors who are here. There are people right next to you that speak your language.” Through her downtown LA missions trips, local missions has become an avenue for declaring our commitments to our neighbors.
Averie recalled multiple encounters with women residents at the Union Rescue Mission in downtown LA who opened her eyes to the moving hand of God. She said that her and her partner would usually approach them, wanting to share the gospel, but a plot twist would occur in God’s narrative for them. Instead, those women, who have nothing, would share the gospel with her. “Why do I not think God’s not on the streets of Skid Row? I get more of a front-row seat on what God’s doing here and we get to be a part of it,” she says.
Being on Skid Row has cultivated her heart to work with sex-trafficking victims for she’s seen the hurt that is so close to home. Meeting the hurting world with humility has led her to strike a cord of humanity and empathy, to encourage and be encouraged.