The Mission

amandaEmmaus is not a place you get involved with and leave untouched. It is a place where you find beauty in brokenness. Throughout my time at Emmaus, even while I witnessed the slow process of progress with the men that Emmaus serves, I found constant hints of hope in the lives of the men.

I left the mission field of Emmaus Ministries over a year ago. After my four-month internship, I graduated from college and headed back home to the south suburbs of Chicago. Although I was excited to see what the future would hold, I felt sad to leave behind this ministry that had grabbed hold of my heart, and a bit nervous starting a new job as a fresh college graduate.

A full year after leaving Emmaus, I am no longer the “new person” at the mental health care facility where I work now. And I’m starting to become disenchanted and burned out with my job. Like at Emmaus, I’m in a position here to reach out to the broken, but mental health care can be a really taxing field to navigate.

I am not a morning person, and I was particularly grouchy this morning, but I managed to make it to work with a mug filled to the brim with coffee. My plan for the day was to slip into work, do what I needed to do for my eight hour shift, and slip out, with as little interaction as possible.

Apparently, God had different plans—actually, his were the exact opposite of mine! God is funny like that, isn’t he?

I came into work with a forced smile on my face to make it look like I’m at least trying. One of the clients made a point to thank me for my smile, and said that it meant a lot to see someone smile at him. This interaction got me thinking about the little things, and how sometimes the smallest things can mean the most. To me, it was no big deal, but to him that smile made his morning. I walked up to him, introduced myself, and our conversation quickly took off. We chatted about coffee, birds, and God, and we laughed a lot.

After some time, I got up, shook his hand, and told him that it was nice to meet him. As I walked away he stopped me, and with tears in his eyes, he said, “Thank you so much for laughing and talking with me.” I replied, “Of course! I enjoyed meeting you and chatting with you. Thank you for the laughs!”

With tears still in his eyes, he said, “No, you don’t understand. You see, I’m a prostitute. Not many people are kind to me. You don’t know how much this means to me.”

Emmaus’s mission suddenly became familiar to me again. I walked over to him and gave him a hug—an action which I’m sure is breaking some work rule or policy. I told him that he was loved. My work day ended in smiles.

The familiarity I felt wasn’t just about this man’s story, but a reminder of how we never actually leave the mission field. This entire planet is a mission field, and although I left Emmaus, the mission did not leave me. The mission field is sometimes a specific place, but we carry on the mission no matter where we go.

I rarely think about how God used me at Emmaus, but instead how God used the men to impact my life and teach me how to be a more loving and compassionate person. The men taught me how to carry out the mission beyond the walls of Emmaus and the city streets. Emmaus will always have a special place in my heart, and I’ll always look forward to returning for a hangout and some good food with the guys!

Maybe your mission field is a classroom, an office, or a coffee shop. Maybe your mission is smiling, high-fiving, acts of kindness, or telling someone they’re loved. Never underestimate the smallest thing, and certainly never underestimate your mission.

The mission is alive and well! Will you choose to accept it?

3 Comments
  1. Amanda, I am a lifetime ago friend of your Mom’s. I met you at Parkview well probably 2 years ago now. Anyway, I am having an interestingly difficult day and my phone made this popping noise and I clicked on my FB page and your link your Mom shared was first on my page. I clicked on it and read your entry. Well, needless to say you have reminded me that I am not in charge God is and if I need to take a minute to re-group, smile, get off my high horse, I must. There is so much more to look forward to than this life right? I know your Mom and Dad are proud of you…keep on doing what you are doing and sharing. You are inspirational to people you don’t even know. God Bless you. 🙂

  2. Amanda, that’s just it. You never know when HE is using you for HIS purpose. Its truly awesome when he does though. I love the journey that you are on. You get it.
    Blessings,
    Jm

  3. Beautifully said!!!

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Our Mission

To provide Christ-centered support to men seeking to escape survival prostitution and embrace a life of health and wholeness.

 

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Emmaus Ministries
4201 N Troy St
Chicago IL 60618

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Wheaton IL 60187-0431

773-334-6063
emmaus@streets.org

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