Transformation Tuesday

Scrubbing the day’s culinary concoction from the stove one Tuesday after I had cooked lunch, I wasn’t expecting any conversations to come my way. But these things rarely come when we expect them.

Craig entered the kitchen and started talking about a recent experience that he had. “Somebody came up to me in a car and offered me money to do stuff. And I was like ‘Nah, man. I don’t do that.’ The old me totally would have taken it, though.”

I admit that I was taken off-guard. It is not often that the men offer up stories about hustling. It is one of the topics that is still couched in shame, even in the safety of the Ministry Center. Given this rare opportunity, I wanted to follow up on it.

“So what changed? What’s different about the new Craig, and how did you get there?” I asked.

He paused for a moment as he thought. “I guess just hanging out with people down here. You know, people who are positive influences on my life.”

Wow. That is the kind of answer that makes me wake up and come to work every morning. To think that even one person could be impacted by the work that we are doing is incredible.

I know that Craig is interested in Christianity, but is not completely sold on it yet. Though he didn’t say “I can tell that there is something different about you guys and I’m interested in getting it for myself,” I can hear some of that in how he responded and in other conversations we’ve had.

We as a staff have been studying evangelism and discipleship together, and one of the techniques we’ve been is taught is using transformation stories to convey the Gospel message. After hearing this story, I can tell that Craig has experienced some transformation already, and I hope to be able to share some of my own transformation with him as well.

I love how much Jesus loves to break peoples’ chains of sin and shame and bring them into freedom. I have found it both motivating and comforting to focus my thoughts and hope on the future when every chain will be broken. Until then, we are living in the “already-not yet” period in which the Kingdom is here on Earth, but hasn’t been fully realized. I pray that Craig will, in his lifetime, be able to both receive the Kingdom for himself and help to break the chains of others using his own transformation story.


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