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1. January 15, 2023

Since last Tuesday (Jan. 10), a lot has happened. Instead of the San Diego Rescue Mission, I am at Father Joe's shelter at the heart of downtown San Diego. There's been a lot of walking and waiting on the Lord, but also quite a few opportunities to share the hope of the gospel of Jesus with people.

The living conditions at the shelter are pretty gnarly, but having a roof over my head is definitely better than not. First night getting to SD I thought I wouldn't have a place to stay--which was definitely a horrible feeling--, since the SD Rescue Mission told me they're no longer providing shelter for men [probably going to take the advice of some friends and call ahead... we'll see ;) ]. Thankfully, however, God orchestrated some things so I was able to make it safely to Father Joe's inclement weather shelter, which was only available because it rained that night--and quite lightly at that (thank You Jesus).

The next day, I did some paperwork and got transferred over to the dorm area and given an ID card to show at the front desk to get in and be able to get food. I got a top bunk in the men's dorm, which looks like an office space filled with cubicles, but each small cubicle space contains a bunk bed. Theres probably around 150ish other guys staying there total. It's like a college dorm, but a lot worse in every way haha. Ate breakfast at the cafeteria the next day, and at lunch I met a Hispanic brother in Christ named Sam. I ended up going to a Bible study with Sam the next day at Oceanview church at like 6:30pm--how I ended up there is also a cool little testimony in of itself.

The next day (Thursday) the Lord connected me with a new friend named Mike--was definitely a God thing with how we were brought together (Mike went to prison, and upon release moved to San Diego, where he's been at the shelter for a couple months. After distancing himself from the Lord, he was finally praying again to God on Wednesday night -- the next morning on Thursday, we sat next to each other at an outlet at the shelter--which a guy let me use so readily even though he had just started charging his phone--and, after some time, he asked me about the book I was reading, which my friend Steve gave me, called "Chasing the Dragon" by Jackie Pullinger, which then initiated a whole conversation about Jesus [I had been hoping he'd say something about the book, hehe]).

Did a Bible study with Sam and Mike the next day (Friday), went to a men's breakfast with them on Saturday, and went to Oceanview church with them today. Theres been a lot of people I've talked with, and a lot of conversations where I've felt led to simply ask questions and just listen. I haven't seen any of the miraculous yet--no healings, no salvations (that I could see), no demons cast out. But the light of the gospel is still going forth, and as I've been adapting to where I am, the Lord is continually strengthening me and emboldening my witness. I've also been trying to find ways to serve around the shelter--so far it's mainly just been cleaning tables and setting up mats and stuff. I'm healthy, the Lord's providing for me, and I am grateful.

The Lord is so gracious, and has been pouring water into dry places within my soul--places where my own expectations and motives try to take root and rush what God is wanting to grow in His own time. I trust the Holy Spirit; He's perfect at what He does, and I fully believe He will glorify Jesus in the way He sees fit through me. I am hungry to see God glorified; my hands remain opened to be used by the Lord, and my feet are eager to share the good news. The first couple of days were heavy, but Christ has stood by me every step of the way--along with His church--, and I know He will be with me for the rest, even to the end of the age. God is with us!!!

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

"For we walk by faith, not by sight."

2 Corinthians 5:7

I can't say enough about the support I've received, and how grateful I am for your prayers and encouragement. Your love has incomprehensible power, and I thank God continually for the people He has brought into my life and the love of Christ I get to partake of with you. Thank you, and Godwilling I'll be sending another update in a week. Please continue to pray for me, and that God would deliver me from evil and that my service to the Lord would be acceptable--a pleasing aroma unto Him. To God alone be the glory through Christ Jesus!!! Amen.

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