Recently I’ve had the opportunity to serve in the Revive Ministry. If you are unaware of this ministry, we go to Kensington once a month to serve the homeless and addicted population with physical and spiritual nourishment through the love of Jesus Christ. Each time out is filled with many new experiences, and the opportunity to love on a group of people that (at times) feel very alone and hopeless. It’s hard to have hope when you’re blinded by sin.

A couple of months ago Pastor Gary preached in Matthew 13- The Parable of the Sower, or as he put “the parable of the soil”. The ministry field of Kensington has brought this parable to life, and the realization that the Lord’s timing is always perfect. Serving food and having the opportunity to provide basic everyday needs (that at times I take for granted) is easy but experiencing the spiritual battles that these people are being faced with takes things to a whole new level. As believers, we know that each day is a spiritual battle, and that we are called to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20) daily. Preparation for serving on the day in Kensington takes the whole month of daily prayers and preparation on multiple levels (sorting clothes, planning and preparing food, gathering donations, arranging blessing bags and praying over it all). This is not a “job” one person can take on themselves, and thankfully the Lord has placed together many believers who have hearts that cry out for the people of Kensington and other areas that have similar circumstances.

Back to Matthew:

Matthew 13:3-9 (Parable)
Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. “And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. “Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. “But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. “And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. “But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Matthew 13:18-23 (Explanation)
Therefore hear the parable of the sower: “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; “yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

So, a couple months ago in Kensington I was asked to assess a woman who felt “faint”. We sat her down and recognized that she was dehydrated, so we provided her basic need of water, and had the opportunity to speak to her about the Lord’s living water. She had ears to hear and was willing to go receive help on that day. When the van pulled up to take her to a place that she could receive help for her addictions, her “friend” showed up, slipped her something in her hands (most likely more drugs), whispered in her ear, and then she changed her mind on getting in the van and they walked away. How quickly the enemy swooped down and devoured that seed.

Last month, however, was the most influential on my life. Towards the end of our time serving food I was called over to evaluate a woman who was pregnant, homeless, and on drugs. She was high at the time but was in a stable condition. We prayed over her and she was willing to go get help that day. She had a desire to get off the streets but didn’t have the means or will power to get the help. She stated that she had already tried two facilities to help her and they denied her because she was pregnant. So, we drove her to two other places that she hadn’t tried. We ended up leaving her at the one facility, that took her to another part of Philadelphia, but was far from Kensington. We all gathered around her in prayer before leaving and I gave her my number. We headed back to New Jersey, and I receive a phone call that they kicked her out. My heart broke for her and I wanted to go back to the city to get her. The Lord laid on my heart that He needed to do some more work in her life. The seed was planted, and that myself and the group in Revive are not always meant to sow, harvest, and reap. We each play a different part, and at different times, but it’s the Lord’s timing that is perfect and He knows what work needs to be done and when. Each day I try to reach out to her, and days go by that I don’t hear from her. I start questioning whether we did the right thing for her. Praying diligently for her. Galatians 6:9 was placed on my heart “let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

Wednesday of that week, I receive a phone call from her. Praise the Lord!!! She is admitted to a hospital and is receiving the help that she needs medically. She is in good spirits and desiring to have her life turned around – starting to feel that she’s not alone and that the Lord has placed our group in her life for a reason. That He has a plan for her life, and that this is a new beginning for her.

~ Jess Previglian