Tattoos, Hookahs, & Dumpster Diving

tattoos-hookahs-dumpster

This is part 2 of reaching the city of Spokane for Christ, being led by the Spirit to specific locations to minister to all kinds of people that I would normally never associate with.

People who are refreshing and real hang out in dark places, trying to help those who are in misery and addiction. While paying the phone bill of an underprivileged friend who had no way to pay it, I saw the man behind the counter had a tattoo that said, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6) The tattoo took up his whole arm! We asked him to pray for us, and his prayer was wonderful!

A few days before, God had guided us to a tattoo parlor with a skull painted on the side of the building. Because I’m a sheltered missionary kid who always tried to do the right thing my whole life, I was scared to go into a store with bad people in it. My judgmentalism was sin, and I had no idea how self-righteous and cold-hearted I had been. I certainly never meant to look down on others. I was blind to the ugliness of my own sin.

My ministry partner and I walked through the door of the small building with a skull, and we saw different designs of tattoos and body piercings crammed all over the walls. A man behind the counter came up to us and asked if he could help us. I gulped, and my ministry partner began some small talk about body piercings. Soon we seemed to be wrapping up the conversation, so I blurted out, “We were wondering if you would like us to pray with you—we like praying for people…”

He said yes, and his face was so sweet and beautiful and he came out from behind the counter to hold hands with us. He told us about himself, and that his name was Jeremiah, and my ministry partner burst out with praise to God saying, “This is all a front for ministry! The prayers you have been praying have been to the true God. All you need to add to the end of your prayers is ‘in Jesus’ name.’” She then asked him to pray for us. As he prayed for us, I was filled with so much joy I thought I would burst.

When we exited the tattoo parlor, I jumped up and down and cried out, “If I had known how easy and fun that would be, I wouldn’t have been scared! O Lord, send us to more dark places, that we might see You shining in those places!” That was my favorite of many places because of the sharp contrast from going in to coming out. I repented of my sin of judgmentalism and asked God to give me a greater love for those who are in dark places.

Less than five minutes later, we were led by the Spirit to a hookah place. I was no longer scared. By the way, this was Halloween night, so we were really bringing Christ as a treat to different places that had candy for trick or treaters. (You must know that I have always hated Halloween and looked down on people who celebrated evil and witchcraft, not asking Jesus what He wanted me to do to redeem the day for His glory rather than look down on people. Once again, I repented of my hardened heart and asked God to change me to become all things to all people that I might win some to Christ.)

Entering the hookah place, we saw a woman with two large dogs behind the counter. My ministry partner loves dogs and was speaking to them. The dogs acted as if my ministry partner was their owner. The lady led one of the dogs out from behind the counter, and the dog lifted his paws and danced with my ministry partner. I was so shocked and exclaimed, “The dog is dancing with you!” She commanded the dog to dance with me, too, and the dog put his paws on my shoulders and danced with me. I’m scared of dogs, so I was in disbelief.

The real owner behind the counter said she had never seen her dogs act this way. Her heart was open to us because of it. (She keeps the dogs behind the counter to protect her.) We talked about Jesus. She said she knew Jesus but she didn’t go to church because she doesn’t like church people. She also judged people who came into her store, and she looked down on them. My ministry partner shared some words straight into her heart that applied to her situation, and told her to tell her clients that Jesus loves them. She said yes, she would. She was still in awe of what her dogs had done and listened to every word we said. When she was convicted by what my ministry partner was saying, I wiped tears from my own eyes. Then we left. We spent the rest of the night ministering at the mall.

On a different night, we were going back-to-back to different places where God led us. My ministry partner asked me, “Where next?” I bowed my head and closed my eyes and asked the Holy Spirit, “Where do You want us to go next?” I saw in my spirit a building that looked like a castle with a tower on either side. I said it looked like it could be a church. By now we had picked up our third ministry partner, and she recognized my description as a church not far from where we were. When we arrived there, I exclaimed that it was exactly what I saw in my spirit. My ministry partner said, “God wants us to park there.” I parked right next to the dumpster according to God’s command, and we saw a man ducking behind the dumpster. We prayed briefly and then got out of the car.

I walked straight behind the dumpster with no fear, telling the man that Jesus sent us. He was dumpster diving, and he had removed some fruit from the dumpster. He said he wanted fruit, and I told him, “I can buy you some fresh fruit from the store. Why don’t you come with us? I can drop you off anywhere you want to go.” He was astounded. We asked if we could pray for him, and he said yes. He had given his life to Christ years ago but had lost his way. After praying with him, he said he was okay and decided not to come with us. “Jesus loves you, and don’t you forget it!” I shouted joyfully while getting back into the car and asking God, “Where next?”

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16 Responses to “Tattoos, Hookahs, & Dumpster Diving”

  1. Yaa Attobrah says:

    Wow, Susan, I am amazed at what you do. God bless you for being out there with your faith. I need prayers for this kind of boldness!. I enjoyed reading your post. God continue to fill your cup for His good works, amen

  2. This is so incredibly amazing! I went from nodding and feeling the same way when you talked about how we don’t realize we are judging people to wanting to jump up and down with you outside the tattoo parlor lol. Love this post!! God bless you Susan! You are a beautiful Sister in Christ! ❤

  3. Ticia says:

    This was such a joy to read.

  4. Susan, your stories of how God led you and used you are so neat to read. God works in such wonderful and miraculous ways. Keep sharing the truth! – Amy

  5. Wow I love reading these stories. Also thank you for being honest and admitting your sin of judgmentalism. It’s hard to be honest and I’m glad God is showing you how to help those who have lost their way.

    • Susan says:

      So many of us in the church judge those outside the church, and they never feel that they belong in a church building. I’m trying to figure out a way to get the people from the street to come in and feel at home in the church, but it’s like they are shunned for not having money. It reminds me of the book of James that says we treat people differently depending if they are rich or poor, and that it’s wrong. Nothing has changed.

  6. Edith says:

    Wow! I love these testimonies. We not only bless others when we obey God to reach out to others, we are richly blessed ourselves. More grace upon your ministry in Jesus’ name.

  7. Amy Hagerup says:

    Thanks for sharing yet another story of listening to the Holy Spirit and letting Him lead you. Praise God for the boldness He gives you to speak out for Him.

  8. I used to be scared of people with tattoos. Mostly because I was misinformed and made judgements. Over the years that has changed. In fact, I got a small tattoo myself. It was a personal decision that I felt was lead by God…I know a pretty bold statement! But I have issues with trust and in small print on my wrist I have tattooed….Trust God. It is a personal reminder for me.

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