Hello from Redding, California!! We're here for a two week worship school at Bethel Church. Okay, I'm only "with the band". James, and our friends (Roman, Tiffany, Thomas & Chenoah) will be doing the school. I'll be doing my school (Pneumatology distance course), blogging, running (we have to go at 6am because it's so hot!!) and resting...and tanning, ha. I have SO much to share with you already (yesterday's church service was AMAZING) but you're going to have to come back tomorrow to learn more because today I have a special guest for you...Jonathan Bryden!
Jonathan is one of my dear friends. We have worked together for a number of years and he's been friends with James longer than I have. The three of us work very well on creative projects. If you know Jon, you know he has a heart of gold for people. He loves people like Jesus loves people. Like, really, really, loves them. Take it away Jon....!
My name is Jonathan, I’m 28 years old and I’m following Jesus. I’m currently working at Glad Tidings Church in Victoria producing videos and pointing people to Jesus.
People know me in my community as the video guy and the sock guy.
Why the sock guy you ask? It’s a name I picked up during my years on the streets of Victoria. On Thursday nights, some friends and I would go out with a bag of sports socks from Walmart and hand them out to the city’s homeless community. We did this as an excuse to love people, build relationships, share stories and point people to Jesus. I’ve led the ministry for seven years, but today I’m putting the socks down.
My word for this season is ‘complete’.
I recently had an experience where I felt the Lord lead me to spend a whole night out on the street. No sleep, no plan and no one to go with. It was not something I jumped at. I wasn’t eager to go, but His pressing kept on and I decided to follow through. Take the plunge right? Step out of the boat...
A Friday in early June arrived and the timing seemed right. I went expecting to see something deep and meaningful. I went expecting to see God in a really cool way. I went ready to receive a download from Heaven about the next level of the sock ministry I was leading. I went to hear from Jesus.
The experience I had that night was challenging, but not in the way I expected. I met many people, most of whom I knew or had at least already met, but my experience with them was like facing a hall of locked doors. I felt like I had no way in and when I talked about Jesus, I was mostly met with indifference.
It was unspectacular, frustrating and telling on how weary my heart had become towards the spiritual apathy so prevalent in our city. In the midst of all this, I heard God speak…
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
And so that’s what I did. I paused on the side of the street, silent and still. And I realized that all of this wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about my efforts, my love, my sacrifice or even my prayers. It was all about His efforts, His love, His sacrifice and His prayers. I realized the only difference that would ever be made in the lives of the homeless of our city, would be from the work of God’s Holy Spirit and this alone.
And then I began to remember all those who God led us to love over these last seven years. All those who trust in Him, yet don’t look like they are following Jesus. All His people who believe Jesus is their Savior, but have characters and appearances that would never lead you to believe that they are our brothers and our sisters. I remembered the verse…
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25:35-36
I realized this has been the success of this ministry. We got to love Jesus. We got to love His people. Though there are countless who are indifferent, there are still some who are His kids.
And so, with the frustration of indifference, the peace in knowing His sovereignty and the gratitude in getting to love His people, a question came to my mind… “Maybe my time on the streets is done.” And as I asked this question, a sense of release hit me and what I can only describe as a wave of peace overwhelmed my mind. That night, I went out on the street to hear from God and as far as my faith takes me, I did.
My word for this season of life is ‘complete’, because that’s how I feel about my part in leading a ministry to the homeless community of Victoria BC. God’s work isn’t done. He will continue it according to His great plan. This is all about Him and He will get all the credit for those He rescues from the homeless community downtown.
I want to publicly thank all those who supported me over the years either through prayers, finances, service or donations. Without your contributions, I wouldn’t have been able to go until my time was done. Thank you and God bless you as you continue to follow His Son.
I look forward to the future and where the Lord will lead me to serve. It may be in the lives of the homeless again or it may be to a different community. Wherever it may be, He is the Lord of the harvest and I am simply thankful to be a part of what He is doing. Thank you and God bless.
Thank you so much for sharing Jon. Your socks journey has inspired so many and I know God will bless your obedience to Him! Who knows what He has in store for you!!
Ok friends, I'll be back tomorrow sharing about my Redding adventure. For the mean time, you can follow along on instagram!