Hey guys! My name is Nicole, I am honored to be Emily’s best friend and sister. She has given me the privilege of guest writing this week, in order for me to share the awesome event I hosted last Saturday. I hope you enjoy this week’s entry!
God has placed the desire of helping others in my heart. For a couple of years, I struggled with this dream. I wanted to have the kind of dream where I connected with people from afar. I was afraid of so many things:
– I was afraid that I would be unsuccessful in meeting people.
– I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to cater to all the needs of the people I came across.
– I was afraid of showing up and having no one support my cause.
– I was afraid that people wouldn’t want to be met and blessed.
– I was afraid that I was not well equipped for this.
– I was afraid of failing.
Because of my fear, I couldn’t settle on what it was that I wanted to do. Even when I realized that what I wanted most WAS to connect with people, to go out and meet them face to face, those fears were still very real over my life.
Gradually, God confronted these fears. Through prayer, through his word, and through encouragement from the AMAZING people I get to do life with, I realized that:
– It does not matter what I can do, God put this dream in my heart, therefore he will bring it into fruition.
– It does not matter if I’m afraid. If I can’t beat fear, I’m going to do it scared, but I’m GOING to do it!
– Failure is a part of life. If I jump, and fall, God will catch me; and he’ll still love me. We would just find another way to go about it.
– If I don’t work towards the dreams and visions God has given me, I’ll be stuck. I won’t grow, I won’t learn, I’ll be stagnant.
So, realizing this, and after much failed ideas, I finally settled on the need I have to cater to, the homeless. Oftentimes, they are forgotten, or cast aside. In a place like New York, where there are literally hundreds of homeless people, it is easy for us to forget, or to overlook the needs of this community. Rarely does someone take a stand, or make the choice to serve them. I wanted to change that.
I created an event: #HopeForTheLoved. I chose that name, because I wanted to give more than food and materials. I wanted to MEET the homeless where they were, and deposit hope into their lives; so that regardless of their situation, they could be encouraged.
We offered: peanut butter and jelly (or simply jelly) sandwiches, cookies, fruit snacks, juices, and granola bars. Each of these were placed in a zip loc bag with an individualized love note, a pair of gloves, and scarves, or socks, into a drawstring book bag.
We met in 42nd street, and as we began to pray before beginning, a Times Square employee joined in our prayer. Afterwards, we turned and prayed for him, and blessed him. It was a great way to begin.
We walked down streets, and avenues, and into train stations. We were determined to listen to God’s voice every step of the way. Allowing him to guide us to where these amazing people were so that we could spread hope and love.
We got to the corner of 35th street and 8th avenue, upon following a hunch my friend Ashley had. There, we met about 9 people in need. We gave them book bags, listened to them, and prayed for them.
The Holy Spirit moved in such a way, that as we walked, and gave of ourselves to these amazing people in need, we also began to pour into each other. We spoke life, and dreams and blessings. We were so encouraged, and continued to serve with even more fervor.
We came upon a wonderful woman named Courtney. She and her husband (who wasn’t present) had two signs: “I hang my head down low because I’m embarrassed and ashamed!! Please help and lift up my spirits!”, and “Seeking Human Kindness”. We spoke to her, and prayed, and prophesied over her. We gave her a book bag for herself and for her husband. She was so grateful. What touched us most was her smile as we were leaving.
My 8 year old niece Sarah, decided to make a special note for someone since she couldn’t be there. I don’t remember what the note said, but it had the word POWERFUL in it. When I remembered that note, I ran back to give it to Courtney, and her eyes watered. She looked so encouraged, and joyful. It was infectious.
Overall, it was an AMAZING event. We catered to over 30 people in need. All but one allowed us to pray for them, and impart Jesus over their lives. It turns out, that ALL of my fears were unwarranted. I never would have known that unless I’d gone for my dream; and I’m so glad I did.
Please remember this,
If God puts a dream in your heart, he wants to see you bring it to life.
I want to encourage you to do the following:
1. Believe in your dreams. If you know, love and live for God, you should understand that the dreams in your heart are place there by Him. Believe that if he placed them in your heart, he is going to provide ALL you need to accomplish them. All he needs from you is for you to MOVE. Don’t sit on your dreams, make them happen!
2. Surround yourself with God fearing people who are not afraid to tell you what you need to hear. I would not be here without people like that in my life. People who helped me silence my fears, and would literally sit down with me and plan my dreams with me. People who confronted me when I was out of line; and who corrected me when I would speak the opposite of who I am, or what I wanted to see. People who held me accountable and prayed for me, and over me.
3. Be thankful! Be giving! We have SO much to be thankful for! We have homes, jobs, clothes, food, etc. Sometimes in the midst of our hustle, we forget to be thankful for even the little things. And that is SO important. Also, we must remember that there are people out there who need help every day. One random act of kindness, one word of encouragement goes a long way.
Thank you to Ashley, Biggie, Darity, John, Liz, Natasha, and Taina for walking tirelessly with me, for taking this dream as your own, and for honoring me and standing with me. Thank you for pushing me, for praying for me, for believing in me. Having you in my life, makes this walk of life so much more fun, and purpose-filled.
Thank you to Em for being my best friend even when I didn’t want one. Thank you for continuously asking me where I was with my dreams, for silencing my fears, and for continuously holding me accountable. Thank you for not letting me give up, and for loving me with all my craziness.
Thank you to Titi Zoila and Angela for their selfless donations. Angela, you couldn’t be there because of baby Esther, but that didn’t stop you from giving from your heart. Knowing that I have your prayer and support means EVERYTHING. Titi, who would drive someone to 42nd street, on a weekend, for any reason whatsoever? Or spend money from their own pocket to see someone else’s vision come true? You would. Thank you for being my friend, and for your pelas, and for your daily encouragement. I’m stronger because I have you Fosforito.
Thank you to the Aviles family: Ro, Ell, Sarah, Joshua and Noah, for believing and building with me, and for offering your home as HQ for this event. Thank you for your prayers, cocotazos, labor, love, and for all the other things that I don’t have time to write, but you already know. I’m forever grateful that I get to be an honorary Aviles in your eyes.
Finally, thank you for all who couldn’t make it to this event, but still took the time to send their love, and prayers. Love you guys!