To be honest, I don’t want to see it all.  

We typically encounter our homeless friends in the daylight – when they likely feel most safe, free, and stable. However, there are certain nights each week that we do night ministry.

With this type of ministry comes added suffering, challenges and insecurities. Night ministry at Christ in the City adds a dimension to our mission and gives us a different perspective on the lives of our friends on the street.

Some missionaries go to a local homeless shelter to be with the women and children, others go to 16th Street Mall to encounter the poor. These night ministries are eye-opening. We are able to encounter, even just briefly, the vulnerability and fear that many of our friends face every evening as the sun sets.

These moments are often dark and full of heartbreak, like the teenager we’ve seen riding the free mall shuttle, barefoot, blankets over his shoulder, desperately seeking warmth and rest. He likely stays on the bus as long as he can, until the mall rides stops and he is forced outside into the elements.

But amid such darkness there are also moments of profound light, like getting to encounter the inspiring women at Samaritan House. We discuss human dignity and God’s unconditional love for each of them. Every week, I leave those meetings in awe of the women who attend.

All of them have faced challenging circumstances. Many of them have not had their dignity upheld by those closest to them. They have suffered a lot. Yet in that meeting room there abounds nothing but hope. The trials these women have faced seem to have ignited something within them that fiercely shines and gives light.

Being exposed to the more vulnerable moments of our friends’ days has affirmed for me that darkness will not prevail. Even the smallest light shining in the darkness can be seen from far away. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

Anna is a 2nd-year missionary from North Platte, NE. She enjoys eating good food, time spent in adoration, and any opportunity to say Go Big Red!