Two extroverts, three introverts and a treasure map.
Thursday at Art for the Heart we went on a treasure hunt (a la Kevin Dedmon’s book “the Ultimate Treasure Hunt”).
We started out by asking God to give us encouraging words for people. We made cards with images and words of encouragement for people we didn’t even know. Then, we asked God to show us His “treasure”….people ready and wanting to hear how much He loves them, how He sees them, and what His heart is for them.
The “clues” God gives become part of a map that “hunters” take to the streets in search of treasure – Father God’s treasure. Clues included places….Un Cafecito – a coffee shop on Jones Street….the corner near Boedekker Park. Other clues identified people….names, clothing or accessories, or anything unique. We also asked God to tell us any special need people might have like sickness or family problems.
Armed with these clues, we divided into two teams…the total introverts and the mostly extroverts. We hit the streets, ready to find treasure. We searched our treasure maps….and spotted a woman wearing an orange jacket…one of our clues. It took about a half-block of hustling to catch up with her.
“We’re on a treasure hunt, and we think you’re our treasure!” we announced.
She laughed. “What?”
We explained…”We’re on a treasure hunt. We prayed and asked God to show us who is His treasure today….and here you are!” Pointing to “orange jacket” on our map.
“What’s your name?”
“Whoa!” Julia pointed to her treasure map. “I heard a name…it sounded like Lila, Laila…and here you are…LILY!”
Lily let us pray for her. She shared about losing custody of her child – an all-too-common experience for women in the Tenderloin who live with addiction and mental illness. “I was using,” she said, “but now I’m clean. I want to get back to Arizona and be with my son.” Three women gathered around Lily, praying for her son. For reconciliation. For healing of her heart. That God would give her peace and sureness of His love. Lily took an encouragement card. As she walked away, she turned to wave. “We’d love to see you at Nail Day next Monday,” we called. She smiled.
The token introvert in our group, Jess, smiled too. And kept smiling. She wasn’t thrilled at the idea of running around the neighborhood with a treasure map looking for strangers. But now, she was hooked! “This is so much fun!” she said.
On the way back to The Well, we had two cards left. And a handful of clues. The color yellow. Long, black braids. Silver rings on every finger. We stood at the corner waiting for the WALK sign when Clara spotted one of the monitors supervising the line of people waiting for lunch at Glide Church. Her long, black braids hung down her back. She wore a bright yellow vest. As we crossed the street, one of the team members whispered, “Silver rings. On every finger!” Clara knew this lovely woman. When we told her she was God’s treasure, she laughed out loud. “Don’t I know it!” she said.
We prayed for her and her family. Blessed her work with Glide and her children. Clara spoke powerful words of encouragement. We gave her a card filled with more affirmations of the Father’s love for her. Hugs all around! We were on a roll!
So, we returned to The Well to share our treasure hunting stories with the other “hunters.” Carly, from the “two introverts” team shared about quietly giving cards of encouragement to people…a real act of courage for her.
As we hugged and headed for the door, Jess and Julia trekked over to Un Cafecito – one of the spots on our treasure map. There, enjoying coffee and writing a letter, was Angel, a special person to all of BJM. Jen reached into her pocket and pulled out the last remaining encouragement card. She slipped it into Angel’s hands.
“You’re God’s treasure!”
Angel said, “I know!”