Living on the Street

Richard Wiles - Black Friday

I left Atlanta, GA at the end of September 1996 to answer a call that God has had on my heart for the past ten years, to reach the alternative culture and street kids in Seattle, WA.

Little did I know what I was getting myself into. I came out with all this great expectation. See, I already had experience with inner-city ministry in Atlanta and I was sent out from that ministry. I left with a lot of people praying for me and they blessed with over $2,000 for my trip and to get settled in.

Even so, I knew that it was going to take some time for me to get settled in and put down roots and get plugged in where God wanted me to. I thought, however, that maybe during this process, I would have the advantage of lying low and be out of the enemy's direct attack, but that was not to be, instead I got slammed in spiritual warfare like never before.

Since I've been in Seattle I've stumbled, struggled and, basically, have had my butt kicked.

I fell in the area of sexual sin, even though I had had victory for the past three years. I had a hernia operation in Dec., which meant that for the first time in my life I couldn't go home for Christmas. I had no money and, because of the operation, I missed some key job opportunities.

I was feeling depressed, wondering where God was and felt like I had blown it. I began to wonder if God could even use me now. Ironically at the same time, I began to see more of what God had called me to do and it was so large and beyond my ability that I began to be afraid of failure.

I had been on "fire" for Jesus, I had left everything in Atlanta, family, friendships of over 17 years, job security and a loving, supportive church family. Now it was just Jesus and I. Then to make it worse, I had these prophecies over me about being this great warrior for God. So I came out to Seattle to really take it to Satan. I definitely didn't come out to fall and fail!!!

Jesus in all His infinite wisdom, however, knows so much more than me.

I now see what He is doing in me. Jesus has peeled back and exposed my weakness to get at the roots so He can bring total freedom. I realize that with the area of lust, even though the fruit of it had been gone for 3 years, I needed to see that it's root was still there and was simply buried under my self discipline and zeal.

Things that happened when I was young and during my seven prodigal years had given me a pretty big root system. I found out recently, when you remove a big tree, you first cut it down in sections, all the way to the stump. To remove the stump, you need to remove the dirt and expose the root system, then you can pull it out. So Jesus has been exposing the religious and sinful dirt in my life that had been covering these roots.

In the area of finances I have learned so much. I see now that if I had gotten those jobs I wanted when I first got here I would be trusting in them instead of Jesus. I have since seen the Lord meet all my needs and He now has given me a good landscaping job. I feel that the vision God has given me will eventually take millions of dollars to do so I need to be stretched. That way I can have the faith and wisdom to pray in the provisions.

He also has exposed just how much I've trusted in my own strength and ability to do things. A line from a movie I just saw, about "Samson and Delilah", really stuck with me. A guard angry at Samson for his refusal said, "You are prideful and stubborn". Samson's response was "Prideful and stubborn, yes, but no longer vain."

When I came out with all this ability and knowledge, I was going to take Seattle for the Lord. Well instead, I've really had it taken to me. I feel like Peter after denying Him, sitting by the sea hopeless and broken-hearted. Jesus had to get Peter out of the way so then Peter could let Jesus be his strength and then He could really use him.

Next, I've learned that when you start to get all these great prophecies, it is not to build up your spiritual ego, but to remind you of who He is in you.

The Lord has done so much and is still doing in me. He has pulled me back up. Brushed me off and put me on my feet again. He has given me a greater level of compassion and joy.

Jesus is merciful and faithful and no matter how bad things get, He won't give up on us and He will finish what He has started in us.

Report #2

So much has happened recently! I am now living on the street on Capitol Hill. I am homeless, not by my own choice, more like God shutting all the doors everywhere else. It was something in my heart I felt I might have to do at one point, but fought its possibility since I came out here.

It has been one of the best things that has happened to me. In a three week period the Lord has given me a daily talking, hanging out with, relationship with over 50 street dwellers. Instead of doing outreach I am doing inreach, but isn't that what Jesus did? It has taken me a while to realize that.

The first night I went out and sat on the step of the vacant bldg on Broadway. I was so scared, I had no idea what would happen! Shortly after that a guy named John David Buck came and sat down and we talked and he started introducing me to others. JDB had not slept for 7 days and we prayed for him and you could see an immediate change where he got sleepy right then. Walking back to my truck he prayed to receive Jesus and to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

There was a change that night, but he is in and out right now. JDB wears these wild clothes, rants and raves about his backwards forwards philosophy, up and down Broadway Ave. all day long.

The Lord has told me to give him alot of grace right now because I think a lot of Christians have given up on him, so he is waiting for me to do the same. When he gets turned around for Jesus, everybody on Capitol Hill, from street dweller to professional will know the power of Jesus. I am just loving on him, telling him Jesus will not give up on him and he has a destiny and he is going to make it.

Report #3

Greetings from Seattle, WA. Things are beginning to move along here as the Lord is truly faithful and wonderful in his mercy. There is a lot to catch up on so here we go.

Jesus really blessed us with a great Christmas. We didn't have any money but we wanted to do something special for some of the guys on the street.

We were able to bless 30 people with personally wrapped gifts with their names on them, which included a black hoodie, thermals, socks and other personal gifts. The ages ranged from a 50 year old handicapped Apache native American named Bear, to a 5 year old named Marisa.

One street punk had a present with his name on it, the first in fifteen years, and a girl who was raised Jehovah's Witness celebrated her first Christmas ever with us. The 5 year old Marisa was given 3 large bags of presents, so overwhelmed she stared for awhile at them before opening them. Rob her father, began to cry and then gave me the only thing he had... a leather handmade watch. Sarah, a lady who sits on the corner and sells handmade jewelry, had a family from the church buy presents for her. As she opened them she was amazed at how the gifts perfectly matched her tastes. She said she could tell that God's hand directed the family as they bought the presents.

Jesus had begun to put some things on my heart about having a personal touch in ministry. So I went out asking questions and found out that most street mission services do parties or dinner before Christmas day, and generally just hand them items or give them a pile to grab from.

The Lord showed me that we should give them presents that were wrapped with their names on them, and give them Christmas on Christmas day. I went out and got sizes from the guys and then took the information to my church, and they responded by adopting names and buying presents and giving in a offering totaling over 500 dollars. We also had some friends of the ministry give as well in the amount of 250 dollars.

This led to a deeper relationship with them, as they began to understand how we truly loved and cared about them. They also got a glimpse of God's provision as they knew I didn't have any money to start with. The attack we came under during this time was very heavy, I was sleeping in the back of my truck the night that it dropped to fifteen degrees Fahrenheit. In the end I got a fever of 107.

The night after Christmas, the Union Gospel mission gave us money for us to take the key street couple out to dinner. It was a great time but five minutes after dropping them off, as I had just gotten on the interstate, the drive shaft on my truck fell off. God gave us the strength through the sickness and provision to get the truck fixed.

This spring the Lord began to take me into a time of transition, and calling me closer to him even though at times I didn't draw near to him like I should have. I struggled with feeling that I had one hand tied behind my back spiritually and wanting more of God's power to be released.

Now that I have a job and an apartment, I also feared the depth of my relationship with the street guys would change as I spent less time out there with them.

The Lord was speaking to my heart about spending more time in his presence. As opposed to spending most of the time on the street, a greater longing for intercession and belief for the soon outpouring of the Holy Spirit was birthed in my heart.

I realized that God is the one who gave me the relationships from his favor, not just from my time on the street, and the Lord put some things on my heart for this summer. I'm working with a pastor from a suburban church who has been bringing pizza to the park on Sundays for a year now.

This Sunday we will start our first Bible discussion after pizza, and in a couple of weeks add worship to that. I believe that this will lead to a church plant which goes along with one of the things that originally God put on my heart about taking church to the street dwellers.

I struggled with this over the past few months, because I didn't want (pastor) responsibilities to keep me from ministry on the street. We have known from the beginning of "Black Friday" that we were called to take teams of spiritual warriors and Spirit led musicians into the 10-40 window in Asia to do and teach spiritual warfare.

We believe that this summer will begin the foundation of this as we invite people to come pioneer in worship, as well as intercessory warfare dance. If you feel called to this or want more information contact me at: Richard Wiles - blackfriday@hotmail.com

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