“She Used to Be Beautiful. The World Has Done a Lot to Her.”

Cindy’s* life has been difficult. She’s been living on the streets of Atlanta with multiple addictions and abusive relationships—and it’s obvious just by looking at her.

But one night in July, she experienced God’s healing touch in an unexpected way.

“She used to be so beautiful. She still is beautiful but the world has done a lot to her,” said one of the ladies who has known Cindy* for about five years.

In those five years, Cindy has spent most of them on the streets of Atlanta, sometimes in and out of temporary housing. 

She is dependent on drugs and alcohol, and has been in relationships that were abusive and destructive. These have caused not only the emotional scars but also physical scars.

These scars are visible on Cindy’s face and body, but also in her spirit. 

Living on the streets is hard. Living with all of those barriers is hard. Living with all of those combined…I could not imagine. 

Every Tuesday night, local believers provide a meal to the people who live under the bridge in this area of the city. Each week they partner with different churches and ministries who help cook and pass out dinner. The Gospel is preached every week, and people are free to either listen or get their food and go on their way. The church serving the week I was there had the motto: “I wouldn’t feed anything to anyone that I wouldn’t have in my own home,” and the food was so good. 

Cindy walked up after most of the food was gone, but her significant other (but maybe not so healthy for her) had saved a plate for her. She knew some of the people around her, but didn’t really speak much. The physical pain was evident in how she walked, and her the spiritual pain was evident in how she approached the world. She stayed long after everyone left, just talking to the family who started the weekly feedings.

It was clear to all of us that her spirit was looking for something.

In my short time with her, I could tell her spirit was low. I was there as the project leader for a Korean youth group from Charlotte. One of the leaders was not too confident in her English, but her faith was very strong. The students were praying with some of the other people nearby when Cindy asked me if I spoke another language. I said no and pointed her to the two Korean leaders.

She asked them to pray for her in Korean, and they agreed. When they began to pray, there was power.

I had absolutely no idea what they were praying for. Cindy didn’t either, but she felt God’s presence. When they were finished, she looked younger, stronger, and happier. Though she still had the scars on her face, but she didn’t look tired.

A theme of the week with the students in this youth group was learning that God uses all situations and circumstances—when we are willing to be used by Him. 

God used someone praying in a different language to minister to Cindy’s heart. She didn’t need to understand every world in order to experience the power of God.

Some people may ask, why come on a mission trip if you can’t even speak the local language? But God uses people regardless of culture or language barriers, and it is beautiful to see those little glimpses of heaven. 

All we have to do is be willing.

*Name changed for her privacy

There are so many people in the United States with a story like Cindy’s. Is your heart broken for those trapped in poverty and homelessness in our nation’s cities? 

CLICK HERE for adult tripsHERE for youth group trips, and HERE for family trips where you can be the hands and feet of Jesus in cities like Chicago, New Orleans, Nashville, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C!