Stephen's South Florida Testimony
Stephen Clark is a 22 year old who has been attending Remnant for 6 Months. In May, Stephen traveled to South Florida with a group of other remnant students.
“This trip to South Florida was my very first mission trip and one of the things that I really had trouble with was staying focused on why I was there. You know, you’re there with all your friends and it was very easy to think of it as just that, a trip to Florida with friends. You really have to focus on the fact that you’re there to spread the word of God to people who have never heard it before, or even people who might have heard it but didn’t hear it in the manor that we are there to give it to them. The other thing that I struggled with was the desire to share with these strangers. You feel the love of Jesus and you want to share with those who don’t know him, but it seemed so hard to love strangers that you’ve never met; and yes that was one of the things I struggled with but it was also one of the areas where God grew me from. While we were sharing, it was like you would just get hit with this wall, this obstacle but one of the people I was sharing alongside brought it into perspective and said “How cool would it be to sit next to this person that you’re sharing with in heaven?” It really hit me in a way and made me think about how awesome it would be to sit with every person we met with that day in heaven.
“Growing in that love for the people that I have absolutely no connection with, never met before, and probably won’t meet again, was an incredible way that God moved within me. Also seeing how God can use you in these individuals’ lives was amazing. You know, because a lot of times we think that we are the center piece of this whole thing and just to see how you are a moving part in someone else's life and God’s using you to do that, is an extremely cool and humbling thing. Just being used by God in a way that you know it’s not you doing anything, it’s the Holy Spirit. And being able to almost see myself in a third person point of view when sharing, thinking about how cool it is that I’m not doing anything but that God is using me.
“There was one guy we met named Exzeusius. When he opened the door you could smell the weed pouring out of the house. We weren’t actually going to originally talk to him, we were there to talk to his friend who told us, “I’ll be there in 30 minutes, if you want to pray for me then you can come down and do that.” Then we ended up talking to this guy for like 45 minutes. How it happened was, he had a cross tattooed on his forehead that had to do with his past and crimes. He had a tattoo of the grim reaper and “Feel My Pain” across his chest, just a really dark guy. But there were a lot of moments when we were talking with him where he said, “Why do you people keep coming up to me and telling me this? You know I usually don’t let you people talk to me for this long.” When we thought about it later, and figured it was probably Jehovah’s Witnesses that keep talking to him and in his mind we’re giving the same message. But God’s using that persistence because he didn’t talk to them before but at the same time he’s there talking to us. He even went to the extent and pulled out his own bible at one point. When he opened it we noticed that he had highlighted some passages, but he was highlighting all the depressing parts and using that against it.
“But it was really cool listening to all the stuff he had to say. He was telling us about visions he had about two doors with one guy dressed all in black telling him “Keep drinking” and a guy in white telling him, “You can do something about this”. His wife would talk to him after coming back from a convention, saying that God really spoke to her that he needs to stop drinking because it’s going to destroy his body and tear up his insides and sure enough he has a lot of health issues when he drinks now. One guy on our trip told us the Jericho analogy; you don’t know what lap you’re on in a person life to bring those walls down, and it was cool to actually feel and see that! We’re not on the first lap, we’re not on the last lap but we’re kind towards the end, it was obvious.
“There was another moment when we were out and Angie was sharing with this woman. At the beginning she wasn’t really paying attention to what was being said. But as Angie was sharing the gospel, it was obvious that words she was speaking turned on a switch in this woman’s mind. The woman was hearing words that she had never heard before. She really did start paying attention and you could almost see the gears working in her head. When Angie got to the end and asked her if she had ever accepted Christ, she said no. Then Angie asked her if she wanted to make this change and give her life to Christ and this woman started to freak out. In the end she said no, but here’s where it gives importance to what we are doing; some of these people claim to be Christian and say they go to church but there are somethings that they haven’t heard before. And there was something that Angie was saying that struck a chord with her, she had heard something she never heard before and it hit such an uncomfortable spot in her body that it made her react in a way she was not planning on reacting when she first answered the door. Most people don’t go on mission trips because they don’t think they’re ready, but the thing is you don’t have to be ready you just have to do it and then God works with you there.
“Everyone got so close on this trip. I grew extremely close to my accountability partner, Homer. Prior to this trip I hadn’t really talked to him and I definitely think it was a God decision that we were assigned to each other. Homer and I found out through our accountability time that we were going through, almost identically, the same exact thing. And God really connected us together. We met for at least an hour- and hour and a half at night every night and just talked about what we were going through and what we were doing. Our accountability time together was productive and it was good Christian fellowship, it was how it was supposed to be spent. We weren’t just talking about “so-and-so” on the trip, it was constructive, it was uplifting, and it was awesome seeing how God worked him and I in our friendship. There were some mornings we would get up early and go to the beach and enjoy the sunrise on this beautiful beach. And to get closer to Sly and everyone else on the trip. Like this trip connected me to people who I probably wouldn’t have gotten to know regardless. Like, I have so many people in my life now because of Jesus. A lot of the people I hang out with and are friends with now I would not, if not for Jesus. I wouldn’t have had a conversation with an ex-convict about the gift of God, if not for Jesus. And that was another thing on the trip, you were completely inundated with Jesus and just surrounded by God working. Whether you’re working by the Holy Spirit or other people around you are.
“It is so easy to get distracted and miss what God is doing around you. I definitely had to refocus during the trip. There was one day after sharing where I was worrying about all of these different things and thinking to myself, “Man that was awful I’m so glad Angie was sharing and not me.” It was like I was not filled with the Holy Spirit the way I should have been. And there was a song playing at a bus stop and as soon as the lyrics came into my mind it spoke oddly to me and it was one of those moments where you go, “God has a sense of humor”. I just let go of what I was worried about and it reminded me that I have to continuously give up to God what makes me anxious or what I get into my head about, it’s not just a onetime thing. You have to constantly trust in God and by the second half of the day I was on fire! That was a moment where I learned you have to do regularly scheduled maintenance on your relationship with God and do a personal inventory and check.
“But if you want to go on a mission trip or share the gospel but are too nervous or feel like you’re not equipped enough, just do it. This is my first mission trip and it’s not like I’m a ridiculously knowledgeable theology major in any kind of way. The training is easy. You have to ask yourself this question: How much do you want to do what God is telling you to do? I had to come to the end of myself and say, “I’m tired of doing it my way”. This is one of those areas where I haven’t been obedient in this way at all previously up to this point. When they are preparing you to go and the thoughts come into your head like, “I’m not ready to go” or any negative, doubtful thinking, that’s just the enemy telling you lies. You may not be the most eloquent or the best at sharing but that’s the Holy Spirit’ job to do when you act in obedience to God. It fills you and it will take care of itself. God is going to use you in one way or another. Even if no one come to Jesus, at least you spent your time richly by being obedient to God and growing closer to your family in Christ. So just do it.
Interviewer: Sarah Ramirez
Interviewed: Stephen Clark
Published: July 12, 2017