“I loved working with City Impact because I grew so much in my relationship with Jesus by serving others and praying for them,” explained 18-year-old Brooke Olson. “City Impact is so amazing; it is based on prayer and they demonstrated what complete surrender and trust in God looks like. I’d never experienced prayer in any way similar to how I experienced it there. God showed me the power of prayer and how important it is to pray about everything.”
Newport residents Jill Olson and daughter Brooke are one of eight mother-daughter teams who recently returned from a four-day experience serving the homeless in San Francisco with City Impact.
“We served in the Tenderloin District with City Impact,” said Jill. “It was hard and very uncomfortable, but I would go again. It was unforgettable. We felt fear and trepidation that first day and a half, and at night when we did street ministry. It’s a very different scene at night, but we had a City Impact leader with us at all times. We ended up more comfortable on the streets and got on a first name basis with many of the homeless people.”
“We wanted to let them know that they’re not alone and they’re not forgotten,” Jill continued. “We tried to show them the love of Christ. They have nothing. They were receptive to talking to us. They’re just one block away from Union Square and are so used to people walking right by and ignoring them. We asked how their day was and we listened to them. The majority of the people were open and wanted us to pray for them.”
City Impact is a non-denominational and non-profit ministry started in 1984 by Roger and Maite Huang. City Impact works to reach the spiritual and physical needs in the inner city of San Francisco by offering relief for those in urgent need, rehabilitation for those wanting a way out, and development to ensure the cycles of poverty and despair are not repeated.
“Brooke and I served alongside each other in Young Women of Vision for four years while she was in high school,” Jill explained. “Brooke just graduated from CdM, and is headed to Auburn in August. Through high school we served at Shalimar and Kid’s Works and other local ministries. Serving with City Impact was our final culmination service project.”
“Food was the conversation starter,” Jill continued. “We took hot meals to the homeless on the street and to those in subsidized housing. We offered something they want and something they need. Another day we worked where the homeless can hang out. We gave women manicures and played Ping-Pong. Another night we had an open worship service where people could come hear the Word of God and worship together.”
City Impact trains all volunteers and has different areas for volunteers to help, including a community dining room where people can receive prayer and encouragement as well as food, a health and wellness center, a thrift store, hot meal delivery, a mobile food bank, and a job placement center.
“I’m so thankful we went,” Jill said. “We stayed at the International Hostel, which was also stretching for us. I think there are 36,000 people in the one-mile radius of the Tenderloin District. City Impact has an amazing reputation there and all the buildings have been prayed for and donated, and lots of places donate food. Volunteers can go anytime to help. We know there are homeless all around us; we need to open our eyes and hearts to them, say hi, ask how they are and offer to pray for them. It can change lives.”
For further information, see sfcityimpact.com
Cindy can be reached at [email protected]