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Dear Joe – the stranger in the park

Dear Joe,

I’ve thought about you many times since we met you in the park. With your hood over your ball cap and ear buds blocking out the world, you allowed us a glimpse of your heart. My husband approached with small talk, which involved fishing. Then we asked if we could pray for you.

Dear Joe

When we told you a group from church walked the park to pray for people, your eyes lit up just enough for us to relax. Your words changed to “church speak” and we knew you had a background enough to know the right words. I wonder if you know how much your face and voice changed when you started talking about God. Even the sound of your voice lightened. It felt like your mind realized you know the answers to the questions you’ve asked yourself, but your heart doesn’t yet. Even through your church speak, you let in enough real words for us to see your heart.

Your hurting heart.

A heart closer to rebellion than to relationship.

A heart that hurts others.

Just like any heart has the capacity to do.

You welcomed, invited, and encouraged us to pray for you. We did.

We prayed for your heart. To seek God and end rebellion. We prayed for your marriage. For you to go back to church and develop a strong desire for God.

We are still praying.

And we will continue to pray.

Because, Joe, your hoodie, hat, and ear buds might close out those around you, but they won’t close out God. He loves you and wants a close relationship with you.

Thanks for letting us pray with you, it reminded me just how much we all need Him, and that we already know the answer to the questions we ask. (it’s Jesus!) It also reminded me how easy it is to bless others – even strangers in the park.

If our paths never cross again, I’ll be searching heaven for you one day.


The Vogels

**Please note – This is the hardest thing I’ve done in way too long – walking up to a stranger and asking to pray with him (even though my husband lead that part while I silently prayed). Having my husband as support, with prayers of others helped. It put feet to my faith and challenged me to think about the question, Am I ashamed of the gospel? My eyes were once again opened to see those around me as hurting and needing God. We are not so different after all.**

About Kimberly Vogel

I am a mom of four beautiful daughters, a writer, and a certified Early Childhood and Elementary Teacher who recently made the switch from teaching in a classroom to teaching her children at home. I am often found in the children’s area of my church where I volunteer and lead a children’s program. Writing is a natural outpouring of my love for my Savior. Follow along while I share my journey as a bridge builder with you. My prayer is that you start building bridges too!

2 responses »

  1. Beautiful post, Kimberly. I’m right with you in being hesitant about talking to strangers and saying I would like to pray for you, but I’m working on it. One of those moments when we need to say, Help me, Jesus.


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