Hey everyone, for those of you who don’t know me, I am Arin Harrison, a former Camp Pinnacle Staffer of four years, my last summer being 2016. I am now serving as the Woman’s Ministry Intern with Redeeming Life Church through a connection gained at camp! Redeeming Life is a three-year-old church plant in Rose Park, Salt Lake City, Utah. As a whole, Utah is less than 3% evangelical Christian with even fewer in Salt Lake City. The area is the founding place of The Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS), Mormon religion. Salt Lake City has also made it in the Top 10 list for best place to live an alternative lifestyle. One of the state’s slogans is “The Land of Contrast” and they certainly live up to it.
Among all the statistics, facts, and numbers there is life change. I say this as a testimony to the Lord’s work in the brokenness of Utah, and as a reminder to myself. One of the places that has become very near to my heart is North Temple. It is a street known for homelessness and corruption. As an intern, I get to go along and take visiting mission teams on prayer tours of the area. With other church members, I get to go on prayer walks and strike up conversations with people in hopes of sharing the gospel. A time on this street that stands out most in my head is when we encountered a middle-aged man having a conversation with bushes and a sidewalk covered in human feces. This might be a funny scene to picture but the look in his eyes was anything but funny. There was hopelessness and a sense of being trapped in his own mind. It's encounters like these that weigh heavy on my heart and mind.
Before moving to Salt Lake City, I was told that one of the reasons they wanted me to come was because the people of Rose Park needed to see that circumstances don’t have to be good in order for you to have joy. I am known as a pretty happy,
joy-filled person. Honestly, there have been moments here among the darkness that my joy has been put to the test.
I had a friend recently point me to Ecclesiastes 1:18 that says, “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” Missions starts in places of brokenness and the more we surrender to God’s call, the more pain and hardships we’ll witness and experience. James, Jesus’ brother, says “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…” (1:2). As we grow in wisdom and knowledge, which we now know comes through sorrow, the more room we have to understand the power and glory of the Lord and count the trials as joy.
Salt Lake is a big mission field but it is not the only place with brokenness. My prayer over every reader is that the Lord gives you boldness to seek out brokenness in all its forms. That you may go through the sorrow and grief to be the true joy of the gospel. I pray that you are filled with the Spirit, and that you will be a person of peace and hope in whatever your context of lostness looks like. As I pray this over you, I ask that you pray this over me also. It is scary for me feel the heaviness and wait for God to move.