Every year during the Super Bowl, a group of volunteers put together by three non-profits gathers in different cities to do what they call a “Big Search” — a search to put an end to sex trafficking.
One day while we were in Vegas, a group of us, including former MLB pitcher Blaine Boyer and myself, were in a particularly nasty area. We had done a few days of work around this area and on this day, we were walking around the neighborhood while a few vans for security sat nearby. A few of us, poised with the story that we were lost and out of town, began to roam the streets to look for those in need of rescue. Right outside a complex, we saw two girls and two dudes sitting in what looked like a little homeless area. Our initial thoughts were that they were just the type of people we wanted to reach.
We introduced ourselves and after we told our story, they began to open up to us as well. The girls in particular started sharing their story and what they were going through. Blaine then gave a brief testimony about why he was there and what his life mission was. He explained to them that he had tried to do life on his own for so long and that whenever he heard of this Jesus guy, he saw Him as unreachable — something that wasn’t for him because of his past and current sins at the time. He told them how wrong he was and that he eventually realized that Jesus wasn’t going anywhere. It was Blaine who had to come back to God. He explained to the girls that though he didn’t know their past, he did know they were created in the image of God and have a Dad who knows them and cares for them deeply.
We watched as the girls began to choke up. One of them opened up and shared with us about her past experience with God. She said the whole “God-thing” had been weighing on her a lot recently.
Right in front of the two men who were with them — whom we only assumed were not their “friends” — we told them we could give them options. I asked if they were hungry, which they all said they were, and then asked if we could leave and return in a short time with some food and some other ladies who would be able to explain more of what they could offer these women — a better reality. They said they weren’t going anywhere and so we took off.
Not more than 30 minutes later when we returned, they were gone. Nowhere to be seen. My heart broke. One of the girls had said she was so tired of broken promises in her life, and yet she seemed to have a glimpse of hope in her eyes while we spoke to her. We don’t know the details of what their situation truly was, but we will continue to pray for them and seek another opportunity.
Ultimately, there’s nothing we can do to change the hearts and lives of others; that’s in God’s hands. But I was saddened that we made the choice to leave these girls, even for a moment, when we had the opportunity to do more. Usually these missed opportunities stick in our memories just as vividly as the many success stories we’ve had.
I think God gives us memories to learn from them and to remind us that we’re not perfect. We can grow spiritually from making mistakes. Opportunities we feel like we’ve missed or screwed up cause us to go to God and trust Him. We are called to be His hands and His feet. We are walking in partnership with Him, but He wants to shoulder the weight. Even when we make mistakes, He will back us up, and ultimately His plan will happen.
Seeds were planted in the lives of those two men and two women. I don’t think those seeds will die out. I believe something good will come out of our interaction with them. Maybe God will be able to work a miracle from them not leaving their situation just yet. Even though we made a mistake, God has the power to turn that into a blessing. And those missed opportunities give me all the more motivation to keep going and get it right next time.
— Adam LaRoche, former MLB player
Adam LaRoche is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Adam’s profile on The Increase: http://theincrease.com/author/adam-laroche/
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