Pray for Orlando (Monday) -

Woke up this morning feeling in shock of all that happened yesterday in Orlando. 

Waited 4.5hrs to give blood today in my little hometown One Blood Center for Orlando.
It was worth every minute of making friends, talking, waiting, praying. 

"Do what the Lord bids you, where He bids you, as He bids you, 
as long as He bids you, and do it at once." ~ C.H. Spurgeon 

We talked and shared and a nurse ordered 10 pizzas, so we wouldn't have people passing out post donation.
About 3pm, one of the nurses spoke up to the room "Listen up!", she just got off a call from the 
district One Blood Center that said because of the overwhelming response, Central Florida had 
FULFILLED THE NEED of blood the last 2 days, which is INCREDIBLE. 

Today I saw Americans refusing to complain, waiting even though they could leave,
(and knew it was a 2hr wait when they signed in) and a hush falling over the room when the 
names were being read on the TV. It was a sobering reminder of why we all were there: 
To BE OrlandoUnited. 

And tonight I went to a prayer vigil and walk locally in our little town. I went alone but I saw friends
 I'd made today at the One Blood Center and at cleanup on Saturday at Playalinda Beach. 
I saw the mayor and the police chief, who wrote the coordinator and said "I'm coming and we're
bringing the guys with us." There were Fire Department, Police, SWAT and K-9 so we'd all feel safe.

A pastor prayed for us, and we went walking with our candles and carnations. 

THIS is NOT a political statement. This is not even a faith statement.

This is a statement that says: "I will stand and mourn with you. I'm sad someone came and killed your friends.
I hate that this happened. And as Christians, we are going to stand in the gap and protect you if
someone ever pulls a gun. We are going to lay down our lives for you because that's what Jesus did for us.
What He did for YOU. We won't stand for violence against image bearers of God." 

I read this quote on Facebook today:
 "You have never looked into the eyes of someone who was not deeply loved by God."
and as I spent time today with strangers I'd never otherwise have known,  I knew that to be true. 

I was sitting on the bridge barrier and praying after we all tossed our 102 carnations 
(1 for every victim) into the Indian River, watching as they spun their way into the grey water, 
and watching as the sun set in the most vibrant pink, when Donovan walked by. 

He was a man who had set up tents outside One Blood all day today 
and handed out cold waters, juice, cookies, etc that people had donated. 
I had met him and talked with him, and then sat inside for 4.5 hours. 

I looked up and smiled, and he said "I've seen you twice today. Thank you so much."
I hugged him and told him I was praying for everyone, and he said "Thank you SO much." 

And then I was ready to leave. Because I had came. 
I did not leave them alone. I mourned, I prayed. They knew.

There is a great opportunity for the Church to be Christ right now - let's not miss it

"Let it be said again. Through tears. 
Followers of Jesus lay down their lives to save others, not to slaughter." 
~ John Piper ~ 

- JM -