San Antonio Urban Project (SAUP) // Spiritual Formation

Sabbath at Gallagher Ranch

Sabbath at Gallagher Ranch

We have weekly themes at SAUP, and this first week was over Spiritual Formation. The first few days were pretty relaxing, a time where I could get to know the other SAUPers really well since we would be living in close quarters for the next month. Going into SAUP I was more focused on how I could better serve or learn to serve the community, but it really surprised me on how in some cases I was being served as well.

On the 2nd of June, I had gone out with a few others with a mission into downtown San Antonio to find a homeless person to share our sack lunches with.  We started with a prayer asking God to lead us to meet someone special, in which he did.  We met a wonderful fellow by the name of Markus; our conversation at first was very surface level speaking about how his day was, where he came from and what he wanted to do in life - in which he responded that he wanted to be the CEO of a fortune 500 company. On that note, I decided to press in a bit and ask to see what he valued in life - we could have talked about money and dive into spiritual matters - but to my slight surprise he spoke of his family. This continued on to a larger discussion of who God was, what Markus believed in, and the divine appointment we now shared together. Even though we had a less than half an hour together, it was very memorable. We began to pray, and he stopped and said “The name’s Quincy.” Oh, how emotionally shaken I was. I never thought that meeting and eating with Markus/Quincy would have led to such a bright a cheery discussion and a deeper level of trust and understanding between random strangers, who I don’t believe as random or strange, but as a timely opportunity for friendship. In the beginning we asked God to send us someone special and most certainly did God provide.

Jumping ahead to the 6th, the whole team took a trip to the a countryside ranch called Gallagher Ranch whose owners were friends of our leaders, Jacob and Christina. This trip was for us to relax after the first week of going to our sites but more importantly, to teach us the essence of keeping the Sabbath. The McNeels, the owners of the estate, were a kind and jovial couple; they graciously provided the comfort of their home to us, as well as a delicious feast to dine on as we rested. I got to rest under a tree listening to the wing beats of hummingbirds as they whizzed between syrup feeders hung on the branches above where I lay.  It was a wonderful scene, while I contemplated on the week’s theme of spiritual formation and lessons on prayer and community. Among other things we also played in the pool, trampoline, with their two lovely dogs Cody and Bella, as well as in the creek, and thanks to all the rain recently, water was in ample supply giving us blissful waves to ride on. The Sabbath, a discipline I’ve come to understand and greatly appreciate, is something made for man, a time for rest and to also trust in God to provide. To really listen to him. Sometimes things may seem arbitrary, but as Christians we live differently. Our actions may go against the grain of the world and people may call us different,  but I prefer the word “peculiar.”

~ Maxwell Huang


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