The small, the significant, and the city.

After spending about two months in Los Angeles, I am back on the east coast (so much for posting while I was there). I am well into the semester now, but before classes got too busy, I wanted to do a post about my time in California. I thought I would share just a few of the little stories that made my time in LA so special. I have seen, time and time again, that God often speaks in big ways, through things that are seemingly very small. So, let’s just pretend we are around the family dinner table, and I will tell you about the small, the significant, and my time in the city of LA that I grew to love over the summer.

So, my first little story takes place on a bus, late one Sunday night. My team and I were heading back to our apartments, after a very busy day in Los Angeles, and I was extremely tired.

The LA public transportation system that I rode everyday (complete with my favorite bus driver, throwing up a peace sign)
The LA public transportation system that I rode everyday (complete with my favorite bus driver, throwing up a peace sign)

I had my headphones in, and I had no plans of talking to anyone on this bus ride. However, a little elderly woman sat down in the seat next to me. I knew God wanted me to talk to her and, despite how tired I was, I took my headphones out and asked this women how her day was going. Unfortunately, she told me that her day had not been a good one. She was trying to get home from a long day at work, but her ride failed to pick her up. She got on a bus to get home, but someone on board vomited, so she had to get off and take another route home. Thus, this woman ended up on the same bus as me, late at night. She was elderly and clearly had been through a long, hard day and just wanted to go home. However, in the midst of all her stress, she looked at me and said, “You seem like a special girl. Your smile is brightening my night!” We continued to talk, and I saw her face slowly soften, from a frown to a smile. I asked her if there was any way I could be praying for her, and she looked at me with surprise. I saw tears well up in her eyes, as she said, “You know, no one ever asks me things like that.” She proceeded to tell me that she had just found out she was going to have to have surgery soon, and she was very afraid. I got to share with her that Jesus cared about her and that He is a God of healing. The woman was so full of joy when she got off the bus, even though we had talked so long that she missed her stop! She stood up from her seat and said, “You completely turned my night around! Thank you so much!” When she exited the bus, she tapped on my window and waved at me one more time, with a huge smile on her face! A few people on my team let out “aww’s” at the sight of the sweet lady’s smile through the window at me. It was a moment that was seemingly small, but so special to me. That lady had gotten on the bus with such a heavy heart, but she practically skipped with joy off the bus, because of a simple conversation with someone who cared about her.

My next story takes place in my favorite coffee shop, Gayle’s Perks. They have iced coffee that will literally change your life, and I am going through withdraws from it now that I am gone.

My favorite little coffee shop.
My favorite little coffee shop : Gayle’s Perks

Anyway, one day I was sitting in Gayle’s Perks with my best friend, and a man walked in to use the building’s restroom. He approached me and made a comment about how he had lived in the area for a long time, but he had never heard of this little coffee shop. I (naturally) started to rave about the shop’s iced coffee and some of the staff, whom I had gotten to know. I made a comment about how I was from the east coast, and the man asked me what I was doing in LA. I proceeded to tell him that I was interning for an organization and basically on a two month mission trip in the area. As I was talking, the man’s jaw dropped. He asked if I was a Christian, and when I said yes, he asked if he could sit and talk with me and my friend. Well, the man sat down, and we ended up having a two hour conversation. This man was a Christian and felt like he had a calling on his life but, after talking with us for a while, confessed he had not been living for the Lord recently. He explained how he felt like he had been running from God, but he felt the Lord pursuing him. This man was so shocked that he ran into two Christians, in a coffee shop, because, over the past few weeks, God had been putting person after person in his path, who were telling him to run back to God. A few other members of my team joined the conversation later, and we got to be apart of what God is doing in this guy’s life. We prayed with him, and by the end of the conversation, the man said he felt like his life was heading in a completely different direction. God, in His infinite wisdom, put us in that man’s path, at the right place, at the right time, and gave us the opportunity to point him back to his Savior.

Here’s another coffee shop story for you: I was in a Starbucks one day, with the intention of talking with some people. Unfortunately, almost everyone in this Starbucks was working and was not interested in any conversation. So, I sat for a long time at a big table, just waiting for the right people to sit down. Eventually, one young guy and one older man walked in and sat down in front of me. They started asking me about how the new Starbucks’ phone charging stations worked (which these chargers are the coolest things ever and should be in every Starbucks). This sparked a conversation, and I got to hear a little about these guys, before one of the Starbucks managers walked up to us. Now, let me pause and say that these guys were not the cleanest people. The older man was homeless and the younger man was clearly impoverished, but getting by through crashing at friends’ houses. The store manager said to the men that it had been five minutes and, if they were not going to buy anything, they were going to have to leave. This comment did not settle well with me, since I had been there for hours and not purchased anything, and no one had told me that I had to leave. However, the two men were very respectful and started to leave, when I stopped them, and said that I would be happy to buy them something, so that they could stay longer. At first the guys were opposed to such an offer, but after a few minutes of my insisting, they agreed. I bought them both sandwiches, and we continued to talk. I got to tell them about why I was in LA and share a little about my faith. They said they were open to Christianity and, after our conversation, would like to go to church sometime. Both of them acted like they had never met a Christian like me before. Though I never got to see these men again, a seed was planted, and they got to experience God’s kindness, through a small lunch in a Starbucks.

I could tell y’all so many more stories similar to the ones I have just shared. God moved in so many ways, during my time in LA. I saw God’s glory at bus stops, coffee shops, volleyball courts, restaurants, and so many other places that many of us visit on a regular basis. I was amazed at how much God can do with seemingly ordinary situations, when His children are living their lives on mission for Him. God turned so many mundane moments into extraordinary ones, by using me and the wonderful people on my team as His tools to plant seeds in people’s lives. If there is one thing I learned in LA, it is that when things are done in the name of Jesus, then there is nothing wasted, and there is no moment too small or too mundane that He cannot do something great.

Just because something is small does not mean it is insignificant.

If anyone has any questions, comments, blog post topic requests, or prayer request then leave a comment below or email me at christy@tonynolan.org.

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