NCC Young Adults Build Relationships with God’s People, the Unhoused Residents on the Streets of Sacramento
Written by Jade Tuleu, Communication and Volunteer Coordinator for Adventist Health.
Young Adult Committee member and Fusion Sacramento organizer
NCC Young Adults and Fusion Ministries are partnering to take on Sacramento this weekend [Labor Day weekend]! Curious to know what Fusion is all about? Fusion is a ministry focused on the belief that every human being – no matter where they are physically, mentally or spiritually – is a child of God and loved in His image. Motivated to build relationships with those most vulnerable, founder Bo Kim started Fusion Ministry in Southern California to feed the hungry, both physically and spiritually, and build long-lasting relationships. Join us Friday, Saturday or Sunday where two ministries who have a passion to make a difference join forces and make an impact for God’s kingdom!
How it started:
The NCC Young Adult Committee came to a transition period between Zoom meetings and what they wanted to do next for the NCC young adult community. After praying and brainstorming together, they decided to focus on community outreach by partnering with local churches in community services such as helping volunteer at the Carmichael food bank and in other areas around Sacramento where volunteers have dropped due to COVID. At the end of the meeting, they prayed for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit to lead them in this work because apart from God, they can do nothing (John 15:5).
Just a few days after the meeting, Jade Tuleu connected with her friend Lariza Tarango. They noticed that Fusion would be coming to Sacramento. They quickly saw the alignment with Fusion and what the NCC YAC was doing. They decided to see where and if they could collaborate. After meeting with Fusion San Bernardino and Bo Kim, its founder, the groups decided to partner. In less than a week, they were able to execute a game plan for a full three-day weekend event. On Friday, they started with about 25 volunteers and by Saturday, they had over 100 volunteers feeding and fellowshipping with the homeless.
Getting To Know God’s People - Personal testimonies as told by NCC YAC members
Meeting Nick by Lariza Tarango, aka Kash
In Sacramento, as I have no more food bags to give out, I offer a man a hygiene kit. Not too far off a young man almost pleads for a kit, “Please! Please!” And as we hand him one, “this is exactly what I need, thank you.” Joel and I sit with him as he shares the trap of homelessness, he’s stuck, panhandles in order to survive, and feels hopeless. The only time he can get a grasp on his life is near his moms house, he gives his mom a call over my phone in my hand saying, “It’s your son,” and continues “I need you, mom, I need your support, it’s too hard out here and the only way I can get better is with your support.” I’m choking up just typing this, but I’ve realized the importance of connection, love, and in support to fight personal addiction. Sobriety is not the opposite of addiction, it’s connection; true, non-judgmental acceptance, affection, connection. The fact that Nick could grasp that changed the way I viewed the homeless community.
Meeting Zelda by Jade Tuleu
A year ago, two friends and I were enjoying a picnic in McKinley Park, a local attraction in Sacramento. We stayed there for some time and decided to open the Word and pray together. As we were about to begin praying, a woman walked toward us and asked if she could join us in prayer. Surprised and excited, we gladly welcomed her. As she knelt down beside us on our blanket, she began asking questions about God and the Bible. We studied and prayed with her, sharing life stories until the sun went down. When it was time to part ways, we took a picture together and that was it. Sometimes you wonder why you meet someone and assume you may never see them again. It wasn’t until our last day of feeding and fellowshipping with the homeless that I discovered the significance of that one summer night a year ago. As we were handing out some of the last food and hygiene kits, I briefly met a woman. She came up to receive a bag and quickly returned to her belongings that consisted of two bags piled on a chair not far from where we were standing. As I watched her walk away, I was reminded of someone I once met before... Reflecting on her voice, it slowly dawned on me that this woman was the same woman that my friends and I prayed with a year ago. Almost unrecognizable to the woman I remember meeting last year, the Holy Spirit told me to go talk to her. “I know you”, I said. Looking up surprised, the woman looked on and said, “You know me?”. Slowly taking off my face mask, I smiled. “Do you remember me?”, I asked in anticipation. Her eyes widened and she shouted “Jade!” Bursting with laughter and excitement we embraced. She couldn’t believe that we ran into each other and neither could I! Eagerly catching up, we shared life updates and experiences since we saw each other last. She shared her new street name, Zelda. I found the picture we took together a year ago and showed her. With tears in her eyes, she said “I don’t even recognize myself”. Asking her how she became homeless, she revealed the hardships she had experienced and what got her where she is today. Heartbroken, I asked if I could pray with her just like we had a year ago again. Overwhelmed, she said, “I would love to pray…but I don’t think God wants to hear from me”. Holding back tears in my eyes I said, “God wants to hear from you just like he wants to hear from me and every one of his children! He is eagerly waiting for you to speak to Him and I know that He wants to hear from you”. After praying together, we embraced. Asking her how I could reach her, she let me know that she doesn’t have any form of contact. It was there in that moment that I not only realized why I had met Zelda a year ago, but also why Fusion came to Sacramento. Even if it was for one person, one encounter, I know that Zelda and I were meant to connect again. This, and so many other experiences, validate the need to continue Fusion in Sacramento.
Fusion is more than just feeding the homeless—it’s about building relationships and connections with God’s people. Jesus says in Luke 17:21, “…for the Kingdom of God is already among you.” I truly believe that the Kingdom of God that Jesus speaks of in Luke 17:21 truly is here among us. The Kingdom of God is made up of all of God’s children—they’re our relationships with friends, family and strangers—whether rich or poor, happy or sad. At the end of the day, the only thing that we are taking with us to heaven is our relationships and encounters with God’s people, so why not invest in them?
Meeting Rich by Kwadwo Boafo, Fusion Ministries, San Bernardino and Caleb Henry, NCC Pastor
“Would it be ok if we prayed for that?” Kwadwo and I (Caleb) were in Sacramento ministering to homeless with Fusion Ministries and had been talking with a man sitting in his van about football. His name was Jeff and he had played quarterback in high school. Jeff brought up how much he missed throwing now that his shoulder was messed up and he couldn’t even lift it above his head. Earlier I had asked God to have problems come up in conversation that we could pray about. This was the clue I had asked God for, so I proceed to ask the man if we could pray for God to heal his shoulder.
I’ll be honest. I (Kwadwo) was skeptical, I thought to myself “who does this guy think he is trying to perform miracles, only God can perform miracles” (Sound familiar?) After Caleb finished his prayer and our homeless brother Jeff had extended his arm almost reaching vertically towards the skies, I was immediately confused. Just a minute ago, Jeff could barely elevate his arm above parallel, now he is reaching for the skies. Don’t get me wrong Jeff was still in pain, but I believe his disbelief of what had just happened over-rode any pain he was feeling in that right throwing arm of his.
After finding out that there had been progress but that there was still some pain, Caleb asked if I would be willing to pray as well and we prayed again. After I finished praying and opened my eyes to see the man crying and smiling, he moved his arm again above his head and smiled, it was fully healed! We proceeded to encourage the man that God loved Him and had good things in store for him.
My prayers will never be the same. As I proceeded to ask questions. Caleb summed up his responses stating that I should avoid lazy, “maybe prayers” and give heaven an opportunity to do their job. “Heaven is bored up there, they want something to do” Caleb stated.
This experience was humbling. It made me realize that we humans have a tendency of working harder and not smarter. We spend countless hours working, spending, stressing ourselves out. Seeking advice from friends, professionals, and google instead of going directly to our Heavenly Father. It reminds me of the woman who had suffered for 12 years. After having spent all she had on doctors who couldn’t heal her all she initially needed to do was to call on the name precious of Jesus and ask to be healed. I want to be a person who is known for calling on the name of Jesus in tangible ways, and I will always remember Jeff my quarterback friend smiling with tears in his eyes, raising his arm as high as possible.