“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?” Luke 15:4.

Before coming to Christ in the City, I would have said that finding “the lost sheep” would have been an easy task. It’s fairly easy to see the people in our lives who are broken, hurting, and lonely, but approaching them and having a true encounter with them, to me sounded impossible.

It is so much more comfortable to stay inside our social bubble and never branch out. You say to yourself, “someone else will care for them” or “they are not my problem.”

I was in those same shoes eight months ago, but then something changed.

Here at Christ in the City, we go searching for these “lost sheep” on the streets of Denver multiple times a week. Whether they want us to or not, we will sit and talk with the homeless and give them as much love as we can.

It didn’t take long to develop relationships and to truly start to care for my friends on the street. Before I knew it, they had become some of my favorite people. Walking the streets became my comfort zone, and my old social bubble is where I started to feel out of place and uncomfortable.

It’s amazing how opening up my heart to Christ, even the smallest amount, to seek His “lost sheep”, totally changed my life. Less than a year ago, I would have never approached a person who seemed homeless, heck, I probably wouldn’t have even made eye contact.

Today, I run to my friends and embrace them in a hug. I enjoy the conversations I get to have with them and look forward to the next time I get to see them.

I am not sure I can fully express the amount of love, joy, and inner peace that I have felt throughout this year of encountering the poor.

It’s the love that’s shared when Jennifer opens up to me about her life, the joy I feel laughing at Jake’s jokes, the peace I get from knowing that while I might not change the world by encountering this one person, I have allowed an opportunity to let Christ move in their heart.

Yes, there has been discomfort and frustrations, but the joy and love will continue to overpower it all.

So I challenge you this Lent, to open your eyes to those around you who are hurting, broken, or lost. Step outside your comfort zone to encounter them. And open your heart to allow Christ in that person to touch you.

Don’t be like the man who couldn’t give up his many possessions…we all know how it turned out for him. God is not calling you to change the “lost sheep’s” life in one conversation. He is calling you to encounter that person, show them love, and allow a space for Him to work through both of you.

Jesus calls each of us; all we have to do is respond, and allow Him to do the rest.

Jenette is a first-year missionary from Illinois. She enjoys sleeping in on the weekends, exploring Colorado, and visiting family back home.