My best moments of the SEEK conference were spent under a highway bridge. A group of us missionaries went on street walks around San Antonio and one day, I met a guy named Quinton at a spot under a bridge. Quinton was different from the other homeless people we talked to around there. He allowed himself to be seen. This was the fast track to understanding who he was. Taking a few seconds to fully look into his gaze, I saw pain, sorrow, and suffering but also a man who wasn’t afraid to let himself be seen by another. Broken, but still open to the love of four strangers who just happened to stop by to talk.

“What are you kids doing standing here, still talking to me?”
Without thinking I replied, “we are friends, Quinton, we’re just hanging out.”
He held up his hand, “I can count the number of true friends I have on my right hand.”
“I am lucky to be one of them,” I don’t know what moved me to say this, but deep down I truly felt it.

As I continued to talk with him, he started saying, “He knows what I’ve done.” Quinton kept repeating this over and over again. “He knows what I’ve done.”
I didn’t really know what to say back to him but, “I have to admit, I’m right there with you, Quinton. It is so beyond me. How does God do it? God knows all the mistakes I’ve made and all the mistakes I am going to make. Yet He still loves me. All we can do is receive it.” I gave him the Litany of Trust and showed him my favorite line: “that Your love goes deeper than my sins and failings, and transforms me… Jesus, I trust in you.”
Not too long after, something happened that rarely ever happens with a friend on the street. Quinton said he didn’t want to live like that anymore. He wanted to get off the streets. He wanted to go to rehab. So quickly, I went into missionary mode, shuffling around important documents, as he handed me copies of his licenses and birth certificate- the things worth pure gold when you live on the streets. I called rehab, but they couldn’t take him until the next day. I told Quinton to go at 9am and offered to meet him and walk with him there. He wouldn’t let me because he didn’t want to bother us. But I reminded him, “you are not bothering us, Quinton. We’re friends, remember. “

I never saw Quinton after that day. I don’t know if he went to rehab, but I pray for him every day and hope I get to see him again one day. I don’t know how we became friends in 45 minutes or why God put him into my life. I don’t know how Jesus can jam so many people into my small and weak heart. But He lets it happen, and I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for Quinton and for that time spent under a bridge.

Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 4.25.28 PMEmily is a second-year missionary from San Antonio, Texas. She enjoys cat shirts, vintage things, dancing like nobody’s watching, and laughing at random times.