Finding San Franciscos lost
North American Mission Board missionary Eric Bergquist is a detective who finds
missing persons in San Francisco, California. Hes not your run-of-the-mill
detective. Lets just say hes on special assignment from God. Eric serves as the
director of Page Street Baptist Center in San Francisco.
Eric Bergquist stands in front of the Page Street Baptist Center
in San Francisco.
photo by michael macor
Page Street is a community center for homeless people, runaways, unwed
mothers, street kids, drug addicts and anyone else who happens to need a place
where they can feel loved and needed. So, where does detective work fit into
the picture? Eric believes that everyone has a place to serve. Thats where the
detective work begins. Eric gets to know the people who come to Page Street and
discovers their unique talents and skills. Then he finds jobs they can do at
the center. Page Street doesnt just offer these people food, but also an
opportunity to give back to their community. They engage as many people as
possible at the level at which they can contribute.
Name: Eric Bergquist
City: San Francisco, California
Mission: Helping people find Christ and a purpose.
This re-defines people as contributors, not dependents, says Eric. When a
young woman came to Page Street for a meal, Eric gave her the assignment to
make salad dressing. The woman didnt know how to cook, so Eric got his wife,
Linda, on the phone and she talked the young woman through the process. When
the meal was served, everyone complimented the woman on the salad dressing. She
felt a sense of accomplishment. Suddenly she was a contributor instead of a
We must make a choice to get to know people, says Eric. Sometimes in
evangelism we try to cast people into our image. Its not about making them fit
a mold. Its about getting them in touch with God and helping them contribute to
the full work of God. Not only does Eric introduce people to Christ, he shows
them how they can serve God and each other.
Eric also has a program called Common Grace. He gathers an improbable mix of
about 12 people together for a meal at the center. Beforehand, he invites some
local Christians to join him and sets the date and time. On the day of the
meal, Eric goes out to the streets about 30 minutes before the meal and gathers
people to join them. The mixture of people is intentionalthey might be gay and
straight, black and white, homeless and homeowners or young and old. The
purpose is for people who normally would not spend time together to take a step
toward knowing people who are different from them.
Everyone helps with the preparation and clean up afterwardinvesting time in
one anothers lives.
Open doors plant churchesTruck drivers who stop near
Milford, New Hampshire, have come to expect an unusual Sunday with Joe Grenier.
The mathematics and physics teacher, foster parent and North American Mission
Board church-planting missionary intern has seen a break in the rough and
tumble stereotypes of his congregants; hes seen tears in the eyes of truck
Joe Grenier invites truck drivers to leave their cabs and join
him for worship.
photo by rich beauchesne
But it has nothing to do with sleep deprivation from long days on the road
and everything to do with the love of Christ meeting the culture of the road, a
culture where prostitutes and other temptations lurk even in well-lit
Ive had men leave and unite with fathers, travelers admit infidelity to
their wives and hardened hearts soften toward Christ, says Joe.
Theyre stuck in these places, he adds, speaking of seemingly more than
geography. Theyre waiting for a new load and cant go anywhere. So they come to
the service. This is Joes mission, to meet people who cant go anywhere else but
to Christ. My job is to find someone whos open to hearing more about the
gospel, he says.
Name: Joe Grenier
Location: Milford, New Hampshire
Mission: Creating interest in the gospel through door-to-door
To take the gospel to the surrounding area during the summer weeks, Joe, his
two foster children and often a group of volunteers from seminaries and
churches go door-to-door with a survey or set up a car wash in heavily traveled
Joes at a point in his career as a church planter intern where hes making
contacts and carrying the gospel to surrounding neighborhoods, and one quality
he tries to instill in volunteers who work with him is showing genuine interest
in peoplemeeting them where they are as a person instead of only as a possible
convert. Planting the seed firmly is more important to him, he says, and
without a relationship its impossible to break the sometimes-hard soil of New
The most important thing is to leave the door open for future contact, he
says. And it works. Many people in this area just want someone to care about
them, and we do.
While Joe says he hasnt been as successful planting churches in the last
year as hed hoped, he holds fast to his plan to have five to 10 churches in the
next five to 10 years with congregations reaching no more than 200 members.
He says he wants the churches to feel more like small communities and less
like vast operations. He wants the churches he helps plant to be based on the
home Bible studies that form the root structure. After these churches exceed
200 congregants, the vision is to start another church.
Joe works with the New Hampshire Baptist Association and other church
planters to make this dream come true. And though he hasnt been able to attract
a large number of consistent attenders, Joe continues to weather New England in
hopes that one day the Holy Spirit will warm some hearts.
In the winter, people arent too apt to open their door, especially to talk,
Joe says. But I can see the doors opening more and more and the conversations
growing longer and longer, and thats why Im here.
Here I am, Lord, send someone elseThe song came on
again, If you need somebody, Lord, Ill go. Here I am. Send me. And once again
she turned it off. Dana Huffman thought that by turning off the words to that
song she could stop the Lord from working them out in her life.
I didn't realize that the prisoners of a detention center in my area were
crying out, Where are the churches? I didn't realize that in an answer to that
cry the Lord was going to send me, she says. Now Dana leads a Bible study every
other Saturday night at the Breckenridge County Detention Center in
Dana Huffman enjoys her visits with the women who reside at the
Breckinridge County Detention Center.
photo by Jonathan Roberts
She was driving home from running errands one day when the Lord urged her to
go to the detention center. I knew it was God speaking to me because He said
something I would never say, says Dana. What about those women at the
Dana's first reaction was to run, trying to ignore Gods call. But He
continued reminding her about the needs of those women. He made it clear to
Dana that He wanted her to do more than just write letters or send care
packages—things she was comfortable doing. He wanted her to step outside her
comfort zone and take the gospel to them face-to-face.
Name: Dana Huffman
City: McQuady, Kentucky
Mission: Sharing Christ behind prison bars.
She finally submitted to God and within the month she was in a class
watching training videos that showed how prisoners might try to con her into
relaying messages to people outside. Before she knew it, she was driving down
the road to the detention center.
As I turned in my keys at the control room, butterflies were flapping wildly
in my stomach. I had worn a plaid shirt and my work boots so I wouldn't look
like such a sissy, says Dana. I was buzzed through a set of steel doors, and I
entered a cold little meeting room. There before me sat eight women in bright
Much to Danas surprise and relief, the women weren't as scary as shed
anticipated. Their uniforms were bright, but their expressions were dull. Their
faces weren't unkind; they simply mirrored how they felt. Hurt. Rejected.
Angry. Disappointed. When I looked at those women I saw pieces of myself. Those
women needed Jesus.
Because she responded to His call, Dana is able to show these women that God
cares about them. She finds ways to tell them how much God loves them and how
Christ died for them. I'm not a very good evangelist, but a month ago in one of
our meetings I shared the gospel using The Two Hands of God explanation from an
article in On Mission [September-October 2002]. That night a lady named Nancy
prayed to receive Christ. Dana continues to see how God is working in the lives
of these women and in her own life as He stretches her in this ministry.
Today, I rejoice that God chose me—a sissy, city slicker and a
scaredy-cat—to minister to rural Kentucky prisoners. Next time the song "Send
Me" comes on, I guess Ill just go ahead and sing along.
7 ways you can be on mission through prayer—an essentialingredient of any mission endeavor.
1. Call 800-554-PRAY (7729) for current missionary
2. Visit www.namb.net/ prayerline for a list of missionary birthdays and
3. Subscribe to the North American Missions Prayer-Gram by calling
4. To identify where missionaries are serving and how you can pray
for them visit www.namb.net /missionaries.
5. Subscribe to Missions Mosiac for a list of both North American
and international missionary birthdays by calling 800-968-7301.
6. Adopt and pray for a Strategic Focus City by visiting www.namb.net/prayerline.
7. Call 800-395-PRAY for international missionary
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