Vanguard University’s San Francisco Outreach worked with City Impact to bring the love of Christ to the Tenderloin during this year’s Spring Break mission trip.
The Tenderloin is the “skid row of San Francisco,” senior psychology major Katie Friesen said when describing her experience on the San Francisco Outreach (SFO). It’s a place that is “super dark spiritually” and overwhelmed by drugs, alcohol, sex and abuse, she said. However, there is a light among that darkness: City Impact. City Impact provides for the basic and spiritual needs of people living in the inner city of San Francisco. On March 16-22, Vanguard’s SFO team served alongside City Impact to bring the love of Christ to people in need.
According to their website, City Impact offers three types of work: “relief for those in urgent need, rehabilitation for those wanting a way out, and development to ensure the cycles of poverty and despair are not repeated.” They provide free meals, a very affordable thrift shop and a k-8 school, which is the first school in the Tenderloin area. Coming alongside City Impact, the SFO team helped prepare meals, minister to the homeless, pray for people in the Tenderloin and show the love of Christ.
When describing her experience staying with City Impact and working with them, Friesen said their love and commitment to spreading the Gospel inspired her. One of their goals is to get every apartment complex in the Tenderloin to hear the Gospel, so they go door to door knocking. The SFO team joined in their mission during the week they were there. When tenants would open the door, the team would offer prayer and encouragement, and when there was no response, the team would pray over the door.
Also, the team joined with City Impact in handing out chips at night to the homeless. It was a great way to strike up conversations, share Christ’s love and show them that someone does care about them, Friesen said. “We had the raddest conversations with these people,” she said. “It was so cool to see the Holy Spirit work,” she added.
Looking back on the trip, Friesen said she was inspired. When the trip was nearing its end, Friesen said she began thinking about the intentional love that she had been sharing with the people of the Tenderloin during outreach and how she could continue sharing that love beyond the trip’s last days. She said she thought to herself: “This is how it’s done here, now how does it look at home?” Since returning to school, Friesen said she has begun to look for ways to love people like she loved them in San Francisco, whenever and wherever opportunities arise.
For more information about Vanguard’s missions teams, click here.