Hey, I Like Your Necklace










For a span of months, I worked as a waiter at a restaurant in Pasadena, CA. I needed some extra cash as I was nearing graduation and getting ready for a wedding and then the real world. I would consider myself a rather outgoing and talkative person so serving was a great way for me to interact with people while working.

Most of the time my conversations with my guests would be regarding deep fried macaroni and cheese balls or what beer pairs well with a bacon cheese burger, but one night a group of young folks came in and I could tell something was a little bit different about these cats.

First off they were incredibly patient, it took me a minute to deliver their beverages and finally put in their food order but they were not in any hurry and were like “No worries.” Which was not a theme I was used to in southern California. Everybody there just seems like they are in a hurry and nobody else really matters, but these people were just enjoying a night out celebrating a friend’s birthday.
As I dropped off their drinks one of them said “Hey I like your necklace.” My response is usually “Thanks, me too.” I say that because my necklace is a wooden Jesus fish and I say I like it because I like Jesus, I could care less about the fifty cents I spent on the necklace but it is a symbol of my belief and that it hangs around my neck suspending perfectly over my heart, never leaving me. To me it is much more than just a necklace, but most of the time when people say “nice necklace” that is usually the end of the conversation. Not this time, the girl who said it then explained they are all friends from the same church. They then asked about my life and I asked about theirs and we talked while we waited for their food, and while my other tables waited for me to wait for them (pun intended.)
I then told them about Days Of Difference and their faces lit up and they almost laughed because they took out their phone and showed me the Instagram for their church “Resetwwca” (Word for the World CA) They do outreach and events with their church and are living examples of the idea behind Days Of Difference. I’m not saying we are the first people to come up with the idea of serving others and putting them above ourselves, clearly not, Jesus taught that duhhh, but before Him Aristotle taught it. So this goes way back. It was just so cool to see that because I was affirmed that we are not alone in this life, there are people out there trying to make a difference and trying to make an impact on the community/society/economy/world.

I grabbed their contact information and went on my merry way to my other tables with a huge smile on my face and a big old “Praise God” on my heart. It was such a breath of fresh air to see other Christ followers using their lives to make a difference. It was even more amazing after they left when I was closing out their checks and on each receipt they left wonderful notes and words of affirmation and Bible verses. I do not even know how much money I left with that night from serving, all I remember and held on tightly to were those notes scribbled on the receipts from a night out with friends.




I thanked God that night for putting those friends in my path. I thank God everyday for people like them that lift, not only me up, but everyone around them. I may have told them all about Days of Difference and the goal and mission for it and I may have inspired them to take even more action than they are already taking, but they willnot know how much those little notes on those receipts made a difference to me. All of that because one girl decided to compliment my necklace. 

How can you turn a simple compliment or conversation into a day of difference?











We met Jack in Fullerton, CA. Jack needs love and is seeking love in all the wrong places, drugs and alcohol have been his vices for many years to cope with the lack of love he has been receiving from those closest to him. He tried to get out of his bad habits and joined a sober home but didn't complete his journey and is still drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and getting high off of speed and basically anything that comes his way. We do not know his full story but we do know there is a wall of hurt that took years to build from family and loved ones, and to Jack it seems like this wall will never come down so in a way he has given up.

He has two daughters that need him desperately but he feels inadequate as a father to love and provide for them. That makes sense because he is homeless and cannot even provide for himself. That is only because he has given in to the false accusations and negative words spoken over him: "You aren't good enough" "You're not fit to be a father." "You are worthless." He has given in to these negative thoughts and given up on the life he could live if he learned to love and to be loved. It was pretty amazing when at one point during our conversation Jack asked why we stopped to talk to him. "Out of all the people out tonight, why did you stop and talk to me?' He asked. "Because Jack we see potential in you. We see ability and love that you need to receive in order to give it back. We told him we cannot tell him how to live his life, but we told him that his daughters need him, especially now during their childhood, they need him. They need a father figure, they need manly love only a father can give other wise they are going to seek that love else where eventually, from other boys or obsession over self image or maybe even drugs or alcohol. We told him that the only way he can change is if he wants it, if he is serious enough to be the person he has always wanted, more importantly the person God wants him to be. 

Jack knew a little bit of scripture but some where down the line of life he lost grip on who God is to him and didn't make God a priority. We told him that was another reason we stopped to talk to him, because that is what Jesus would have done. Jesus made friends with the lowly people of the earth, prostitutes, tax collectors, murderers, lepers. Jesus talked to and spoke life into those who were forgotten and outcast and looked down on. We wanted Jack to know that he has tremendous worth and that there are at least two people in the world that can see that, even if he cannot see it in himself.

We asked him why he won't return to his family and take back his old life. "I'm afraid. I'm afraid I won't be able to, I'm afraid my girls won't love me. I'm afraid I will fail." Sounds like all of us when faced with a huge decision that involves sacrifice. "I'm afraid." We are all afraid, but fear is only a small obstacle in our wide world called life. We just have to discover how to get around, through or over that fear, how to conquer it. For JAck we said his first step is to seek a life of sobriety on a daily basis. For him to seek his best so that others would see that and give him the opportunity to have the life he desires because they see the sacrifices he is making. 

He grabbed his phone at one point and pulled up a message from the local church and it was a devotional that fit perfectly with what we were talking about with him. That no matter what season we are in, we should always seek to give it to God and to give Him the glory. It was like we grabbed the bible and flipped to the perfect verse, You know how that happens sometimes? At the end of our conversation we prayed with Jack, and even though he was ambiguous with his beliefs and vague with certain parts of his life he still was open to our prayer. We grabbed hands and Jack closed his eyes and bowed his head. Rachel began to pray and Jack seemed tense. But then the words coming out of Rachel's mouth began to work in Jack and he squeezed our hands tighter and he lifted them up periodically. At one point he pressed our hands against his forehead to get as close as he could. It was truly amazing to see the power of God working in a man so lost and so in need of just simple conversation and powerful prayer.

We left him with wrenched hearts and with smiles on our face, but he did not want us to leave with out offering us anything. He felt obligated to give us something for taking the time to simply talk with him. He rummaged through his duffel bag but eventually he reached into his wallet and grabbed five dollars as an offering for us talking and praying with him. Our response was no thank you Jack, you have given us more than any amount of money could. 

This is what Days of Difference is all about, adding value. In this circumstance we added value by engaging in an intriguing conversation with a man in desperate need of a listening ear. We could tell this was the first time in a long time he felt loved, and he did not know what to do afterwards, so much so that he offered us money... What? Sorry Jack you do not have to pay us for talking to you, if anything we should pay you for this amazing opportunity. 

We learned from Jack that it is never too late to start again. He has tried to get sober and to win back his life before but he could not do it because he did not think he could. We hope we inspired him to try again and to know he is not alone in battle for worth in life. Each of us have opportunities like Jack and like Rachel and I and everyone, to start again and continue to dream and never lose sight of our true selves. It is amazing what happens when a person takes their focus off of themselves and onto others. Opportunities present themselves when before they were hidden behind our own pride and self interests. When we continue to look to God for guidance and value the needs of others over our own we can begin to experience a more fulfilling and joy filled life. Sure not every day is going to be a walk in the park but as long as we continue to reach up and grab God's hand we can walk through any park.

God bless you all and please pray for Jack!