This past weekend my church group went on a in-house (inside our own country) mission trip. Before going we had to read the founder’s book Broken to Broken. To summarize the book, it basically talked about us “being with” the homeless and not “doing for”.
Often times when people go on mission trips or help with the shelters, food banks, and more we tend to gloat about doing for. We start posting pictures of all that we did. You know the pictures! The ones where you capture yourself “doing for” (feeding, clothing, etc) them and never thinking about “being with” them. We are all one step away from being in the same ship. I asked God to prepare me to Be With and not just Do For.
They asked us to come with no expectations of how we think things are supposed to be. Friday February 9 we left for RATL (Restoration ATL). I was highly nervous about what would happen during the trip. It was my first adult missions. When we got there they debriefed us about what to expect from the women and children at the homeless shelter. After that, we went to our living quarters. There were two rooms and each had three bunk beds of three. Quick note, never take the middle bunk. That is all!
Later, it was time for dinner and for us to start “being with”. I was led to sit by a lady of Jamaican descent. We talked for a few but she was very well reserved and would never talk long. To me her delivery seemed too assertive. That conversation made me start questioning whether I was meant to be there. I was in full tear mode. God, help me to be of service! I felt so out of place. God uses anyone to minister to you. God can use the broken to fix the broken. Remember, we are all a puzzle piece in his plan. He did just that! God used an infant’s hi-five to remind me why I was there. In that moment the feeling of crying and wondering why was I here drifted away.
Saturday was the bigger challenge giving us a full day to minister and be ministered to. I started out early making pancakes for the families with my team. Somehow they deemed me “Chef Crystal”. It was sort of embarrassing but I let it slide. We fellowshipped with the families at breakfast and split into groups. Most of the team went with the ladies for Saturday morning Bible study. I led the children’s Bible study. Before we got into our study, a young boy named James asked me to play a game of checkers. I did and totally lost but it was all apart of being with and not doing for. We had two crafts after reading the parable of the lost sheep. Let me tell you about the Pharisees and the Senators (he meant sinners). The senators need God too. To pour into those kids and seeing them light up over hi-fives was beautiful.
Later that night we prepared for karaoke after dinner. Everyone who knows me knows my voice shatters when I’m nervous. Retreat! Retreat! Bad idea! I didn’t retreat and pressed on even through the bad notes and laughter. Karaoke is supposed to be fun. I tried not to be too hard on myself for the nervousness.
That night we got to meet a success story named Adina. She told us of God’s warning before the storm and her not heeding and halting to them. God showed her mercy after she went through it and blessed her abundantly. Our debriefings were mere bible study sessions with a little group therapy about what was happening to us during our time there.
This debriefing was an add-on to night one. Who will stop for the one? Many times we serve on missions abroad and will be quick to stop for the one but why not here? Why is it so hard to stop for the one in our own country, state, or city? We get so consumed by those we know or “know of” that we don’t even think to stop for them. It is better to reach one and set ablaze their heart for God than to reach thousands and they never receive him.
STOP FOR THE ONE!
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