Wednesday, February 11, 2009

'Why Go....'

Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, “Here am I. Send me!’”

We have been blessed by some many special volunteers over the last 3-1/2 years of ministry. One of those if Laura-Jean. she has invested numerous weeks in N.O.and Galveston filming the work of God's people showing His love to those in need. She sent me this compilation of comments from volunteers that she has interviewed:

What the volunteers have learned:

“A mission trip is so much more than building a house, nailing a nail, or painting a wall. It’s transforming our lives. We didn’t get the whole missions picture before coming on this trip. It has been a life changing experience. We are more compassionate and understand how big God is- “the AGAPE LOVE”.

“Katrina is not real until you are standing in front of it.”

“When God is all you have, He is all you need.”

“It is amazing to see the faith and perseverance of people here. We all have katrinas in our lives. What are we going to do with them?”

“We can’t repair a house in a week, but we can bring hope and share God’s love.”

· Realized that this is the role of the church

· This is what I want to do!

· To listen for God more intently

· To step out of my comfort zone

· How to make friends with strangers

· That assumptions need to be set aside

· How to share the Gospel

· God gives us what we need and not what we want

· God tells us to do the work He has for us today and other work will follow when we follow His leading obediently

· There is a bigger purpose than what I am here for- no clue to what God is really doing

· Patience- the drywall process is much like how God works in our lives

· How to work together with others on my team

· Be prepared for unexpected serving

· Pray about everything, not just when things are bad

· To help others in need

· Greater understanding of the magnitude of Katrina and what God has done as a result

· Everyone has a story, and we need to listen more

· It is all about the people

· You don’t have to be afraid to share the Gospel

· That we can redeem blessings even from a natural disaster

· We receive blessings from serving

· We need to be faithful

· God is in control

· Trust people more

· We need to take time out to serve

· Didn’t realize that volunteering one week could make a real difference in other people’s lives, but now realize that it does

· How meaningful it is to pray with others

· Hurricane Katrina was a blessing

· Opened my eyes to look for the pain in people’s lives

· Opened my eyes to opportunities for service

· One church can make a difference

· We need to pay attention to what God is telling you to do, even when you don’t understand why

· God values all people

· Resident’s faith was strengthened after the storm

· More aware of God’s plan

· Learned value of connecting with people

· See God working in lives

· Realize that there is no one who God cannot reach; no one is too far gone and beyond hope

· Realized that I can work for free and end up with more benefits than when I am working for pay

· Learned not to take things for granted

· Prayer from the heart is important

· We can connect to anyone

· God will provide and protect, and God is in charge

· Can trust God with your work

· No set formulas for witnessing effectively

· God uses the bad to make good

· Learned to love people and see beyond their faults

· Don’t need to be afraid of people on the streets

· Be flexible and go with the flow

· Say “That’s the way I like it” when things are not what I might have hoped for

· Saw the power of prayer in action- prayed for an air compressor to start working and it did!

· Took home Miss Pat’s attitude of being positive and happy even in bad situations

· God uses what we give even if it does not seem like much to us

· Realized how much we take for granted and how much we really have

· In Christ, we are all family

· Like Martha and Mary, work sometimes needs to be put on the back burner

· Be more compassionate to others, because you do not know what they have been through

· It is not about anything other than what God wants done

· “I” or “me” needs to come out of the equation

· Be careful when labeling folks- we are sinners and unsaved sinners

· Be willing to help people even if they are in bad situations due to poor decisions they have made

· Don’t be quick to judge-it is by grace I am where I am at

· We need each other

· Be open to challenges God presents and step out of your comfort zone

· God calls the unqualified and qualifies the called

· Don’t open refrigerators

· I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

· Eyes opened to see that real poverty exists in the US

· Learned that God will provide

· There is a mission bigger than individual pursuit

· Gained a new perspective on New Orleans

· No racism here- disaster brought people together

· There are no perfect Christians and we all share the same struggles

· Writing down prayers will help you remember them and help you to see God at work

· Work hard no matter what job you get

· Brokenness has brought a spiritual refreshing

· God is trustworthy and He will get the glory

· Thankfulness should be expressed

· God blesses us as much as the ones we are helping

· Should not complain

· Not all labor is hard to do, but labor brings joy

· Importance of passing baton to younger generation

· Need to put myself in other’s shoes

· Not about money- can’t just give homeless money and think things will be okay- They need someone to care for them

· Any zone should be our comfort zone- a homeless person or ghetto should not make you uncomfortable

· How much people need the Lord

· Importance of kindness, giving love to others, and relational contact as means to bringing Jesus to the community

· Jesus says it is okay to be different

· See poor differently; drew own conclusions and thought I knew their problem and the solution

· Offering to pray for people is a great way to break the ice

· Group benefited from diversity as we learned a lot from others

· Concept of Release of Rights is a great way to live everyday life

· Hard to forget what I’ve seen, but I realize also hard not to fall back into the routine of daily life

· Surprised at how hopeful people were

· Gained an awareness of poverty

· Realized poor are the blessed

· We thought we were going to bless others, but God blessed us through others

· We need to meet people where they are

· How strong the pull of sin is

· Love the poor and let go of expectations

· Our work doesn’t always need to get noticed


· God picks out what He wants to teach each of us

· You have to let people help you with loss in your life

· Hard not to get a job finished, but realized that God is the finisher

· We understand what missions are now

· Being with different races was a good experience

· A lot of Americans are suffering

· It is great to be a small part of something much bigger than us

· Helped me develop understanding of another culture

· It is better to give than to receive

· Saw God’s purpose in who we worked with

· Not being so structured, but rather willing to let God lead

· Vision of Castle Rock needs to be embraced by the church

· All things are temporary on this earth- everything can be gone or change in an instant

· There are a lot of caring people in this world

· Love unconditionally

· To see the world through the eyes of Jesus

· Life is not all about you

· I can trust in God’s plan

· Learned to rely on God

· Serving others is truly fulfilling

· Each person brings something unique to the team

· Learned who God is from seeing His power

· How hard it is to live in the city

· We are all important and God can use each one of us

· We are to be a church without walls

· People in need can be in situations where they cannot help themselves

· One plants and another waters, and it is okay not to see results

· What it means to give others, especially the poor, their dignity

· Having a servant’s heart starts with God

· He is working in me- it is not me on my own

· I need to journal to remember what God is doing

· Less about doing and more about being

· Try to not compartmentalize my life

· Felt very appreciated

· It is alright to get the carpet dirty

· The Spirit of Christ is here

· Opportunities are not what they appear to be- God used us to witness to a young person

· Don’t miss opportunities to be light

· Doesn’t matter how small something is- it counts

· It is all just “stuff”. People’s identity and security is more than the sum of their possessions

· Life is so fragile

· “What you’ve done unto the least of these, you’ve done unto me.”

· God uses our weaknesses

· Evangelize in creative ways

· What a difference one day can make

· Worry is sin. It can be disguised as planning ahead.

· Good to give what we are uncomfortable to give (widows 2 coins)

· Life doesn’t have to be perfect for us to serve

· God’s timing is always the best

Personal benefits

· Became more understanding

· Grew closer to God

· Learned to let things go

· Learned to be more flexible

· More aware of God’s plan

· Found other couples at church to be friends with

· Learning to rest in the Lord

· Became less self absorbed

· Found Jesus Christ as my personal savior

· Decided to go to church

· Toning down way I live at college, because that life is not meaningful anymore

· Developed consistent quiet time with God

· I need to enjoy what I have

· Learned importance of being content

· I don’t have to be in control

· Let go of fear

· Learned new construction skills

· Less judgmental

· More appreciative

· Have become more giving without expecting anything back in return

· Overwhelming to hear the stories

· Made a decision to be God focused and not me focused

· Developed heart for people of New Orleans

· Learned to surrender all

· Learned patience- things don’t always go how expected

· Gave me purpose- school can be frustrating, but it gave me a little taste of what it will be like afterwards

· I am going to change the way I have been living

· God gave me a tender heart and stronger faith

· Talking to God more often

· To be willing to let God use me where He wants

· We have given much, and we get too comfortable with that. We need to be more open to sharing what we have.

· God takes care of us wherever we are

· Miracles happen with prayer and faith

· We need to keep God as our focus

· Convicted of priorities in my life

Benefits to Home Church, Family, or Community

· Grew closer as a team, bonded with people who we did not really know before

· More patient as a father

· Became more intentional

· Want to light a fire in our church to go out into our community

· Concentrate on the people and not just the projects- we need to meet the needs of people’s hearts

· Came back a bolder witness

· Developed compassion for hometown

· I now understand what it means to serve and will continue to serve God and others

· Started prayer walks in community at home

· Look for needs in lives of others at home

· Re-evaluated priorities and now put people ahead of work

· Try to talk to strangers I see

· Realized how much work there is that I can do in my church and community

· Obedient to talk to others

· Want God to change us so that we can see Him change others

· We need to be accountable to one another

· Learned to see past denominations to work together as church of Jesus Christ

· Look for little ”k” Katrinas to be Jesus to people back home

· Share your story and reach out to strangers

· Listen to others and be intentional

· Improve the image of the church by being the church we were meant to be

· More intentional about looking for needs

· Started ministry in local church

· Change of expectation

· Team members built up and new relationships

· Not to be afraid of what people think of me but be friendly and share

· God is love and we are going to spread it more

· A seed is planted in me to be more strategically involved

· Want to mobilize friends and family back home- challenge to get more of the church body involved

· More boldness to be involved in urban ministry

· Learned to BE the church rather than just being in the church

· Praying for New Orleans

· Partnering with other churches to accomplish God’s work

· School teacher said she was convicted to expand her ministry beyond her students to reach their parents as well

· Decided to get to know my neighbors and make them my mission field

· Stop making excuses and conquer fear about ministry

· We are the hands and feet of Jesus, and we need to live out the gospel

· Missions are local, not just abroad

· Helped create a vision in me

· Have a new definition of community

· Became more passionate to serve more, tell others, be interested in others and have more meaningful conversations

· Interested in going into full time missions

· Importance of discipling others

· Developed interest in carpentry

· Want to be more available

· I can connect with people better now

· I learned the importance of relationships

· Saw capability of young people

· This has pushed my faith and taken me out of my box

· Lots of time is wasted back home- use time better

“I set out on this adventure with no set expectations. I found the morning devotions to be very meaningful in two ways: 1) there was a nugget of truth spiritually that I could ponder through the day and 2) a new understanding of inner city crisis; its size and the long-term ramifications of life that develops and forms its values by and through the eye of observation of drug deals, foul language, car bashing, and frightful places to live. Poverty is no respecter of race.”

“As I drove by homes that looked like they had been unaffected and then saw the damage on the inside, I was touched deeply. I saw a parallel in our lives. We look fine on the outside, but our hearts are in need of gutting and rebuilding. Only the Lord is big enough for the job.”

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