A Light Serving Globally
At 4am, Monday August 6, I will be embarking on my first international service mission with members of my Hope Church family as we begin our travels to Haiti. .
We will be serving with Second Chance Haiti, the organization’s mission states, “We exist to provide a second chance for the children of Haiti so that each can have a relationship with Christ and make a forever impact.”
On July 22, our pastor Tadd Grandstaff, shared this prayer with us, “God break my heart for things that break your heart and give me the wisdom and courage to do something about it.”
Our pastor asked us to think about how and why we serve (here is a link to Tadd’s message titled “The Poor and Powerless”).
Tadd shared three reasons why we should not serve:
1. For attention sake
2. To earn praise
3. To feed our pride
And three reasons to serve:
1. To meet a need
2. To give hope
3. To obey God
God wants us to be salt and light to the world. Salt is our influence in the world and light is our testimony to the world.
Recently, I have reflected on how my life can be a source of grace and hope. I realize this is an ongoing process. By trusting God we dispel darkness and we begin to see life differently.
I ask that you think about a time that someone gave you hope during a time that was difficult.
How are we to give hope to our friends, our neighbors, and even strangers that we encounter?
How do we serve? Why do we serve?
Early this week I posted the following video about serving.
I learned a great deal from my grandfather, John Thomas, Papa who role modeled for me being the salt and light in the world as I watched him interact with people in his Exxon Gas Station in Baskerville, Virginia. He never knew a stranger and welcomed all. He instilled in me the importance of being kind and listening to other’s stories. He was hardworking and didn’t see his job as only providing a “customer service”, actually serving alongside with his friends, neighbors and strangers.
A few years ago I wrote this poem about my grandfather.
Hours on end he works to earn a dollar
Hardworkn' man who isn't wearn' a shirt with a collar
Traveln' the pavement early to the store on the corner
Responsibility to be there a duty of an owner
Unlockn' the door to start a new day
Turnn' the light enjoyn' the stay
First visitor of the day stops in to visit
On a worn wooden crate, a great place to sit
Midday has arrived time for somethn' to eat
Microwave cheeseburger, ketchup in the fridge, takn' a seat
Little girls the love of his life spendn' time at the store
Eatn' rat cheese from the box always wantn' more
Vendors drop by what is he needn'
Leavn' the store to check on the cows who need feedn'
Back to the store it's almost seven
Turn the key to the Pontiac, engine revn'
Makn' it home for supper time
Scarfn' down homemade biscuits after workn' for a dime
Belly full, eyes closed snorn' at the table
Wake up for a bit sittin' in the recliner watchn' cable
Time to hit the sack and start dreamn'
Visions of farmn’ and pond water gleamn'
Roosters are crown' time to wake up
Startn early again, brewn' a big cup
My grandfather valued hard work, even more though, he valued connecting with others in the community.
You may be asking why I shared this poem. For me the line, “First visitor of the day stops in to visit
On a worn wooden crate, a great place to sit” stands out to me. Many days in the summer I would spend time with Papa at the store and I remember all walks of life from the community who would come in and sit on a crate to drink a glass of bottled Coca-Cola or eat a can of beanie weenies and sit for hours talking with Papa. Many times Papa would provide sustenance on the house. He showed me the importance of being there for others.
In the video I mention a past post, A Serving Light, where I share a few experiences regarding my service in various communities. In addition, I shared a quote in the video the recently was on a post from Second Chance Haiti, “We don’t want to do good to feel good. We want to do good to get out of the way and allow a capable community to be more sufficient on their own.”
Our Hope family came together the evening of July 22 to watch the documentary titled, “Poverty, Inc.” The film strikes at the core of traditional understandings regarding international assistance by sharing the move from a paternalistic process to true partnerships. I highly recommend viewing the film.
As we are serving our local communities or we are traveling abroad to serve those in need, we must focus on the communities needs and not our own agenda of what we believe the community needs.
As mentioned, the documentary discusses moving away from paternalism to intentionally designed partnerships. Through partnerships we serve with a focus on the people’s passions and the country’s passions (not ours).
God will be by our side as we are guided by the people’s vision not a western agenda.
There is still much to learn as a light serving globally:
I look forward to sharing with all of you refekectiovs and experiences when I return from Haiti. I will be disconnecting from social media for the upcoming week as we depart for Haiti, there will be much learning and sharing of God’s love.
My August 10th Friendly Light Friday blog post will be shared on Monday, August 13th.