Category Archives for "community"

Servefest Starts – Whatever You Do For The Least Of These…

Servefest kicked off yesterday.  Our family worked with several other people serving an elderly woman in our community through Project HEARTH, an organization focused on helping the elderly to stay in their homes as long as possible.  From what I understand, Project HEARTH matches elderly people in need of assistance at their homes with people and groups willing to lend a hand.

Without going into too much detail, our team showed up at 2PM yesterday ready to work.  We didn’t know a lot of information, but we were told we needed gloves and dust masks to help clean out the home of a woman in our community.  What happened when we showed up is way too much to put into words.  The inside of the house was literally piled with “stuff” 2-3 feet in all floor spaces (and even higher in some places) – and no, I’m not exaggerating at all.

It was overwhelming.  It was shocking.  It was sad.

How could someone let this happen?  How is it that no one offered to help before – or maybe she didn’t accept the help?  Why doesn’t she have any family or friends?

At first, I was honestly disgusted.  Some of the stuff we discovered was pretty gross (again, I’m keeping the details limited).  But as the afternoon went along, the passage from Matthew 25 kept coming to my mind.  We had a chance to serve a woman who clearly had a need.  Hopefully, we are making a difference in our life.  But according to the Bible, we’re also serving Christ – we’re cleaning out His house.  Thinking this way brought a sense of peace to my mind as we spent the afternoon packaging up piles of trash.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Matthew 25:31-36

I’ve driven by this woman’s house many times, but I never knew what was inside.  We often live that way.  We are like horses with blinders on.  We focus on what lies ahead on OUR path.  It’s all about ME – it’s all about what I want to accomplish – it’s all about MY agenda.  We need to take off the blinders, so we can realize that there are people all around us who need help.  We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  When we serve others in need, we are serving Jesus.

Yesterday, our team made a dent in the project, but there is still so much to do.  Each day, we will have a team working on this home.  Monday through Friday, there will be a team there from 6PM – 9PM.  And Saturday (10/27), we’ll be there all day.  There’s plenty to do, and we’d love your help.  For more information, click here.  Also, feel free to leave me a comment expressing your interest, and I’ll see what I can do to help you.  Thanks!

How can you serve Christ in your community?  Do you have blinders on that need to be removed?  Seriously, what are you going to do about it in the next two weeks?  How will you make a difference in someone’s life today?

Community Can Change The World

Processing is a process.  I continue to process thoughts and feelings that have resulted from my recent trip to Guatemala.  My trip to Xenacoj, Guatemala has sparked many things to process that I don’t want to forget.  Documenting this processing process is a healthy exercise to help me hang on to the things I experienced and the things I learned by taking this journey.

Yesterday, I shared about the hope for the “younger” generation that I discovered as part of my adventure in Guatemala.

Today, I want to tell you about a truth that I re-learned during this trip.

There is power in community to make a difference in this world.

It was the Stretched Community that banded together to pay for a house.  (Thank you!)  Sure, one person could have stepped up to pay the entire $8,000 price tag required to pay for the materials needed to build a house in Guatemala.  But it was multiple people who stepped up and sacrifice.  It is an incredible feeling to share this gift with a community.

It was a group of 25 teenagers and six adults who worked together to construct this house in 2 1/2 days.  Perhaps, one or two people could have built this house in a much longer span of time.  But together, we were able to change the lives of a family in just 2 1/2 days.  There was such a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in completing this task together.

It was this same group of adults and teenagers that combined together to install nearly 40 new stoves in the homes throughout the town of Xenacoj.  This may not sound like a big deal, but these stoves which cost $125 are easily the most expensive material item in the homes of these Guatemalans.  These stoves which exhaust smoke through the roof of each home will make a huge difference in the health of those who live and cook in these homes.  Most of the townspeople cook their food over an open fire inside their “kitchens”.  The smoke plays havoc on the respiratory systems of the home owners.  These stoves can literally extend lives by years.  Our group worked in community to change these lives.

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget the truth that working in community can change lives.  We get caught up in the me first/me focused way of life.  We seek individual glory.  We get thought thinking that we’re better off working alone.

My trip to Guatemala that this is not true.  Working in community is way better than working in isolation.  And working in community can make a huge difference in the world!

How have you seen a difference made by working in community?