Have you ever had an opportunity to take part in a mission trip that involves some type of work? The work could be disaster related or building oriented. There are many disaster relief agencies that individuals or groups can associate themselves with for rescue, clean up and rebuilding. Samaritan’s Purse, Eight Days of Hope and AmeriCorps come to mind. The work can be hard, dirty, sweaty, and itchy. If you’ve ever done post tornado or hurricane work on a windy day you know the fiberglass insulation blowing around clings to your skin. It is also rewarding to the victims and to the volunteer.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
Compassion begins with a feeling of sympathy when someone is in need and lacks the ability to help themselves. Compassion in its purest form compels the compassionate to action. Whether it be prayer, donations, or actual hands on as in the case of the good Samaritan. This past week the Foundation Youth were blessed to assist a sister church in the mountains of Maryland, NorthStar church. NorthStar has been building a church building at a former racquet club that had been destroyed by fire. The work has predominately been performed by the members of the church. They were at a stage of building corridor walls, nearly 360 feet, around their worship center and needed assistance.
The work was indeed hard, hot, and sweaty. The youth were given basic safety instructions and an introductory to tool usage and construction 101. A bit apprehensive at first, but when it came to put what they had learned into practice, they performed fearlessly and flawlessly. We had crews cutting lumber, transporting lumber from one side of the building through a narrow passage to the construction site, and crews assembling the walls. At one point the entire crew came together to raise a wall 10 feet high and over 60 feet in length putting you in mind of an Amish barn raising.
At the end of each workday, we were well fed, and we were off to fun times, well at least for the first night. Swimming, Fat Boy’s pizza, and hiking were on tap for the evening. The planned events for the following evening were cancelled due to weather which was a blessing in disguise as the youth were too tired to do much else but rest up from the hard work and in preparation for the following days’ work. 6:00 AM is not a time generally seen awake by most teens. This group was up by 6AM for every workday without complaint. This may have been due to the incredible breakfasts provided by our hostess, Emma.
1 Timothy 4:12
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
I was overwhelmed by the growth of each and every teen, watching them perform tasks normally left to the adults. As I sit and reflect over their growth, it was evident in three ways:
Personal maturity, moving from childhood into young adulthood, able to take on responsibilities and carry out any task given them.
Intimacy with each other, not only developing the teamwork concept while working but becoming closer and more intimate in their friendships with each other. Here’s a shout out to “the squad,” the first day’s transport crew. I saw a breaking of invisible barriers take place with some who were more on the fence and keeping others at arm’s length.
Intimacy with God, devotion time was a time of looking inward to see what was really on the inside so that it could be brought to the outside and used as a testimony to win others to Christ and to help others who may experience problems they have been going through as well. It also brought to light the difficulties some were currently experiencing allowing the leaders and other teens to comfort, counsel and pray for them. It was a time we were able to get closer to God by looking at a everything He had already done in each life. We all have a story…
And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
In the end, I would have to say that I was more blessed than anyone to have been able to witness firsthand the miracles that God had performed in each heart. There wasn’t anyone who wasn’t touched in some way. Every believer has a mission of some kind, each a small part of a larger initiative ordained by God. Fourteen believers went hands on, many more donated, others sponsored a youth and finally an even larger army of brothers and sisters in Christ prayed, each having an equal share in the blessing of compassion and service to our brothers and sisters at NorthStar church.
1 Corinthians 12: 4-6
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
We are one through His Spirit.