Wed., June 27, 2018
1 Samuel 25:41 – She bowed low to the ground and said, “I am your servant, ready to serve and wash the feet of my master’s helpers.”
The goal for the week was simple: discover ways to wash other’s feet.
Hubby Rick, our eldest two grandsons and I were part of about 100 youth and adults who traveled two days via coach buses to just outside our country’s capital city of Washington D.C. During the next four days, we painted; reroofed part of a house; built fences; shored up a crumbling wall and poured new concrete; cleaned yards and used our bodies to serve as Christ’s hands and feet. We ate lots of sandwiches; worshiped nightly: played pool, ping-pong, cards and cribbage; slept on cots or inflatable mattresses; cleaned our dirty and tired bodies in portable shower trailers; and shared our lives while answering devotional questions with our crews over lunch. We tried not to get frustrated by the sheer level of daily traffic in the D.C. area, as most of us are from small Wisconsin communities. We were amazed by the grandeur of the Lincoln Memorial and impressed by the Smithsonian’s or reflective at the Holocaust Museum. We forged new friendships, reconnected with some we had met before and discovered people from different backgrounds can find threads of commonality.
It was like our own little oasis of work, worship and heaven all wrapped up in nine days.
There were moments when we were quickly drawn back to reality. On Tuesday morning, a roofing crew started early to get a jump on the forecasted rain. Three teenaged girls were standing on a fiberglass lean-to attached to the roof when it detached from the main structure. The girls, as well as two adult males, tumbled into a concrete stairwell beneath them. Three ambulances each carried one of girls to nearby hospitals. Truly, it was a miracle the girls and adults sustained minor injuries. Accidents happen, even as we serve as God’s hands and feet. Thankfully, calm minds prevailed and excellent care from medical staff ensured everyone was going to be OK.
Living with 100 of your new best friends for the week can be daunting. Amazingly, a blanket of grace, compassion, patience and love kept us focused on teamwork and setting aside personal preferences for the good of the whole. As we discovered the treasures of faith, love and grace in evening worship, we put ourselves in opportunities to let Christ work in our lives and help us deal with our own individual situations.
On Sunday, we returned to Wisconsin and back to our normal lives. After we disembarked from the bus, Rick loaded up the two grandsons to head home. I delivered the two girls we were also chaperoning to their parents. One of these girls spent Tuesday in the hospital after falling off the roof lean-to. This mishap has not dampened her enthusiasm to return next summer to another youth mission trip. In fact, both girls declared that youth mission trip is the highlight of their summer, even though they are required to leave their cell phones behind. Yep, you read that right. No cell phones for a week and these girls want the trip to be longer.
When we place ourselves in a situation where we come together with the joint mission of being God’s hands and feet through service, it is amazing how quickly a sense of community, common cause and cohesiveness develops. I really cannot explain it. It is nothing short of amazing to witness four teens each grabbing the corner of a tarp and mixing concrete for hours together, singing while they swing the tarp back and forth. The enthusiasm conveyed as a crew shares a card or note a homeowner wrote to express her appreciation for accomplished repairs. To witness teenaged boys, wrap arms around their neighbors and sway to the worship songs in perfect and not-so-perfect sync.
A group of Wisconsin teens and adults bowed down last week, ready to serve and wash other’s feet. For this, I am grateful.
Lord God – it is amazing what your Holy Spirit can allow to happen in just a few short days. Thank you for surrounding our group with lots of opportunities to serve and be served last week. I pray we continue to feel blessed and discover ways to be a blessing to others outside of mission trip week. Amen.
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