Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Let me be a neighbor to the world

I volunteered for vacation bible school for two main reasons 1) I love kids and 2) I thought this could be a small way of giving back to the church that has so deliberately and compassionately supported me into my journey with Young Adults in Global Mission. I didn’t know what I would be doing at vbs, or even what the theme of the week was. All of my intentions were focused on serving God and allowing children to shine.

When I stepped into Peace Lutheran on Monday morning, I was greeted with colorful and larger than life decorations, many of which included flags from different countries. My eyes immediately focused on the United Kingdom flag, and many of the London decorations surrounding me. Without knowing it, I had volunteered myself to lead children (with an outstanding and amazing team of other volunteers) through a week of games focused on the theme of neighbors around the world.

Talk about a shout from God saying “Your journey is unfolding as it should be!”

The main scripture of the week: Luke 10: 27-28 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself”

Each day we would “travel” to a new country and learn how while we might be in a different place, we are still all neighbors and should treat each other likewise. On Wednesday, we traveled to the United Kingdom and, through the story of the Good Samaritan, learned how neighbors should be bold; always looking to help and serve other people. It was quite a surprise to learn that while I was leaving for London in 2.5 weeks, I would first be teaching a lesson about being a neighbor wherever we might go.  My hope is that I can carry this lesson with me as I live a year in another place and remember this simple message of kindness.

As if that week already wasn’t the perfect reminder I needed about why I decided to embark on this journey, Sunday was greeted with a commissioning service from my congregation that included scripture, prayer, and the most spiritual support I’ve ever felt at one time from so many people.  A reading from Romans brought me close to tears, as I was reminded of the direction in which to view and experience life: how to live as a true Christian. 

Romans 12: 9-13 “Let love be genuine: hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.  Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.  Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.  Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.“

As I start to really prepare for this journey and get caught up in the stress of packing and planning, may I be reminded of children singing “let me be a neighbor to the world” and showing their innocent knowledge of how to love others.  Let me be friendly, let me be giving, let me be bold, let me be forgiving, and let me be welcoming.  Let me live out the lessons I taught at VBS and continue to spread the love of Christ that was instilled inside me.       

This day, I give thanks for my family.  For my friends.   For all of the many notes, cards, phone calls, texts, and e-mails of support.  For treasured time spent with loved ones.  For simplicity.  And for my mom’s homemade puppy chow.    

God’s Peace,

1 comment:

  1. He is amazing, surprising and playful with us isn't He? Reminds us so often He is Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent and loves us so much. Trust. Remain in Him and He will remain in you my dear (John 15:4) - and that is all you will need. Keep posting of your journey. We are with you as you post.