Enough is enough.

Enough is enough.

Twenty months ago, I was on the other side of the world kneeling on a scorching metal roof, hammer in hand, overcome with emotion and asking God lots of questions. I was in Sanyati, Zimbabwe, leading a team that was helping to install a new roof on the HIV/AIDS wing of  Sanyati Baptist Hospital. It was late in the week, and the roof was nearing completion. We’d spent that morning inside the hospital, looking into the eyes of those who we’d spent all week laboring on behalf of. We knelt next to rickety hospital beds and prayed with the HIV positive, most of whom had no idea if they’d live to walk out of their hospital rooms. We begged God for healing:  both for restoration of bodies, and for a revival in  souls. “Jesus, come,” was the cry of our hearts.

But, after a weighty several days, I felt defeated. There was too much to do,  too many dying, not enough doctors,  too few resources. In a few days, I was going to return to my embarrassingly comfortable life in the US. The difference I was making seemed minuscule compared to the reality of the issues I was facing. “It’s not enough” played over and over in my mind. Then came the reassurance of the Gospel itself: it is not up to me. There is something that is relentlessly true both in the poverty of Africa and in the poverty of my own sinful heart: the grace of Christ has nothing to do with me, yet it is mine to enjoy.

So, in spite of my limited resources, my finite knowledge, my self-seeking tendencies, and all my other excuses … God is working.  He is working in Africa, and He is working around the globe. He is restoring communities, healing the sick, growing churches,  mending families, bringing hope.

Yes, there is much to be done. He has called the Church to step forward in the name of the broken, sick, and hurting. So, yes, serve your neighbor. Go to the nations. Support missionaries. Speak out for the oppressed. Pray for revival. Marvel at Jesus’ sacrifice.  Make redemption the theme of your days and the Gospel message the absolute focus of your life. It is the most important thing you could ever do.

But let us not become overwhelmed  by what’s before us. The task is great, but our Savior is greater. Let’s not forget what was already finished on the Cross. Let’s rest in the all-sufficient work of Christ. 

sanyatiroof  sanyatiteam

Listen Closely

Listen Closely

haleybiopic

Haley Lavergne participated in the Student Leader Apprentice (SLA) program for two years: 2012 in Nashville, TN and 2013 in Glorieta, NM. She is currently studying at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In her spare time, you will find her outside in a hammock immersed in a good book or creating art with various mediums.

 

“Welcome to SLA, where questions about the future aren’t allowed and getting thrown outside of your comfort zone is guaranteed.”

Although I wasn’t greeted with these exact words when arriving at Glorieta, they certainly sum up my experience. I arrived asking the Lord to move in mighty ways and left in awe of how He exceeded my expectations. Being quiet and being a friend to listen and encourage was the trend for the entire two weeks. It sounds small because I am a small part of what God did. He doesn’t need me but He chooses to use me. What a beautiful God we serve.  I was given the opportunity to watch God use something as simple as truly listening, in such a huge way as He began to heal hurting people. All the while, I had a front row seat listening to fellow SLAers, staffers, campers, site friends, and most importantly: the Lord. I was continually taken back by our innate desire to be heard and known. It was simultaneously: overwhelming, wonderful, powerful and humbling. SLA’s focus on service leadership taught me how truly listening and serving the people in front of me are crucial.

James 5:16a says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” I think much of the healing James talks about also comes from listening. I learned that that’s where ministry happens: in intentional moments packed with sincere love and genuine care for God’s people. Jesus took the time to not only heal people’s physical needs, but He took care of them as human beings with the desire to be loved. He saw desires to be seen, accepted, and deeply known. It went beyond physical healing. He went deeper to care for emotions. He loved past the surface. He loves deep and He loves well. I learned about that at SLA and it is something I am grateful to say I’m still learning.

A History of Giving

A History of Giving

At FUGE, we’re about the Kingdom. As followers of Jesus, God calls us to live generous and sacrificial lives. This means praying for, serving, and going to the nations. That is why we collect a missions offering at camp. We know we have been blessed with much, and that we must hold loosely to the things of this earth. Like the church in Acts 2, we want to be a people who distributes what we have to all who have need.  Ultimately, we hope through our giving, Jesus will be made much of and new believers will be brought into the Kingdom.

Between CentriKid and FUGE, over $11 million has been given since 1984 to support IMB missionaries.

Check out this brief video from Dr. Tom Eliff, President of the International Mission Board, thanking FUGE and CentriKid for coming alongside IMB missionaries to join them in reaching those who have never heard the Good News of Jesus.

Diagnosed For A Purpose

Diagnosed For A Purpose

 

Rachel Patton bio thumb

Rachel Patton served as a FUGE Bible study leader for two years: 2010 at Carson-Newman and 2013 at North Greenville. She is currently working on master’s degree in Christian Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Rachel loves the Phoenix desert, Sonic diet coke w/vanilla, and being spontaneous.

 

Watching God work through my life is by far my favorite part of working camp. As a Bible study leader for two summers, I saw God use my story and my past experiences to impact the lives of students, relate to students, and open doors for great conversation. When I was ten years old, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It has been a struggle over the last 15 years but has taught me so much about relying on God and his provision. I always knew that I had been diagnosed for a purpose. God has a bigger plan than my own and it has been so cool to see that unfold.

While working FUGE in 2010, we had a diabetic student one week and I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with her. Throughout the lunch, it became apparent that she had blamed God for her diagnosis and was angry with Him. I was humbled by the opportunity to talk with her about God’s plan and purpose for her life, the truth that He knows what is best and that trusting Him will far exceed our expectations. I got to listen to her, share life with her, and pray with her. Later that week, her youth pastor approached me and said that she opened up and shared her struggles with her youth group that night.

I was able to have similar experiences my second summer working FUGE in 2013. Students with diabetes in my Bible study, having one on one conversations, speaking with adults and parents of kids with diabetes, and simply sitting down to check my blood sugar with a student so they wouldn’t feel so alone. God had a plan when I was diagnosed with diabetes all those years ago, and it has far exceeded my expectations. I am so grateful for the opportunity to make an impact in the lives of these other diabetics and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Isn’t it good to serve a God who knows what He’s doing?!

The Grace Gift

The Grace Gift

AnneBrunner1

Annie Bruner is today’s guest blogger. Annie served this past summer as a MFuge track leader at Belmont University. Annie is currently studying Psychology at Kennesaw State University, with only five classes left to complete. You are likely to find her drinking vanilla milkshakes, watching Duck Dynasty, or daydreaming about the day she can finally meet one of her favorite people, Julie Andrews.  

 
Before working M-Fuge, I had never had an encounter with a homeless person.  I live in Atlanta, so I was aware that homelessness was an issue, but I usually ignored it.  If they were homeless or addicted to drugs or alcohol, they were someone else’s problem.  Certainly not mine.

This summer, I served at the Nashville Rescue Mission with my students.  At first, I was nervous.

Surely God doesn’t want me to tell these people the gospel

It turns out, I ended up having the gospel preached to ME this summer.  Most men that I encountered were a part of the Mission’s Life Recovery Program for addictions.  The Program aims to help men get their lives back on track, but also presents them with the life-altering beautiful truth of Jesus’ grace.

The first person in the Program that I met was not much older than me.  He had struggled with drug addiction for several years until he ended up at the Nashville Rescue Mission.  It was there that the Lord rescued him not only from his addictions, but also his brokenness. This man, who was once identified by his struggles, now finds his identity in Christ ALONE!

The more time I spent at the Nashville Rescue Mission, the more the Lord began to transform my heart.  I met countless people who had surrendered their brokenness to the Lord and were living fully in the grace that Jesus has to offer.  I began to think about the implications of grace in my own life.

The Lord showed me that there is nothing I can do to earn his grace.

Ephesians 2 says that we have been saved by grace through faith, and that grace is a gift from God.  I realized how often I tried to work my way into grace—I thought that if I did more good works, God would love me more.  However, the men of the Nashville Rescue Mission were a beautiful picture of God’s gift to us.  They had literally nothing to offer God, but He rescued them and made them into His masterpieces anyway.