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.

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?!

Love Your Neighbor

Love Your Neighbor

The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

When my grandparents were raising their family, almost every house had a front porch. The porch was a place of community. Families and neighbors would spend hours relaxing and sharing life. Today, there are few front porches. And, if a house has one, the residents very seldom sit out and visit with each other or their neighbors. In most neighborhoods today, people pull up to their house, open the garage door automatically and pull their vehicle inside, not to step foot outside the rest of the day. Do you know your neighbor’s names? Would you know if they are struggling? Jesus commands us to love our neighbors. So, is that limited to just the people who live near us? Absolutely not.

Jesus’ words were not a suggestion but a command. We are not just to love others. It would have been one thing for Jesus to stop there but He added “as yourself” which takes things to a new level. The Golden Rule says: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Everyone wants to be loved. So, in return, we must be willing to love.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: who has time to love and minister to people? We’re busy! How easy it is to fall back on this well-worn excuse of being busy to keep from loving others. But, we simply must fight to not allow our personal agendas to interfere with meeting the needs of others.

Does this verse mean I have to love difficult people? Jesus goes so far to say that we are to love our enemies. As believers, we do not have the option of holding onto bitter feelings, resentment, or even hatred toward anyone. To do so goes against everything Jesus taught.

We teach our children that name calling is not acceptable and to be kind to your friends. Maybe we need to take heed to some of own teaching and apply these to our grown-up life.

 

How can you show love to someone today? Make a point this week to get to know at least one of your neighbors.