Love your neighbor.

Mission Trips---The Same Near or Far?

11-24-2014

About a month ago, Bill and I went on a mission trip to Alabama. You might be wondering why we would do such a thing when we have a ministry and there are many needs here in DeKalb County. I wondered too, but just for a split second as I knew why we were going. First of all, Bill had never been on one and I knew that they can be life changing and second, we would be reconnecting with friends of ours who run a non-profit in Birmingham and are doing much of the same we do here--reaching out with hands and feet to those in need, ministering to those that need to know the love of Christ. But why would we go so far away to do this when we have it in our own back yard? Well, it is confirming to me to and believe it or not uplifting. What we are doing here is important, but needs are not just limited to DeKalb County--there are people anywhere you want to go to in need of help with roofs, painting, ramps, picking up in their yards, and prayer. It doesn't matter where you are, it is in your back yard if only you choose to open your eyes to see it. It is what started Steps of Care DBA NeighborLink DeKalb County. My eyes were opened on a mission trip to Mexico as during that trip, I realized that we had the same poverty, the same need for human compassion in our own back yards that I was seeing there-- but what was I going to do about it? God nudged me enough that I started a ministry (with His help and guidance) that was all about serving those that had needs, both tangible and spiritual. Has it been easy? Has it been smooth sailing? NO! Has it been worth it? Has it been rewarding? Has it been fulfilling? YOU BET! It is never easy to put yourself out there, to do something that you didn't think you could but what I think would even be more hard is to say, "I can't do that because (fill in your excuse)" or to not open your eyes to the neighbors around you or choose to ignore that there are needs----"you are just too busy right now--later". It is very convicting when your eyes are opened and you see the need--it is hard to ignore if your heart is full of compassion. I have heard quite a few people say out loud that they don't believe in serving in other places when we have so many needs in our own communities. Mission trips when far from home seem to serve the purpose of showing us things that we might have otherwise grown accustom to and have looked at with closed eyes, we become stagnant in what we see in our every day world. It is why many times, so many will take trips out of the states and then the next year stay in the states. I have a little quip on my refrigerator--don't know who wrote it but I keep it there as a reminder of why I do what I do--because of Him! Please indulge me while I share it with you and talk about convicting! "If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it." So, I ask you, where do you stand? Are your eyes open? Is your compassion for another human real? Do you want to help? Do you maybe need to make a change--in attitude, thought, action? I encourage you to start today with taking notice of those around you, or you can sign up to volunteer--we have done all the hard work for you in finding the needs---you just have to make the call and go as commanded. If you need to, go somewhere you have never been to before and look around with eyes wide open and then come home, I bet you will see some of the same.