Ok you'll have to forgive me if I repeat things from post to post.. sometimes things go over and over in my head.. and I'll ponder it until I've soaked it all in. (Yes, I'm weird.)
I remember being 16 and on my first overseas missions trip to Europe when I started singing a song.. "Break my heart, Lord... for the things that break yours." This concept challenged me a bit. What must God see when He looks at this world. I normally do what comes naturally to everyone and look at the world through my eyes.. my thoughts.. my opinions. But what does God see? What breaks His heart? And what would happen if I truly prayed that? So I did.. and for the years after that, traveling through Europe and Asia, and even working here at home, I think that changed me as a person. When you meet people, it's so hard to put up a guard and a front, and to be nice and polite, but not go deeper. I truly care for the people I meet, and I want them to know that. I want people to see Christ in me. I love when people tell me that they sense a peace and joy about me, and they want that.. why do I have that? How do I have that? It's really not me, it's Him. I love asking people how are they, how are things... I think sometimes people just give small answers that don't really answer the question. I'm not trying to pry.. but I do want them to know that if they need someone to talk to, I'm here. It's amazing what simple hug or smile can do to brighten someone's day. As Christians, I believe that we're God's hands and feet. It blows people's minds when you do something for them, just for the sake of doing it for Christ. When you see people through Jesus' eyes... you see the hurts, and the needs.. but you also see what you can do to help.
When I traveled with the organization Royal Servants, they did what they called "Servant Projects". During the training camp phase before we went overseas, they set aside a day to send the students out into a local town. We were geared up with things to hold car washes, to clean houses, and to pass out drinks. It was an incredibly hot day.. so we would run to cars that stopped at a light and asked if they wanted a drink. Or we would hold signs and yell free car wash. We went knocking on doors and asked the people if there was anything we could do to help them such as mow their yards, or rake leaves, or wash their cars.. anything they needed, what could we do? At first I helped with washing cars.. I noticed several people kind of badgering our students, getting out of the car and asking WHY are we doing this? What was our angle? What did we want? How much was this going to cost.. really? LOL All for a free coke.. or a free car wash. People can't fathom the word "free" anymore. We would simply tell them, "We want to show Jesus love in a practical way." I learned that summer, Jesus was quite the hands-on go-getter on earth. He met real needs. He healed the sick, He helped the lame, He fed the 5000. Through us today, I believe He would go door to door and ask people, "What can I do for you?" By mid-afternoon that day, we broke out into groups.. I was teamed with a group who had been knocking on doors that morning. They explained that they had come across a woman and her son who lived in a small two story house with a lot of cats. They had offered to clean the place. We ran to the grocery store and bought cleaning supplies and I believe they did buy some food. I remember walking in and thinking a few cats was an understatement. The place was run-down, and dirt was everywhere. The middle-aged son was overweight, and sitting on a skinny mattress in front of the t.v. Cats were everywhere. You could tell the woman had a soft heart and loved these animals. I'm not sure what their story was.. but we were here to do what we needed to so she could feel that God had not abandoned her, and that He loves her. One of the girls on our team, spent time helping the woman in her kitchen. I'm not sure what she did, but I do know that she sat down and started reading the woman's mail for her, because the woman had been without glasses for sometime. I was upstairs mopping a bedroom floor. One of the boys on our team, a 16 year old, came and was watching me and another girl work, and warned us not to go in a certain corner because it looked like it was about to cave in. I remember at that point I hadn't gotten to know that boy very well, other than that he liked to laugh and joke and was completely goofy. (We had a pretty big team.. so it took about a month to get to know everyone.) I thought this boy had a pretty tough exterior. He went into the bathroom and started cleaning something that looked as if it used to be a toilet. I remember thinking the floor was just a simple brown.. and started with half bleach and water... then more bleach... finally I was taking the bottle of bleach and pouring it on the floor. I scrubbed and scrubbed until a little bit later I realized the floor wasn't just brown.. but it was so caked in dirt that I couldn't even see that the floor had teddy bear designs on it. It broke my heart that someone lived like this. We cleaned as much as we could, until we heard it was time for us to go. We gathered our things, and as we passed the bathroom, the boy was still scrubbing the toilet with tears running down his face.
Break my heart, for the things that break Yours, Lord.
We left the woman, who broke down thanking us for our work. She said no one had shown us that type of compassion and love. I've gone knocking on doors and handing out tracks, but for me, this was the most effective way to minister to someone I have ever seen. It touches people. People have needs.. people go through things and they feel hopeless and lost. If we as Christians, did this more often.. what would the results be? I believe people would see Christ at work. Most normal people of this world, don't do those kinds of things.. especially for free. What would it benefit us to get our hands dirty? Nothing. But as Christians.. we're not of this world. What does it benefit us? It grows us into people who are molded more into the image of Christ. I say all the time that actions scream louder than words. I know for my own needs.. I worry and I fret.. and I try to trust God. I try to trust God with my finances for my trip, and for every little worry and fear that comes along with making this decision to leave for 6 months and do this. I hate asking people for help..but oh, how much it would mean to me if someone did help. So what can I do for others?
When we returned back to training camp that day, we discussed with a leader what had happened and the situation. They said they worked with local churches in that area, and called a few of them.. and told us a few days later that someone from the church had reached out and was helping that family.
Break my heart, for the things that breaks Yours, Lord.
My prayer right now is that God allows me to be His hands and feet. To show His love in practical ways. I pray for the people that are put in my path, and that I'm aware of why they are there, and what I need to do. I want my heart to break for the things that breaks God's heart.. so I'll be able to be more effective for Him.
Counting it All Joy ~ Jessa