Monday, January 30, 2012

New Orleans Missions' Trip: Day Two (January 23, 2012)

Morning at the Yellow House

This morning, I read Luke 8:1-15, where Jesus talks about different kinds of soil and different heart conditions. I noticed that there are three different kinds of soil and seed in this passage (with soil referring to our heart conditions, and seed referring to God's Word). First, there's the kind of seed that can be given. Say you're on a path or road and it's right there for you to receive. Yet, it has the potential to be snatched away just as easily as it can be received. Then, there's the kind that's thrown on rocks. The rocks get the seeds, but it doesn't get rooted in them. Rather, the seeds just bounce off them. Another way to look at this is the rocks see the seeds as joyous and appealing. At least, for a while. It is simply temporary for them. And there's a third kind, consisting of thorns. The seeds fall in these areas, but get wrapped up and choked. The thorns illustrate worries and fears, and even distractions, of life that give many of us no sense of maturity or growth. It can be an autopilot phase for such.

As far as my relationship with God goes, I fit this latter kind of soil. To be honest, one of the things I struggle with sometimes is how much to do in a given situation. Should there be more or less in this situation, I ask myself. There is also difficulty in finding a balance between being overwhelmed and doing so little.

When I work, most of the time I focus on what I'm doing. But sometimes, I don't take an interest in what other people are doing, for some reason or another. What I mean is that I'm too focused on my own thing that it's hard for me to care about what other members of the group or team of employees or such are doing. Likewise, I ask myself (as I did today), Am I doing this the way I want to, or the way I was asked/told to do it? On the other hand, as workers or volunteers (or both), we are told to work in a specific area, and are told what we need to do in that area to get the job done. After all, everybody does a different thing. This makes the collaborative efforts and process so unique and worthwhile.

A glimpse of the new facility

Inside the new facility (and its status)

Team members checking things out

Some of the walls I got to work on - er, paste and tape.
(Others called it "mudding" or something.)

I was assigned to work on the walls in the church we helped built. The sub-team (if you will) that I got to work with consisted of about four or five people (including myself), with a couple more people helping out as the week went on. I prayed later that night for wisdom and strength to be less careless and to take an interest in what my fellow workers were doing in their assigned/volunteered groups. I also told myself not to stress about this, and that I still can talk to and listen to people as we socialize, eat, and enjoy the free time given to us.

I was told a couple weeks prior that the first day would be difficult, but would get better after that. During this evening, one of my friends pointed out that "ministry wasn't meant to be comfortable." Hence, the effects of stepping out of one's comfort zone. Yet, we're not alone in this.

View of New Orleans from second floor of Yellow House

We were given an opportunity this week to be strong and courageous in what we were doing. The same applied (and applies) to the people we were given the opportunity to get to know and understand.

It's refreshing to know that none of us are alone in where we're at.

Some of the work me and my colleagues finished today.

Here are a few quotes from John Gerhardt, who spoke at the current church that night.

"Do you believe in [God] enough? Do you love your friends enough? It's time to trash the joint." (Read Mark 2, and hopefully you'll get the reference/implication.)

"Jesus didn't die for us to be comfortable. He died for us to be courageous."

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