Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Go. In The Name Of Love.




Last night the topic of conversation between our group turned to Haiti. And two friends began to have a heated debate. One on one side, the other on the other side. Each passionate about their point. Each not agreeing with the other. And I sat in the middle. Eye to eye they argued. I leaned back. Finger to pointed finger they made their point known. I leaned back just a bit farther. And then I started thinking.



When was the last time I gave of myself to my country - or my new home country? Giving of my money has never been my thing. If I had the extra cash, I’d give it - but usually that isn’t the case. I give of me. My time. My resources. I thought to the time I was in the Dominican Republic. The first night I had ever been out of the country. I was working with a children’s ministry there and we were setting up to do some street work. I was dressed as the cutest clown you ever did see and I was pretty happy to be there in the middle of that hot street. A little Hatian boy came up to me - perhaps never seeing a person with clown makeup on, maroon tights and balloon animals. Curious, he came up to me. Probably just five years old. He didn’t ask a thing - just curious. And before I knew it, a police officer - or a guard - or a military man - dressed in green - cocked his big gun and pointed it at the little boy. And me. And violently shooed that little boy away. I turned away. Sick to my stomach. I had been in the country less than three hours and at that point had realized how much the Hatians were hated in the Dominican Republic. Later that night, driving to our hotel, there was a man with no legs begging in between the cars at the red light. Scooting on his hands he went from car to car. So dangerous - he just couldn't be seen. And my heart broke again. We had been warned not to give people money - but the leader of our group jumped out of the car and gave. It was a hard first night.



I’ve walked the streets of New York City, Washington DC, Pittsburgh and Las Vegas giving out sandwiches, tooth brushes, combs, Bibles, socks. I’ve handed out blankets and smiles. I’ve given cups of soup to a line of over 100 people in Vegas. And I've taken friends by the hand as they were nervous or scared to serve and shared with them that these are just people. I didn't mind doing the talking. I love to hear people's stories. I’ve walked into the homes of heroin addicts and offered the services of different churches. And they always take it. I’ve given boxes of Valentines to fathers who’s children had nothing. I’ve knocked on doors and prayed for people. I’ve held babies in my arms who are addicted to alcohol - drinking it from their bottles because their mothers knew no better. I’ve hugged a mother as she wept in my arms because I offered her a meal. Her daughter had just been diagnosed with HIV and needed food to take her thirteen medications. And the mother had nothing. And there I was, at her door, offering her a meal. There is nothing like that feeling. Knowing that you’ve helped someone in a tangible way.



I’ve served warm coffee, plates of food and sweet desserts to the homeless in my current city. I was thankful that they were eating better than I was. I was eating a sandwich but they were eating like kings. And they deserved it. I’ve cleaned their tables and straightened their chairs so that they would have a clean place to eat. I’ve welcomed them into The Mission with an open heart and the warmest of smiles. And every time I went to serve, I couldn’t wait. I always had a great time. I just love people so much.


I’ve served a meal to hundreds of homeless in a banquet in Pittsburgh. Our church set out their best chairs, tablecloths, and food for them. Later we all had church - and sang to familiar hymns. I listened to the stories of families living on the streets - one who had just had a baby. I looked the other way as they took toilet paper from the bathrooms. Held some as they cried. Helped them find the best looking clothes at a clothing drive. And later as I helped bus them back into the heart of the city, we sang more. And laughed more. And my heart was so full. I had hoped theirs was too. Give. That’s all I wanted to do. Give. Serve. Be the hands and feet of Jesus.



And as these two friends argued over me, I realized I hadn’t served lately. I’d always been sensitive to that word - go. It would tug at my heart and I always listened. I hadn’t heard it in so long. Was I not seeing the need? Was I out of touch? Go. When we were in the Dominican Republic, I had been given an extra order of French fries with my meal. I hadn’t ordered them and didn’t have to pay for them. I like to think that the Lord put those on my tray so that I could give them to the little brother and sister who had wandered into the restaurant begging for something to eat. And the louder these two friends became, the more I could hear the whisper in my heart. Go. Praying to be sensitive to those times when I can give fries in the name of love. Go. So today as I sit reflecting on things I have done and where I have been realizing that I can do more, that word is still playing in my ears. Go. Serve. Be. Give. Go.


What will you do in the name of love?


16 comments:

Beth@The Stories of A to Z said...

You have a beautiful heart Mandi and I will be praying for you as you discern the message to "go".

Kristin said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks for showing God's love through serving. We need more people like you out there.

Holly said...

Mandi, you have a soft heart for the Lord and his children. Blessings to you.

Jennifer said...

Good point. I have been thinking a lot lately about needing an area of service. There are so many choices yet I can't seem to find many. This has encouraged me to keep looking.

Tonya said...

I just love your sweet heart Mandi! I've also been feeling my heartstrings being tugged w/the current devestation in Haiti and am praying about how God wants me to help. I'll be praying for you as well!

love ya girl!

Elise said...

I was listening to our Christian radio station last week and they were trying to earn money for Food For the Poor, and they were saying if you could only give $5 that that would be okay. Then Mac Powell from Third Day said that your prayer shouldn't be whether to give or not, but how much to give. Then he told of a lady that gave money. Her husband had been out of work for months and yet she felt compelled to give. Not out of her excess, either. I'm sure you will find the right answer...
Elise

B said...

Wishing you well in whatever you decide to do - follow your heart.

B x

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Beautifully written. You have made an impact in His name for sure. I need to find some ways here in my own town to serve!

The Southern Housewife said...

Oh my, oh my. What a beautifully written essay.

It's funny that you wrote about this because I have been struggling with going back to the homeless shelter that I volunteered at right after Thanksgiving. I was the water girl. :) But I haven't been back since. I was very uncomfortable in their presence. I didn't know what to say to them. I didn't know how to act. Should I treat them like regular people so they don't think I pity them? Should I be extra nice to them because they may need a warm smile?

But you made me realize that I was being selfish in putting MY feelings and reactions before serving. Thank you for that.

Susie from Bienvenue said...

((hugs)) Thank you for sharing your heart with me. I was so touched by your comment. Here's to a new journey!

Amanda@Imperfectly Beautiful said...

Mandi...I think this is the most beautiful post I've ever read! I have tears streaming down my face. Thank you for putting that voice in my head and heart. I will go,serve, be, give, and love. You are an angel on this earth and you inspire me!

Love you
~Amanda

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

One of your best posts! love you

Susie from Bienvenue said...

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a great upcoming week!((hugs)) Susie

Tracey said...

I love you history of giving.. I myself and struggling with this right now. My church is going on a missions trip in April and am really considering going. I feel that I have a gift to share and it's time I put it into action. Thank you for the ispriation and know that it has touched my soul in a very deep way... thank you for how you serve the Lord...Hugs to you Mandi.. happy Friday!

~ Lisa @ AbidingThere~ said...

xoxo

Heather@PixieDust said...

wow, your inner beauty is astounding!

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