Friday, January 30, 2009

Does it make a difference?

The other night as Neal and I lay in bed talking about my trip, he asked me if I thought these short term trips really make a difference. I told him some of the stories I'd heard of people coming to know the Lord through the outreaches there. I told him about all the work that the mission does, and how we, as volunteers, help by doing the everyday jobs that need to be done. It may not sound like much to pull weeds in a garden, dice tomatoes, clean bathrooms, roast macadamia nuts, or clean a trailer, but those are all jobs that need to be done. If the short term volunteers are not there to do them, then the full time staff and volunteers would have to take time away from their jobs to get them done.

Then you may wonder how much good does it do to go to a migrant camp and blow bubbles, hand out candy, stickers and toys, and maybe some food? But when you are there, and you see the faces of these children and parents light up just because you took an hour or two of your time to spend with know it's worth it! It's a short amount of time where they are distracted from their surroundings. They get to experience the love of Jesus through groups of people who take time to go and smile at them...even if they can't speak the same language! But you know what? I got to experience Jesus through them! I am blessed to live in a nice home, have food on the table three times a day, have healthcare, have a car to drive, and I have clothes to wear. I don't have to depend on someone coming to my neighborhood to tell me about Jesus. I can pick up my Bible anytime I want, I can go to my church several days a week, or I can turn on the radio or tv and hear about Him 24/7. I don't have to depend on someone coming to my neighborhood to bring me food or clothes. I live 5 minutes from Wal-mart, and have a car to take me there and money to purchase the things I need. Yet I am still not satisfied most of the time. I looked at some of the people in the camps who know the Lord as Savior, and although I'm sure they'd love to live in a better environment, they had real joy on their faces. They really made me re-examine my life and if I could I would tell them "Thank You!"

A verse I read in my quiet time yesterday reminded me of these wonderful people:

2 Corinthians 6:10 (New Living Translation) "Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything."

I'll close with a story that our Youth With A Mission group leader, Barry, sent in an email today:


One sultry and wind swept day after a battering storm, a small boy walked out on an empty stretch of beach. On the sand, just beyond the reach of the receding tide the boy noticed something. There lay thousands of starfish stranded in the glaring sun. The sun beat down on the quiet and lonely beach. The air was hot and droplets of perspiration stood out on the boy’s brow. As he took in the sight a feeling of urgency and determination over took the lad, and despite the heat, he began to fervently work.

He stooped down, picked up a starfish and threw it as far as he could into the surf. The youth paused for only a fraction of a second to smile, and then picked up and threw the next one and the next one and the next one.

As he continued to do this, an old man watched him as he drew closer to the boy. Closing the distance between them, he noticed just what it was exactly, that the boy was doing. And in his worldly wisdom began to chuckle to himself at the futility of what the foolish child was doing.

The boy barely gave the old man a glance. He continued his pace, undeterred by the smirk on the elders face. Finally the man could hold his tongue no longer.

Laughing out loud, he called out to the youngster. “Why are you wasting your time young man? There are thousands of starfish on this beach. You can’t possibly make a difference!” With out skipping a beat, the little warrior picked up another starfish and hurled it into the sea. “It makes a difference to that one!” he replied. Then he stooped to offer life to another of God’s precious creatures, as a smile spread across His face.

"Lord, help me to make a difference every day!"

1 comment:

Marie said...

Looks like a wonderful trip!

Just wanted to remind you that anything you do for someone else ALWAYS makes a difference. Will you always see it? Will you have the pleasure of knowing? No -- but be sure to always remember, any time you give to others - regardless of what it is, you always make a difference.

Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."