"As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him..."
~Psalm 103:15-17a

"Serving Christ Enthusiastically"

This last week was crazy busy!  We had two teams of people, one from Ohio and one from Pennsylvania, come to help us prepare for our Annual Furniture Give Away.  During the week they had a pretty busy schedule, and I was right in there with them.  Our theme for the week was "serving Christ enthusiastically," based on Colossians 3:23, where it says to "do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men."  I had been thinking about that idea lately because of Sally's experience at Gull Lake Ministries, where she has been working for part of the summer.  It really challenged my thinking and helped me realize that it's a choice I can make, no matter how I feel, I can choose to serve Christ with enthusiasm.  I encouraged the team to do the same and to keep it up through the whole week and to not peter out at the end.

So what did we do with so much enthusiasm?  Well, in the mornings, we had some time for devotions and then I had a chance to talk a bit about the Furniture Give Away (FGA, for short) and enthusiasm.  Then, while they had a chance to learn from Paul and then to learn about various cultures (China, Korea, Japan, India and Indonesia - one per day), I would work on details of the FGA, help prepare lunch and get ready for the afternoon.  During the afternoon, we would work on cleaning our campus house and sorting through the household goods that we were going to give away at the FGA.  (I guess the men on the team actually went out to pick up furniture and repair some furniture, too.)

It was very interesting being the go-to person.  I don't think I have ever heard my name so many times in one week before!  It seemed like it was always, "Beth, what can I do now?"  "Beth, what should we do with this pot?"  "Beth, is there anything else I can help with?"  "Beth..."  "Beth..."  Well, you get the idea.  It was a good experience, though, and I learned a lot:

  • I learned that leaders need to know where they are going before they can help the people following. 

  • I learned that maybe deciding to major in management wasn't such a bad idea...I kind of like being able to boss manage people. 

  • I learned a lot about people and relationships.

One part that I really enjoyed was working with all the teens on the team.  There were about 5-7 teens at any given time, and they were usually around to help me.  They were pretty hard workers and, while it took some encouragement to get them going after lunch, they did a great job helping.  Besides that, they provided quite a bit of entertainment, both at meals and while working.

Overall, it was very encouraging to have such a diverse group of people here serving the Lord however they could.  If you have thought about going on a missions trip and decided not to because it might be too hard on the missionaries, go anyway!  Being on the other side this time, I can tell you that it is extra work, but it is well worth it to know that someone cares about the work we are doing and to see how the team members become excited about our work.

Well, about the actual FGA.  I came at about 6:00 AM.  By the time I parked and got to the house, there were already about 5 students sitting on the front porch waiting!  So all the volunteers rushed around to get everything set up, all the way from bringing the furniture from the storage units to setting up the registration table.  At 9:30 we started registration.  The students came through and were able to choose two pieces of furniture, along with a household item, such as a bag of dishes.  We had about 340 students come through: 300 of them were able to get furniture, and the rest got lots of household items and were put on the list to get furniture if/as it comes in.  Besides all the students, there were about 100 volunteers helping.  I heard my name a lot that day, too.  First of all when the volunteers were trying to figure out what they needed to do, and then later in the day when problems came up.  By God's grace, we had perfect weather and no one was seriously injured.  We were even able to finish up delivering the furniture by 5:00 that evening!  God showed His sovereignty over everything in several ways that day, too, even using my "mistakes" for good.

I could say so much more, but I am off to prepare for the Welcome Picnic for new international students for this coming weekend!  Guess I'll have to wait to take my vacation. :)