Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It wasn’t me, It was Him!

Continuing my thoughts on the NYC Mission Trip that I took with Hope Fellowship.  I have come to grips that everything about that trip was Him, not me.  The whole trip was not normal for me.  My biggest prayer for the trip was to be used by God.  It was definitely through His power that I was used.  All the great things that happened were for His glory!

 

NYC 2012 from Hope Fellowship on Vimeo.

I wish that I could say that when I see someone that I don’t prejudge them before learning their story.  Then again, I shouldn’t judge them at all.  I shouldn’t need to know their story.  I can honestly say for the time that I was in NYC, I let God direct me and let his love flow through me.  It is now my daily prayer.

I prayed that God let me see His people as His children.  I wasn’t there to judge, but to give His love.  It was great to just let it happen!  I didn’t have the answers, but I allowed His answers to be there, instead of me trying to fix everything.  It wasn’t my place to fix anyone, but to show His love.  That’s the same prayer for my daily interactions with others.

I’m a nice guy, but it’s not normal for me to go up to homeless people and strike up conversations.  Heck, it’s not always normal for me to talk with most people.  However, once that conversation started it was great just to be a part of their lives.  To listen to their stories, to see the pain, to empathize, and to see their happiness peak through.

One of the biggest things that we did while we were driving to the different locations was to praise God through worship songs and prayer. It was huge, it really got us set for what was going to happen and who we were going to see. We truly were going into spiritual warfare and needed to focus on Him. Emails, voice mails, texts, and Words with Friends could definitely wait.  This is something that as well needs to be done everyday… focusing on Him to be prepared for what He has in store for us daily.

At one point during our drive to one of the locations, someone played songs from our church, Hope Fellowship.  It was so incredible.  Hearing Aubrey and Jen’s voices, I imagined them and others from our church praying for us and lifting us up.  I pretty much lost it at that point.  Their voices are so uplifting!  I love my church family.

We were in some rough neighborhoods, but no matter where the Relief Bus was parked, I felt a covering of protection by Him.  It was so good to feel His protection and understand that something big was happening.  The greatest thing is that it wasn’t all about me.

In an upcoming post, I’ll share some of the stories of people that I got to meet.  Before I share about that, I had to give glory where it was due.  I loved how God used me.  He wants to use you too.

I had reservations about going on a Mission Trip and I’m sure you probably do as well.  You don’t have to be strong enough, articulate enough, bold enough… He has given you all that you need to go on a Mission Trip. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Water Stop of Life

178591_608142242693_1146007807_oI had the crazy opportunity of going on a mission trip to New York City last week.  I’ll be posting a few blog posts as those days were jam packed with so much that one post wouldn’t do it justice.

First of all, I got to serve with some awesome people from my church, Hope Fellowship.  You really don’t get to know people until you spend a few days living and serving alongside them.  Each and every person that went was so loving and caring.  Like myself, there were a few people that this was their first mission trip.  As well, there were others that have been on several trips stateside and overseas.

We supported an awesome organization called the New York City Relief.  They have an outreach called the Relief Bus.  They use 2 buses daily to reach homeless where they’re at.  They provide a meal, some clothes, and connections to much needed resources.  Most of all, they provide dignity to these people.  It was incredible what a handshake and a listening ear did for them.

The Water Stop of Life

waterstopRunning in races for the last few years has allowed me to experience water stations or aid stations.  These water stations help aid runners in finishing their race with water, Gatorade, and encouragement.  We pretty much did the same for the homeless, we fueled them up with soup, bread, lemonade, & iced tea.  As well, we provided encouragement and love.

Even if I don’t use a water station in a race, I feed off of their excitement and encouragement.  It’s with that same vigor that we loved on these people.  We couldn’t all understand the place that they were in their life, but it wasn’t for us to judge.  It was for us to be used by God to love on His children and provide them something that they don’t get everyday… a non-judgmental friend.  That was a total God thing as it’s not a normal thing.  Normally, we are quick to judge and condemn.  I can honestly say for those hours serving, I just wanted to be there for them and help however I could.

2012-06-08 13.38.33As in races, not everyone needs water stations… some just power through on their own.  Some don’t use other’s help even if they need it.  When the Relief Bus arrives on a location, it’s usually made up of 80% regulars and 20% are new people.  The Relief Bus provides a safe haven for these runners in life.  In a future post, I’ll share about a friend that I made.  To the right is a picture of Darryl and I.

Sometimes runners need to bow out or take an extended break during the race due to injury or exhaustion.  It’s the same with the homeless, they might get caught up in drugs or alcohol.  The Relief Bus has great connections and are able to quickly get them aid through detox programs.  It was so cool to see those moments happen.  It’s so cool to see people want to make a breakthrough and get back on track in their race.

The runner still has to run and finish the race themselves.  On their own power and at their own pace.  However, at times, they do need help.  If you ever get asked to serve at a Water Stop of Life, just do it!  You won’t regret it!  It stretched me and I’m looking forward to future trips to NYC or other places to serve. 

Let us run perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Briana GRADUATES!

IMGP1406I’m super proud of Briana as she just graduated from high school on Saturday!  I would love to take credit for all of her hard work, but she did it… she did it all herself.  Ursula and I encouraged her here and there, but she’s the one that would stay up late or get up early to study & get those projects done.  She didn’t just skate by like I did in high school… she excelled!  I’m so proud that she graduated and received the honor of Cum Laude.  For people like me that didn’t know… that title is for graduates with a GPA of 90 or above.  Too cool!  Yep, I’m one proud papa!

IMGP1408-croppedUrsula and I have been truly blessed with both Briana and Cairo.  They both are naturally smart and self-motivated kiddos.  Over the years we haven’t had to get on them very much for their school work.  Now, chores… that’s a different story. :)

We had a great celebration weekend with family and friends.  There were plenty of family that came in from all over.  It was so great to see them and celebrate Briana and her hard work.  Thanks all that came by plane and travelled hundreds of miles!  It really meant a lot to Briana and all of us!

Next step in her journey is Texas A&M!  It’s going to be hard to see her go off to school. However, I’m ready to see her tackle the next chapter in her life.  Go Briana!