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


Anonymous said...

So cool, Mark! It was sooo great getting to meet you and know you... Serving in NY was truly awesome, and the lessons God had for us there are priceless.


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Danielle Davy said...

Mark! Such an awesome way to sum up this trip. So glad I got to serve alongside you, and I feel so blessed to now know you. God bless.


Mark Lunsford said...

Great perspective Mark! I'm so glad you were able to go on the trip!

Aubrey McGowan said...

Great thoughts Mark! Sometimes the simple and practical things are the most powerful. Even Jesus said that if we give a cup of cold water to those in need it's like we have given it to Him. Matt 10:42. Let's keep up the good work every day.