Day 2 in South Carolina has been so much fun! We were feeling a lot more confident on our work sites and each of us was excited to accomplish the tasks we had been given. Already we are building relationships with community members and home owners, especially the children who live in the neighborhood where we are working. Many of the children ride, with Next Step Staff, back to the church at the end of the work day. They stay through dinner and worship before getting a ride back home (30 minutes away!) While the physical work we accomplish is important, we understand that the relationships we form and the time we invest in the lives of others is even more important. Therefore, we encourage the students to just sit and chat with homeowners. We celebrate when they take a break from working to play basketball. Today, I tried to be a silent observer and here are some of the sweet moments that I observed:
*Caleb was given a basketball lesson by a local teen who is helping with the work at the Nehemiah house. Caleb let the young man teach him all sorts of things about basketball and showed up simply as a friend. What a lesson for us! Sharing Jesus with others doesn’t always mean doing things for them – sometimes we need to let them do things for us.
*Josh sat with a little boy at dinner – and he didn’t just sit with him. He was relaxed, smiling, and unhurried. He was obviously enjoying this little boy’s company. My lesson? God’s love is a lot more evident when we genuinely like the people God is placing in our lives. When people stop being projects and start being friends, God’s love can shine a lot brighter – and it’s a lot more enjoyable for us.
*Multiple times today I saw students treat the homes and homeowners with incredible respect. They honored the homes they were in and treated them with great care. Do I serve others like that? Do I honor others in how I serve them or do I serve with an air of judgement and paternalism? These students didn’t see people in need but saw children of God and an opportunity to love. Wow! Who can you honor today?
Who is God wanting you to love in His name? What relationship is God calling you to strengthen? You don’t need to fix a roof in South Carolina to make an impact for Jesus. God has you, right now, right where he wants you to make the biggest impact for Him.