Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
-I John 4:7-8 KJV
*The Bible tells us to love one another. It tells us over and over to love, as love is of God.
*How would our present world situation, our present political situation change if this were practiced?
*Each of us can carry out this command in our own ways, in our own sphere of influence.
A WAY I PRACTICE LOVE
One way I practice love is by volunteering for short-term mission trips. I have always had a heart and passion for other cultures and people. It’s simply the way I am wired. Chromosome 50, gene 100, if you will!
God has privileged me to visit many peoples and places, and just last month, I enjoyed my sixth, short-term mission trip, this time to Jamaica. Not a sissy trip.
WORK AND MORE WORK
We built three houses and completed a sizable concrete project. We traveled as a group of 42 from my church and under the auspices of Christian Services International, a stellar group with whom to do short-term missions. http://www.csiministries.org
Our four teams rotated between the sites, which meant we worked on all four projects. On day one, we would get the foundation, flooring and usually one wall done on the houses and then, the next day, another team would continue the work. You can see these were small houses, but big to our people.
Friends and neighbors came to assist, which allowed us to get more work done. Our teens learned how to use hammers, electric saws and drills. They scaled ladders to nail down tin roofs.
A bucket brigade ferried the wet cement. This was the hardest physical part for me. They would only let me swing buckets of cement for short periods, and then, I carried the empty buckets for refill.
Our group was comprised mostly of teenagers and their parents, our pastor and wife, and me. Ages ranged from twelve years to yours truly, a young-at-heart, 75 year-old. Lucas and I were the Alpha and Omega of the group.
We worked in the small, mountainous village of Highgate, Jamaica. Its beautiful sunrises and sunsets were reason enough to cherish the trip. Factor in the appreciative people, including laughing little children, the lively (and long!) church services, our group’s camaraderie, and the dedicated CSI staff, and one has all the elements of a great mission trip.
I will say being electronically unplugged for a whole week was a new experience for many, and maybe, was not classified as great! No phones, computers, TV, or not even a watch was a bit of withdrawal. Cold showers and no curling irons. Mostly, toilets in the bush when at the work sites, but we survived. Amazing how little we really need to get along.
I personally felt I was showing God’s love to these beautiful people, just by coming along side them, worshipping with them, coming in solidarity and helping with a much desired and needed project. I also tried to share my story with them and did connect with a young teen who wants to be an author. We planned for email exchange and I so hope this happens.
A short-term mission trip may not be your love language. But, consider how best you show God’s love to others. With some of us it is through art, http://www.cherieburbach.com , our written words http://www.facebook.com/AuthorToniShiloh, our acts of kindness, our quality time spent with people.
We all have our ways, our talents.
…but the greatest of these is love.
-I Cor 13:13 NIV