Monday, March 28, 2011

Outreach for the Unreached

As most of you know, I went to ETBU in Marshall, TX. Marshall isn't the richest area in Texas and it definitely has its fair share of downtrodden residents. Every time Lana and I would drive to Wal-mart I would see him. The brittle old man standing on the corner with a cardboard sign begging for money. It's not that I have a problem with giving away money, but I've been raised to be cautious about such things. In my mind I didn't know what he would do with the money, but I knew if I gave him some food, he would eat at least one meal that day. We would pull through Wendy's drive-thru and I would order a Baconator with a large Dr. Pepper. It's what I would like to eat, so I figured he would too. We'd drive over to where he was sitting on the ground and he would come over and grab his food. He never said much and we didn't either. Just maybe a heart-felt "Thank you" and we might call back "God Bless You."

But it wasn't enough. Throughout God's word we see where Jesus not only met physical needs, but he addressed the spiritual as well. However, I've noticed that I'm caught in the middle. Let me explain.

I've been volunteering for over 2 months now at a local organization called "Christian Action" working with refugees and asylum seekers here in HK. While my work there is worthwhile and the bonds I am making with many of my students are growing, many feel the organization fails to live up to its name. Although they were founded by Christian members, most of their staff aren't Christian and from what I've experienced there hasn't been any form of evangelism on the part of the organization staff themselves. They are clearly focused on the physical.

On the other hand, I've been attending my church in HK for over 2 1/2 years. The church itself focuses on the spiritual side of Jesus' mission, but for the most part ignore the poverty, addiction and physical needs around them.

So one focuses on the physical and one primarily on the spiritual, why not both?

The need is there and we can meet it. I've been longing for a community of believers who are willing to make a large impact in the world and will live out their faith as true disciples. Verses such as 1 John 3:17 ("If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no put on him, how can the love of God be in him?") brought me to my knees in tears last week. How can the love of God be in him? Strong words. How can the love of God be in me if I ignore such things? How can it be in you?

I laid on my bed broken and praying that God would change my heart (see this post), but I also cried for my Church. I prayed God would challenge us in a way that would awaken our eyes to the call from Christ to "do for the least of these" and that we wouldn't ignore His command in Matthew 25:34-46.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

I prayed and continued to pray and I left the rest up to God, because I knew the message had to come from someone higher than me to catch attention of the congregation.

Then, this past Sunday morning we made it to worship (even though I was reluctant to get out of bed because of my killer allergies) but I'm glad I did. Our pastor began his message entitled "Do Something!" based off the passage James 2:14-17.
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
This was the answer to my prayer!!!!!!! Amen!! Pastor challenged us to act. I could hardly contain my joy and I teared up in the service and cried a good hearty praise at home in my prayer closet (aka: shower)!! Amen! God answered my prayer directly and I can only pray now that we, as the congregation, will be receptive.

Our pastor has probably had this sermon prepared for at least a week or two, but God chose to stir the same desire in my heart that very week. Grateful. And what a better way to put our faith into action than an opportunity to serve??

Ellison has been organizing an opportunity for youth and adults to feed 180 homeless in Sham Shui Po on April 1st. While at the first meeting we had a few youth and their parents. It was a HUGE start for our church. This week our meeting after the sermon produced a few more who were willing to challenge themselves and stand up to make a difference for the Kingdom. We will have over 20 people coming with us this Friday to meet under the bridge in Sham Shui Po. The act is simple, but I pray the impact will be everlasting.

I've recently been reading an amazing non-fiction book called, "Same Kind of Different as Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. You can review it here. It's a great challenge for those of us who claim to be Christian to examine what exactly we're doing to make a difference. A MUST READ (if you haven't already)!!!

Please pray for our Project 180 on Friday and for our church as we continue to uncover the truth of discipleship and the need for evangelism.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Brittney! I'm very touched by your sharing. Your and Ellison's enthusiasm is contagious. I hope and pray that more and more people (both on the giving end and the receiving end) will be blessed through your commitment to make a difference.