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Hurricane Harvey Mission Trip

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It’s been forty-six days since the ocean stormed the East Texas coast and the skies dumped upwards of 60 inches of rain. I remember watching the news coverage with tears in my eyes and being sure the plans I had to travel to the Texan/Mexican border were changing with each drop that fell.

 

Little did I know at the time the people God would move to join me and the people who were suffering then that I would meet two days ago.

 

The first face I met was Rosa, then, Estaban, then Alex. In broken English, she told me she has 5 children, while we peeked into her home, without doors, without a floor. She, her husband and her daughter spent one month throwing away everything they owned, right down to the carpet and floorboard. We shook hands, we embraced, we promised to return in the morning.

 

Our team, who grew to 14 with the addition of another friend from Washington, left early in the next day, measuring, cutting, tacking, and nailing sub-flooring, while others made up “Basics Boxes” filled with donated toilet paper, paper towel, cleaning supplies and hygiene items. We delivered them door to door with the help of Liz, Rosa’s daughter, a mother to two little girls herself.

 

We finished that floor today with a little ambivalence. There is so much devastation yet we left that neighborhood with tearful goodbyes, now joined by a few more friends from Georgia.

 

 

Our bodies are tired tonight, but our hearts are full. We overflow with stories of triumph and loss, heavy burdens and birthdays, pain and hope because as my friend Luis said today, “I’m like that tree. I can’t be moved. I have roots that are deep. I have good soil that gives me strength.” He says this as we stand in front of his condemned home, reading John 15 from the Bible he keeps in his truck, where he now lives.  

 

We’ve completed the job in this neighborhood, moving on to other places tomorrow that include a home that has not been touched in 46 days. We’ll throw out things connected to memories that speak about a life. We’ll wonder how things came to rest where they did, what things are there that don’t belong. We’ll come back tired and hungry with more stories to tell and experiences to share, a night spent in prayerful preparation for one more day.

 

It’s been 46 days and hundreds if not thousands have received no help. This will only happen when people from Washington, Georgia, Colorado, Maryland and Indiana come. This help will come when you come and take it back home, this mission to notice, to act, to pray and return.

 

It’s what we do, those who call themselves followers of Christ. We come and serve, we go home and serve. We’re thinking about this, the going home, even while we are here, and how it will continue past a few days under the hot Texas sun.

Today, a man got to nail the last floor board into the corner of his home. His family celebrated his granddaughter’s birthday with strangers that became fast friends, while prayers were offered for the future to be filled with those he loves and a home complete.

Being SENT is about saying "yes!"

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There are some very unusual things you can send in the U.S. Postal service:  a card with never ending music, a potato, glitter bombs, even animal excrement.  There are also several documented examples of people being shipped through the mail.  For instance, In August 2012, a man in southern China decided to ship himself to his girlfriend as a prank. Unfortunately, his prank almost turned deadly when the courier took three hours to deliver the package. With minimal air in the box, and it was too thick to puncture a hole so that he could breathe.

Just what exactly does it truly mean to be SENT?  It is all about participating in God's mission to reconcile man back to Himself.  It started in the Garden of Eden when the first man and woman were separated from God because of their sin.  Throughout Scripture, we see God sending many different people to fulfill His mission:

  • Abraham - was told to leave and go and be a blessing to others,  so he went  (Genesis 12:1-4)
  • Joseph - was brought to his position in Egypt so he could save many people from starvation (Genesis 50:20)
  • Moses - was sent to Egypt to free the Israelites from slavery“(Exodus 3)
  • 12 explorers- were sent to spy the land of Canaan (Numbers 13) 
  • 12 Disciples - were sent by Jesus to preach, teach, and heal (John 20:21)
  • 72 - were sent like the apostles to preach, teach and heal (Luke 10:1-20)
  • Philip - was sent to Gaza to meet an Ethiopian (Acts 8:26)
  • Annanias - was sent me to Saul at his conversion (Acts 9:17) 

We too have been sent!  2 Corinthians 5:20 says:
We are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

That is God's mission and we have been sent.  As a church, we want to be 1 church in multiple locations influencing others to live Godly lives!  We are all essential to this vision and the mission of God becoming a reality.  We must lead where we are because we are all people of influence!  God has sent us to our families, to where we live and work, and will create the opportunity. God is looking for people who will join in on His mission.

Isaiah saw the Lord and heard a powerful question being asked by Him:  "I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

It's a simple as saying "yes!" 

 In John 14, Jesus makes a powerful challenge: “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.   Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me."  Jesus is clear that love = obedience.

Therefore being SENT is not  a question of “are we being sent?” but “Will we go?”

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