February 13, 2010
Love in Action
In the wake of the earthquake, it seems everyone wants to do something to help. Haiti isn’t the kind of place one just gets on a plane and goes to, so few will have the chance to actually go and help.
But the Foundation for Peace, the group with whom our church has partnered with to do mission work is located in the Dominican Republic. They have the experience, staff, contacts and know-how to provide medical, physical and spiritual help directly to quake survivors and they’ve been doing so since days after the earthquake. Now they’re taking in teams of volunteers. As a result, Dan jumped at the opportunity to go. Three from our church were there this week and arrive home tonight. I’m on pins and needles waiting to hear all the details of their trip.
Besides time and a calling, mission trips require money. Many trip goers pay for these trips out of their own pockets. Some pursue fundraising. Dan chose the latter. Not shying away from the Christian aspect of the trip and even quoting a Bible verse, Dan penned an appeal and emailed it to friends, business colleagues and clients asking for their help.
Then, he sat back and watched God work.
As he and I have seen in past experiences, fundraising is about so much more than a financial transaction. It brings out people’s natural generosity that they’re just not sure where to channel, especially in a situation as daunting as Haiti. It allows folks to be a part of an experience much bigger than themselves. And it demonstrates what it looks like when ordinary, everyday Christians become the hands and feet of Jesus.
It’s the best kind of evangelism. Love in action. Love with no expectation of repayment. Love that requires sacrifice (and a good bit of discomfort).
Let’s face it Christians as a group often get a bad rap. As a whole we’re frequently painted as a closed society filled with closed-minded people. How refreshing when someone with a previously sullied opinion of Christianity sees faith in action. Perhaps it causes a few to say, “Hmm, maybe there’s something to the Jesus thing.”
What a difference we can make when we live our faith out loud, for others to see. No pressure. No preaching. No moralizing. Faith in action pure and simple.
I expected Dan would receive donations. I didn’t, however, anticipate how blessed the donors would be by Dan’s appeal or how enthusiastically they’d support him. Like the long out-of-touch high school friend who donated and then passed the request on to her friends. Or the Cub Scout troop who took up a collection at their meeting and delivered coins and crumpled dollar bills. Or the business colleague so inspired he’s looking into going on one of the upcoming trip. But I was most blessed by the response from one of Dan’s clients. The client passed the fundraising note on to his staff and encouraged them to contribute. Each staff member chimed in and offered what they could. “I’m in for $10.” “Put me down for 20.” “I want to give $50.” The responses poured in. And then the client matched what his staff donated. The amount collected almost funded Dan’s entire trip!
God's love is everywhere and with each donation, no matter what the size, I’ve seen evidence of this love. Whether the donors can put a name to it or not, with each gift God is glorified.
So in several short hours this week’s team of missionaries, including my husband, will board planes and head to Santo Domingo. There’s no clear roadmap for what they’ll do. Needs change daily. Patience and flexibility will be required. But I know the work they do is in the Lord’s hands.
I pray our heavenly Father covers them with His protection and fills them with His Spirit. And though they travel a great distance hoping to make a noticeable difference, even if they sit on a mat and hold a child's hand, let that be enough.
And by their example may others know deep in their heart they've encountered Jesus.
On Valentine's Day, what greater gift of love is there than this?