Monday, April 3, 2006

dreaming God-sized dreams

Hey, guys. I've got a link for you: I just discovered this photo-journal today and thought some of you might like to see it, especially those of you who were down in New Orleans over spring break. It's heartbreaking for me to see this, to remember the week we spent down there, to think of the people we helped, and most especially to think of the people we weren't able to help because we didn't have enough time. I know that those of you who experienced the relief work know how I'm feeling. God is great, and He is caring for the people of the Gulf Coast, providing for them and drawing them closer to himself through tragedy and heartache. How, though, can God be using us? It was amazing to see the multitude of ways He was able to use us in one short week -- pulling up trees, clearing out sheds, tearing down drywall, talking to homeowners and church members, learning from Fred Franke and the other leaders of the relief efforts, encouraging other workers and being encouraged by seeing how God is working in their lives, building stronger relationships among those of us who went -- the list goes on and on.

My question for you is this: How can God use you to help in this situation? As a few of you know, Megan and KT and I have been doing some dreaming and some planning. (What's new there?) With a lot of prayer and thought, we've decided that God's leading us to do something more than just watch and pray about the situation. God has given us an opportunity to serve Him by serving others in a unique way, and we're taking this step in faith. The plan is to take the fall semester off from school in order to go back down to New Orleans and continue helping in the work there. There is so much to be done!! Our spring break group worked so hard for a week straight, and we accomplished some amazing things, but that was merely a drop in the bucket of there is that needs to be done.

So, back to the question. How can God use you? Will you pray for us? We will (and do) definitely need it. Will you encourage us? I know that we'll miss you guys a ton when we're gone, and it'd be such an encouragement to hear from you! Will you help support us financially? I know that's a hard one to ask college students (because I am one and I understand). Lodging and food will basically be provided for us while we're working there. But there will be other expenses, like gas to get down there and back when we need to. Can you support this mission financially, even if it's just a few dollars? (That might pay for a gallon of gas to help us on our way...) How can God use you? Will you join us? The people of New Orleans desperately need your help to rebuild. And I'm not just talking about houses here, either. It's amazing how God can use tragedy to draw people into a relationship with Him. New Orleans is seeing Jesus in an astounding way. The people are broken and in need of God, and they are coming to realize that. And they are seeing Him. They are seeing Him through the efforts of the churches and relief workers who are there, giving of themselves wholeheartedly. They are seeing Him in the joy and peace and faith that remains in the lives of the Christians, who are living there with them in the midst of destruction and turmoil. They are seeing Him as their lives are slowly rebuilt and hope is restored to them. How can God use you? Come with us! Whether it's for the whole semester (which we would love), or even just a week or two during the summer, come! I have not seen a field so ready for the harvest! It's just that the workers are few. Think about it. Dream big. We're only limited by what God can do, which is to say that we're not limited at all! Scholarships can often be deferred, degrees can be put off for another semester (or you can even think about doing an internship while we're there, like Megan might be doing, or taking some classes at one of New Orleans' many universities, like KT), jobs can wait for another few months. Don't rush through your life in such a hurry to get somewhere that you miss out on the journey. Put your "life" on hold for a while. Help others rebuild theirs. And in the meantime take ahold of the opportunity of a lifetime, one that will be gone before you know it. Take this opportunity to spread the blessing of Jesus to the world and at the same time receive a blessing you never would have thought possible. How can God use you? Just ask Him, and follow wherever He leads.


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