After feeling almost despair for the plight of the poor yesterday, today was amazing and reassuring. We did a training session on Exodus, specifically God calling Moses with the burning bush. We focused on Moses' objections and excuses, and God's responses. I really identified with Moses; he felt inadequate to the task of freeing the Israelites, not well-spoken, nervous... God's response wasn't so much to answer Moses' questions as to emphasize His own sufficiency and sovereignty: "I AM THAT I AM." As I read in The Knowledge of the Holy this morning, God is self-existent, self-sufficient, and self-defined, above description by created words.
What I got from this is that like Moses, in our ministry we need to focus on God's stremgth, not our weakness. It doesn't matter how I was made, or what I'm bad at; God has prepared good works in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10) and He is powerful enough to use imperfect people for His perfect plan. It was tremendously reassuring.
That afternoon, we went on a tour of some of the ministry sites we were going to work at. The first was a kids' program in the basement of the church we'll be visiting next Sunday. We'll be serving meals to neighborhood kids and teaching them the gospel in groups. It reminded me of a preschool my home church runs that I volunteered at over winter break, and I'm really excited to work with the kids!
The next place was a day center called New Beginnings are Possible, where we will be running a vacation Bible school and generally working with kids who may have nowhere else to go. Again, it looked like it would be a lot of fun and a real blessing to the kids.
The last (and everyone's favorite) ministry was called God's Kids in the Hood. It consisted of an older couple running a long-term shelter for youth out of both halves of a duplex house. There were 20(!) people living in the house besides the couple, including some really young kids and some who had been there for over ten years. Sleeping and living conditions were cramped, but everyone had their own space, and the "parents" encouraged playing outside as much as possible. Perhaps more amazingly, everything in the house is donated: a big dining table and benches, tons and tons of clothes, bikes, a fancy washing machine, a big-screen TV... The woman we met emphasized that the whole purpose of the house was to teach these kids the gospel; giving them a loving home seemed to come along with that.
God's influence in all of these ministries, especially God's kids, was absolutely amazing. Yesterday I asked God, "How can Your light reach these people in the darkness?" Today felt like His answer, "Here's how." I positively cannot wait to volunteer at these places and be God's light and love to so many people! Pray that God would keep our excitement to serve up even in tough circumstances and use us to bless people!
Composed ~9:15 PM, Wednesday, June 16th