Now that August has arrived and school activities start soon I was thinking back on every English teacher I’ve had. The first thing out of their mouth when school started again was: “Write a theme on What You Did on Your Summer Vacation.” It was always easy for me to write or make up an interesting story and embellish a little, though most times my really truthful events during summer were better kept mostly to myself.
With that being said, I decided to factually write about this year’s summer vacation. Now I’m completely retired from a regular 8:00 to 4:30 job at the bank where I worked for 42 years and my Massage Studio hours are very flexible. Being free to do most anything now and initially with a momentary lapse of judgment I volunteered to accompany several youth and our pastor on a mission trip. I had heard of World Changers because they came to Bogalusa mainly after Katrina and also several times since. This organization sponsored by the North American Mission Board physically helps build or repair homes for those unable to do so themselves.
Those traveling with us were our pastor Charles Rogers, whose also a physician, his son Steven; his daughter Mary; Reagan Holmes; Chloe Stokes, Cathy New, our Music and Worship Director; her brother Caleb; Marissa Mitchell, our former Youth Leader; and myself. The destination was West Memphis, Arkansas just across the river from Memphis Tennessee. Our group met up with 190 other team members from across the nation and with 20 administrative staff members. We were housed in the huge First Baptist Church in Marion. Arkansas a mile away from West Memphis.
Over the week, mainly four work days, all of us in 105 degree weather with a 115 degree daily heat index took shingles off 18 homes and completely reroofed them with edge trim, tar paper and architectural shingles. We also painted houses while some built decks and wheelchair ramps. All in all, 6800 work hours were donated to West Memphis with a minimum dollar value of $70,000 from us.
The point I am making is that in todays world there is the phenomenon of isolationism or “cocooning” with people pulling in and shutting out the rest of the world while interested only in what concerns them. Many are interested only in what can be done individually for them to the neglect of what can be done for others or those less fortunate.
Christ chose to get involved, passing through the heavens while coming to earth and becoming poor to make us spiritually rich. “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, . . .” - Heb. 4:14KJV He was no stranger to real life while living and observing what people go through every day. One aspect of “cocooning” is an attitude of “When I’m done with work, I’m worn out. I can’t be bothered with people’s problems and can hardly manage my own. If anything I need to receive help, not give it out.” This attitude results in many receiving comfort, help and even peace from the very few who give and share their time and talent. Believing in Jesus empowers people. This verse challenges believers: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” - Heb. 4:16KJV. Why? To obtain mercy that we each need and grace to help in time of need. God’s grace, undeserved to us, relieves some of our cares and allows us freedom and strength to “pass it on” by helping others. By the way, none of our group complained about the extreme heat or hard work. They did exceptional in my opinion and each came home with a renewed attitude of service for others.