Service

Well here I am again…struggling on trying to find the right words to say to describe this experience.

In our course at Cliff College, we learned about discipleship, serving, and leading in our communities. I left thinking…”ok…well so much for leaving school. I just went back to it.” BUT, I came back and had an experience that showed me what it means to really serve and follow God.

The weekend before last was our annual Harvest festival at the church. All the scouts and people of the church collect items to be donated to The Beacon House (a local homeless shelter)…We had over 100 people turn up to the service to give back to the church and a wonderful meal following the service!  So on Monday, John and I set out across town to deliver all of the goods the church collected. When we showed up with all of these things and saw the look on everyones face I was so filled with joy. I learned about this place and how they are struggling to keep things running as much as they’d like to due to the lack of volunteers that come in. I’d been  struggling with looking for ways to fill my free time, and I knew that this was the answer. So, I’m applying to volunteer there as well.

I’ve expressed that…

I’ve had days where I just didn’t want to get out of bed. I’ve butted heads with some people, my patience has been tested,  and I’ve been completely frustrated. But, over all I’ve been able to say that I’m having the experience of a life time. I always knew that this wasn’t going to be an easy road, but God has shown up every day since I’ve been here.  Whether it be in the talks that I’ve had with people, to just proving constantly to me that I can make it. There are costs to being a disciple, and trials we must face…but I can honestly say that every step, good or bad, is worth it. I’ve never felt so motivated to serve, and I’m loving it. 

I’m so excited to see what the future has to offer me, and what I can do while I’m here.

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does it’s work.” Ephesians 4:16

Just some pictures to show everyone that I’m not sitting on my butt ALL THE TIME. 😉

Just learning some fun history!

Just learning some fun history!

Ray, Sue, and I at Hampton Court!

Ray, Sue, and I at Hampton Court!

Working on some art for our bible study!

Working on some art for our bible study!

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Possessions: breaking my shell.

Let me start by saying:

 

I’ve been blessed to have been welcomed into such a beautiful home.

Being apart of this program made me think of all the things I had that I gave up to be here. No, I’m not in a third world country…But I’m taking the steps to “live simply” and go on what I have…even if it’s a little. Now I think that in some of these blogs I’ve mentioned the idea of “living simply” a lot but haven’t realized myself what exactly this really meant. 

Giving up things doesn’t necessarily mean your worldly possessions. Giving up friendships and the stability of school to hop onto a plane and be a volunteer was a huge challenge. It didn’t really give me the warm fuzzies inside when I thought about it. It made me uncomfortable and, quite frankly, scared the pants off of me.

“Living simply” has not only meant that I can’t go out and eat every night because I just don’t have the money…I’ve been forced to live in the moment, and to make things in my life more simple. When people say to me “Ohhh, yeah! I just like to live my life day by day..it’s much easier.” I’m sitting there thinking to myself…”well whoopdie doo…aren’t you special?” Mainly because I think i’m just jealous…It’s easy to sit and listen to people talk about these things, but not so easy to do. Especially when I still have this anxious feeling in my stomach that my future is going to hit me like a train.

The other day I found myself being so upset because I’ve been feeling so alone. So, of course, I began to think about all of the things that I was missing at home. My family, my “home”, my friends, and the comfort of my own bed. Even on my worst days in North Carolina, I knew that I had my own bed…my own home I made for myself to turn to.

So I had this defining moment: It was a Sunday morning. I was feeling like I couldn’t even face the day. My adjustment period and homesickness have been hard for me to get over. So, I made myself talk to Ray and Sue (my host parents) about how I was feeling. The gist of what they told me was “Scarlett! Come out of that room once in a while! We want to make you a part of this family.” Wow…These people really want me. In their home, and in their lives. People at home AND at work have been making this huge effort for me, and here I am…feeling selfish and not seeing what’s in front of me. 

At first I knew I was coming here to do something bigger, “better”, and to respond to my call to this ministry. They told us at orientation how we wouldn’t make much of a difference in what happens here…but these people would change our lives in some way. I’ve been here almost two months and every day I see myself becoming a different, much stronger person. Letting myself go and letting people in has been so hard for me. I’m used to being alone in a lot of things I do. But little by little I’m feeling  my shell cracking and realizing that I truly am meant to be here…with these people.

My pride and my fear what I don’t know has kept me locked in my room, but the term “living simply” defines what is turning me into a brand new person. Forcing me into community and breaking me out of my shell. Now i’m not by any means proud of myself…I’m new. I’m new to the love that I’m allowing myself to give and also in the new love i’m allowing myself to receive. Even from people I barely know. I’m starting to let myself be recharged on life through these new relationships. I’m slowly feeling more at home, more comfortable with myself and my flaws, OK with living simply, and breaking my barriers to let everyone see me and what I have to offer. So, if living simply means that I sit in front of the TV with great people instead of going out….Or go to church on a Saturday to have instant coffee with congregation instead of spending the 25 pounds to visit a friend….Then I’m ok with it. If my best friend here is over the age of 60…i’m ok with it, because these wonderful people have become a new family to me….and are breaking me away from my old ways.

 

So let me say again:

I’m been BLESSED to have been welcomed into such a beautiful home..AND a beautiful community.

Thinking about all of this reminds me constantly of the prayer/poem we read at orientation called “passover remembered” by Alla Bozarth-Campbell.

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