How Can I Help Project Days 1-5
Well, 5 days into this crazy adventure and I already can’t believe the things God is accomplishing in and through me. Click here to visit my original post “The How Can I Help Project” to see what I’m up to. Also, please consider sharing one of the posts or the video to help me get the word out about this experience!
Day 1 – Wednesday, April 1st
The first Wednesday of every month I go with youth group students from my church out into the community to serve at a wide-variety of organizations. This month we were assigned to Matter – a Minnesota based organization that collects medical supplies donations and ships them to impoverished countries. The night started with an exhibit of 6 rooms set up to represent poverty in 6 different countries and included an audio recording of a true story from that nation. The stories were heart breaking and the perfect way to start the month.
After the exhibit we sorted medical supplies from large boxes into boxes labeled with each department – OB, surgical, clinical, needles, IV fluids, tubing, gloves… and other medically type words that I am forgetting. It took a little bit to get the hang of it but it was a really fun time! I would love to go back and support their incredible mission.
To learn more about the exhibit or to get involved visit www.Mattermore.org
Day 2 – Thursday, April 2nd
I intentionally left this day unplanned in order to spontaneously help someone with my two friends Sarah and Tawny. Some of the most amazing moments of my life have come when I let God take the lead and that is exactly what happened.
Thursday morning I was combing through Craigslist for someone to help. I shortly came across this post:
We all texted our families and collected two full boxes of clothes and shoes for our new friend to have (we also arranged for him to get his haircut and to get a bus pass). On Saturday night after church, the three of us set off to meet our new “please-don’t-be-a-craigslist-murder” friend.
We parked outside his place as he came out of his front door to meet us. It wasn’t long before we were sitting in his living room and hearing his incredible journey with God. 90 minutes flew by as we sat in awe of his knowledge and experiences of following Jesus. As he spoke I got this goosebumps feeling like God was talking directly to me.
“Find out who you are in God” – our friend said, “that is the first and most important step.”
I quickly picked my jaw off the floor as it was those exact words that began this entire adventure, the Ghandi quote I used in my first post. My search to rediscover my identity in God.
Finally as our conversation began to wind down he said, “I feel like this is a very significant moment in my life and that you three are somehow a part of that.” We prayed for him and he in turn, prayed for us. I know this won’t be the last time we see this new family and I can’t believe what God can accomplish if I simply go looking to do his work. If nothing else comes of this month, this night made me feel alive again. God is good.
Day 3 – Friday, April 3rd
I arranged a few weeks ago to hang out with my 96 year old grandma tonight so my aunt and uncle could enjoy a dinner out. They are incredible people who have cared for my Granny for years so she wouldn’t have to live in a nursing home. Last week my grandma fell and broke her hip. She had surgery and is doing really well. So, today I am hugging family close and thanking God for the time I have had with her. She told me she has prayed for me every night since I was born. Such a beautiful picture of faith.
Day 4 – Saturday, April 4th
When I put up the video, I got a sweet message from my college friend Caitlin asking if we could talk sometime. For the past year and a half she has had a health issue that you can read about on her beautiful blog – caitlinmsanders.com
We ended up talking about life, teaching, writing, and God for over 2 hours! It’s easy to forgot just how deeply we can be blessed when we make space to bless others. I am so encouraged by Caitlin’s strength through this season of unknowns.
Seriously though, go visit her blog.
Day 5 – Sunday, April 5th
I wanted to do something special for Easter and found an opportunity to serve at a senior living facility. Along with two sweet high school girls, we helped wheel 40 residents down so the could enjoy a church service. This was by far the most difficult of my experiences thus far. Many of the residents came from the memory care floor and struggled to talk.
One man and I became fast friends. I couldn’t understand him very well but finally I heard him say “hold my hand.” He couldn’t keep his body from shaking for more than a few seconds, yet there with his hand in mine something was different. He just kept his hand on mine for a very long time and in that moment I became so aware of how many broken people in this world just need a hand, something to hold onto to steady their world.
The morning was long. After the first service, we took a quick break and then started rounding up residents to push through two buildings to attend a catholic mass. I was exhausted by the end of the four hours, yet one moment made it all worth it. When the chaplain began to say the Lord’s Prayer, suddenly this room of barely communicative adults began to say with strength:
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name,
Your kingdom come, thy will be done
On Earth as it is in heaven.
A tear hit the corner of my eye at this beautiful picture of faith. While their bodies are slowly deteriorating, God is still there dwelling within them as he is in all of us.