Back to the Office—and Still Being Kind

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, July 23, 2014

kitten and little girl

Back to the Office—and Still Being Kind

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Well, what about all play and no work? What will that do to Jill? What kind of a girl will she become? It’s not that I did no work over the weekend. Certainly not! But I was in a very different setting. In two different settings, actually. (For those who missed my comings and goings, I was at one conference in Cleveland from Friday afternoon until Sunday midday. And then, I made a hop, skip and a jump to another conference in western Pennsylvania from Sunday mid-afternoon until after lunch on Tuesday.)

I’ve blogged about my conference-going for the past few days. Some marvelous insights! Some innovative ideas! Lots to think about, and lots to process over the next couple of weeks.

So—I was back in the office today. Answering a ton of email, responding to social media, doing a good deal of computer file maintenance and other types of office work and correspondence. Oh, I read to the preschoolers and kindergarteners at the preschool. Had several meetings with people over the telephone. Pretty much just stayed put, at the church.

And yet, I realized today that in just about every interaction, I purposed to be kind. Amazing how much six months of a kindness-orientation or service-practice can cause me to change my mindset. Well, that’s not quite right. I have shown the spiritual gifts of helps and encouragement for decades. That’s nothing new. But—this purposeful kindness- or helps-orientation every single day? That is new for me.

I haven’t spoken of the verse I chose for the month of July much. This is not a deliberate error on my end, because so much has been going on! But before July slips away, let’s take another look at James 1:22; “Be doers of the Word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” To my way of thinking, using my spiritual gifts of helps and encouragement is doing the Word. Being active, not passive.

Towards the end of the day, I did something else that was active. Doing the Word, not just sitting there, vegetating like a spiritual couch-potato. I wrote out two cards and sent them to two separate people. One was a birthday card. A happy occasion! The other was a sympathy card—a friend’s mother recently died after some years in a nursing home. A sad occasion.

Yes, I spent most of the day sitting in my office, doing necessary work. But, I can still be kind. Still be of service and help to someone else. And, I do pray for each family who will be receiving a card. God be with them and bless them as God knows they need a touch from above. Thank You, God!

@chaplaineliza

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Being Kind, Playing Soccer at the Dump! (Feature Friday!)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, June 6, 2014

soccer - work in progress @heartofathlete

soccer – work in progress
@heartofathlete

Being Kind, Playing Soccer at the Dump! (Feature Friday!)

I’m a mom. Even though my children are grown (or, in the case of my youngest, almost grown at seventeen), I still feel very much a mom. When I hear about an outreach that reaches to children and youth, I take special interest.

My friends and former missionaries Alison and Ivan introduced me to Rich and Elisa Brown, founders of IncaLink. I wrote about their outreach last Friday. IncaLink now has ministries in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. I talked with Rich last weekend (through the miracles of modern technology—through Skype!).

While we talked, I asked Rich about how IncaLink got started. He was eager to tell me! Both he and his wife were missionary kids (MKs), growing up in South America. Early in their marriage, they both knew they were called to work as missionaries. They also knew they did not want to work with youth (Little did they know what was ahead!)

They started work for a church in Raleigh, North Carolina. The church wanted them—as youth pastors. They served four years there, also helping in short term mission outreach and trips. They transitioned to full-time missionaries, going to Lima, Peru. The work that was waiting for them there was—you guessed it—as youth pastors. After they transitioned to other youth ministries in Peru, Rich went to a large youth conference. He was moved by God to consider the garbage dump as a place of service. When he returned to his ministry in Trujillo, Peru, he thought about a possible new ministry at the dump, for a week. For a month. And then forgot about it.

Two years went by. Their denomination was preparing to close operations in Peru and move Rich and Elisa in a few months. All of a sudden, Rich remembered the garbage dump. Through a series of circumstances, Rich brought a number of Peruvian youth workers to the dump to give out pizza. This moved the youth workers intensely. Some days later, Rich made plans for a second trip to the dump, and 50 people showed up to go—some of them were atheists. They wanted to see what these Christians were doing at the dump! As Rich said, “The youth workers were poor, but they were so moved they were crying at the poverty in the dump!”

God was indeed moving in the hearts of the indigenous youth workers. Rich had a time limit imposed by the closing of his position, but this didn’t stop the other workers! They felt led to do youth ministry with youth at the dump. Initially, they started playing soccer with the youth, which led to starting other kinds of ministries. Soon they developed in depth relationships, coming alongside of the youth of the dump as they combed through the garbage, as well as teaching the youth useful skills.

This ministry started over six years ago, and Rich and Elisa left Peru shortly afterwards. But the ministry to the youth, children, women and men of the garbage dump continues. The indigenous workers have planned some long-term projects at the dump in the last few years, and successfully carried them out with the help and prayers of supporters of IncaLink, as well as many others throughout the world.

Thank God for the workers who listened to the leading to go to the dump. And be kind. Be of service.

@chaplaineliza

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Kindness on a Sunday? Of Course!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, May 4, 2014

Great is Your faithfulness Lam 3-23

Kindness on a Sunday? Of Course!

Happy Sunday! This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Sure, today was Sunday. One of my busiest days of the week, given my new position. Since I am working with a co-pastor, I did not have to preach this morning. However, I still had the responsibilities for the music and prayers at church. And, since this was the first Sunday of the month, my co-pastor and I served communion.

Wonderful service this morning! My co-pastor and I are a great team—we support each other and one picks up right where the other leaves off.

One extra special feature of today’s service: we had two visitors. Relatives of a couple in our church. There had been an extra special birthday celebration yesterday at our church. A precious, older relative had a birthday. According to the report, there were seventy people at the big party. She’s in her nineties, and she and her daughter were guests at our church this morning. Such a special occasion. Such a lovely, sweet lady.

As I know I’ve mentioned, I’ve talked in this blog before about an older friend of mine who works for a large senior citizen facility here in this suburb. She told me a few years ago, “You ought to have ‘Good with seniors’ printed on your forehead. Because, you are!” I must admit, yes, I am. It’s true. I am drawn to seniors, coming alongside of them. Talking with them, and even more important, listening to them. Really listening, and responding to them from my heart.

So after the service ended this morning, I took the opportunity to go to the two visitors. First, I talked with the daughter. I thanked her for coming to the service, and especially for bringing her mother. Then, I had the precious chance to talk with this dear senior. I got down on her level, and talked with her in her wheelchair. She was so open, and so grateful for the birthday celebration. She told me about her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren—and even great-great-grandchildren. So many of them had attended the party the day before.

I couldn’t help but ask her if I could give her a hug. She said “of course!” Her eyes started to tear up. So did mine. We hugged, I smiled at her again, and she even asked me for another hug. I had the sudden feeling that I could please God (not to mention this sweet lady), and so I prayed with her briefly. She was so happy at that! She sincerely blessed me. I appreciate her blessing so much.

God, bless this dear senior, and bless her whole family. Draw the many family members together in love, support, and mutual encouragement. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

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