Posts Tagged ‘trust’

By Steve Blanchard.

A morning without coffeeMark (not his real name) was on his way to get a much-needed cup of morning coffee at a local convenience store. He had a long day ahead of him and a to-do list whose length rivaled that of War and Peace. As he got out of his car, he noticed a woman squatted beside the ice machine. He thought she was homeless and though he was sympathetic, he just did not have time to talk.

But as he opened the door for another customer, something told him not to ignore her. She was cold, she was crying, and the voice inside his head screamed at him not to walk away. “I’ll just stop for a moment,” he thought, “buy her a cup of coffee, maybe a Danish, and move on.” That would make her – and him – feel better. As he knelt down beside her, he asked, “Are you okay?” “No”, responded the woman, in a half-harsh, half-sad, tone, “just leave me alone.”

That was his out. He tried to be a Good Samaritan but she rejected his humble effort, so time to get that coffee. Then he thought he’d give it one more try. “Are you sure? You look like you need some help. Can I get you a cup of coffee or something?” Again, the woman said, “NO! What I really need is to be left alone. Things are just too bad. I don’t want to even live anymore so just, please, leave me alone and let me die.”

Mark didn’t know what to do. He could walk away and pray for her, which sounded like a good idea. He could call someone, the police maybe. But something deep inside him made him press forward. He knew that God didn’t want him to go, didn’t want him to hand this lady off to anyone else. She had appeared in his path for a reason and now his faith mandated he stay.

He was nervous, he was scared, he did not know what to do. People were watching, him and the crying, woman, both on the dirty sidewalk next to the ice machine. What would they think? Then it dawned on him, the only thing that mattered at that moment was in front of him. He prayed, he talked, he listened and then started all over again. In the end, he took her to his church. He left her alone to sit with God when he felt it safe to do so. He prayed some more. Hours later, the crisis passed.

Mark realized that every day God places in our path people who need us to see, to feel and to act, according to His will. Extending compassion to others is not something we really have a choice about if we are being faithful in our walk with Jesus. It is a necessity; it is a call we cannot, or at least should not, avoid. Despite our fears, our schedules, our ignorance, our prejudices, or any other barrier we construct, God calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Sometimes that love only becomes complete by our putting it into action.

But don’t worry, God has already been there, He is there, and He will be there when your part is over. All we have to do is trust and obey.

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Story and photos by Ann Carter.

Until the Tears Roll

Youths volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity worksite outside of Charlotte, NC.

When you ask people to define what heaven on earth would be like for them, I doubt that many would include spending a week with middle schoolers. But I beg to differ. I just spent a week with 27 middle schoolers, and it was indeed heavenly. Don’t believe me? Well, read on.

This was Youth 1’s 7th year participating in Passport Camp at Wingate University outside of Charlotte, NC. During the week I watched kids and adult leaders experience heaven in many ways.

They honed their talents and then used them to lead 300 students in worship.

They prayed for each other.

They worked side by side at three Habitat for Humanity worksites, never once having to be asked to focus, get back to work, or stop slacking in the shade.

They learned to trust and communicate with each other through games and then helped the rest of the camp to trust each other by teaching and leading those games.

They were motivated to be careful in how they use the earth’s resources and were excited about doing that.

Until the Tears Roll

This was Youth 1’s 7th year participating in Passport Camp at Wingate University outside of Charlotte, NC.

Girls and guys, 6th graders and 7th graders, new kids and kids who were friends since birth, working, playing, learning, and travelling together in unity – not perfect unity, but in loving acceptance of each other.

They took their talents to a weekday program in a housing project, performing skits, teaching games and engaging kids who have little hope in their lives.

They explored how they are uniquely created and gifted by God and were challenged to use those gifts to serve God.

They dealt with another youth group with love and grace even while being treated unfairly and unkindly – and ended up being friends with them by the end of the week.

They worshiped side by side every night.

The adult leaders (who gave up a week of their vacation to participate) encouraged and directed the kids like loving parents.

Until the Tears Roll

Youth 1 teens having a good time!

A youth intern who attended Passport Camp as a 7th grader chaperoned and led like a seasoned youth minister.

They competed against each other in recreation, danced together at a party, enjoyed being together in the beauty of God’s creation, played volleyball together against high school teams, and supported each other in the talent show.

And they laughed. They laughed a lot. Perhaps nothing is closer to heaven than laughing until tears roll down your cheeks!

Ann CarterAnn Whitfield Carter is sometimes known as the crazy person who loves middle schoolers. In 2002, she became the temporary Youth Associate for Middle School. Nine years later, she hopes it is permanent! Ann joined First Baptist in 1992 and met her husband, David, in the church choir. They have been singing together ever since. Their three children, Ellie (15), Claire (12) and Mary Wise (6), are active in First Baptist’s children and youth ministries. When Ann is not working, she is managing her kid’s busy lives, singing with the Richmond Symphony Chorus, or drinking coffee to fuel her for whatever is next on her calendar.

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