Bishop Ward shares a story from an Appalachia Service Project worker in this Connections video. What mission project is your church engaged in this summer?
I hear wonderful stories of mission as I travel around the annual conference this summer. Appalachia Service Project. Mountaintop. Red Bird Mission. Workteams to Mexico and to the Caribbean and the Latin America and to Africa. Great mission adventure.
A volunteer told me this story recently: he was a part of an Appalachia Service Project team and had been on many teams in the past, so many in fact, that he wondered if he really should go on a team this year. Somehow, he was not as “up-for-it” as he had been in the past. And yet, when he arrived and began to work to work with the family on their home, with others from his church, he became more energized for the work. But he was bothered by a growing pile of garbage behind the house and the lingering question in the back of his mind was “why does this family not get rid of this garbage? Why do they not bring it out to the road where it can be picked up?” And he became rather irritated at the thought. There they were working on this home to help this family and the family was not engaged in helping themselves by cleaning the garbage pile out from behind the house. Near the end of the week, one of the family members commented that it costs the family $1.50 per bag for their garbage to be taken away and they couldn’t afford to bring it around to the road and to have it taken away. “Suddenly,” he said, “I understood that I didn’t have a clue what it was like to live in this hollow, in this mountain place in Appalachia.”
“It was a turning point for me,” he said, “as I realized how much I have to learn and how rich mission-engagement is in my life.”
Wherever you find yourself engaged in mission this summer, may you be open to God’s latest gift. May you know the true Wesleyan secret that as we give, we receive. Direct face-to-face mission among the poor as a means of grace – it has always been and it will always be. Jesus said as we lose ourselves in mission, we find ourselves. As we give, we receive. May it be true for you this day, wherever you find yourself.