Happy 2016! You may be a little bit like me - I am already done with all the New Year posts and smart sayings and pithy quotes on making this year count. It's not that I don't want to make it count,but I know myself. I have made resolutions in the past and then when they get lost on my desk at work or get covered up on my bulletin board or I just figure things aren't dire - and the world won't end if I don't follow through on those little promises.I did decide on one thing this year though and think it might just have a pwoerful impact on lots of things - to be real in my ministry. I coordinate summer mission trips for high school youth - Young Neighbors in Action - and that's probably how you found this blog. I have been bringing, leading or coordinating mission trips since 1997. I haven't had time to have a garden, a summer vacation,workon a tan or learn to sail on the lake. I have often wondered, even, why I haven't decided it was time to do something else - or have gotten tired of it or discouraged at not making a big enough difference. I guess when it is your passion - the thing you were born to do - it can't leave you. For that I am grateful. But for being real in this area - service - what do I expect it to look like?
When I was about 8, I remember getting up early one morning - really early and offered to help my mom get breakfast ready before all 8 of us went off to school. She handed me dishes and silverware having me set the table. She was making something good - I could smell the eggs and bacon and see some oranges ready to go on a platter. There was a knock at our back door and I looked at my mom wondering who would be here so early? She handed me a grocery bag and said to answer the door. The bag was heavy. I could see a loaf of bread, jars of peanut butter and jelly, milk and cereal. I held the bag - barely -as I opened the door. I was surprised to see a little neighbor boy, Tony, dressed in his school uniform pants, barefoot and hardly awake. I wasn't sure he could even lift the bag, but I put it into his hands and he walked off. He lived next door to us. I went back into the kitchen and finished helping my mom and I could hear my brothers and sisters upstairs getting ready for school - ready for the breakfast wafting up the staircase. I wanted to know why she gave that bag of food to Tony and how often. Before I could ask, she said, "Jane, their mom is sick, their dad isn't there to help with things and the children are hungry. We have to help when we can. We have to help when we see a need." That was it.