Tuesday, June 05, 2007

on my way out

Tomorrow, The Husband and I fly to New Orleans. We're going with a church group to do what is loosely describable as "hurrican relief." We have no idea what we will be doing specifically, because we'll be at the disposal of the local church we're partnering with, but there will most likely be some yard and construction work. The church has built a distribution center where food and other resources are handed out to people who need them. We'll most likely be manning that distribution center.
I'm totally down with that. Doing stuff with my hands I'm absolutely comfortable with.
There has, however, been a lot of talk of encouraging people, of praying with/for people, and of sharing the gospel with people. There are so many "what if"s and "but I"s that come to mind here that I won't be able to name them all.
Many of my friends and acquaintances would probably describe me as social and outgoing. That is the case because I am faking them out. My being outgoing is not a character trait, it is a decision I make every time I meet someone or come in contact with someone. If I let myself, I'd just stand in the corner and make no eye contact (sad but true). I feel awkward a lot and I get socialed out quickly. I like and need my alone time. But because I live in the world and I actually like to be with people once I've gotten to know them better, I force myself to be outgoing.
Couple that with the fact that I am extremely reluctant to offend someone with my faith, and then please excuse me while I go breathe into a paper bag.
I think I've perhaps been a little damaged. Damaged by the notion that "evangelism" is a crazy guy with a long beard, staning on a box on a street corner, holding up signs and scaring kids with his vivid descriptions of damnation and hellfire. Damaged by the idea that most people I could randomly approach on the street, at the park, or in a mall probably won't be interested in hearing that Jesus saves.
Over the last few days, I had to quickly recycle my ideas. The truth is that God doesn't want me to shove the Bible down people's throats. Evangelism, when done correctly, involves the Holy Spirit leading me. I have to trust God that when the time comes, I will know who to talk to and what to say. And I also have to trust that when I follow God's lead on this, what I will say to a person will be the right thing, the thing they need to hear.
Am I still freaked out? Somewhat. It comes and goes. Stronger than the nervousness is the knowledge that this is an adventure. An adventure with God, and I'm excited about that.

4 comments:

tweetey29 said...

Hope you have fun and will hear from you when you get back. Take care and its great you are doing what those people need out there.

tshsmom said...

Good for you guys!! I wish we could afford to do that.
To me, just being there, working with a Christian group is sending a message. You're LIVING your Christianity by good example.
You're showing the world that Christians care about others because God cares about ALL his children!

gracie said...

I think the work you are going there to do is evangelism enough. Even Jesus fed people physical food before he started sharing his wild ideas with them. Sometimes... people just need food and shelter. You may find that they have more faith to share with you than you have to share with them, since when people get desperate they tend to look up.

Just a thought to keep in mind when you feel the social pressure to say "Jesus" out loud and often.

Lady Iphigenia said...

Sharing your faith, evangelism, is not something one can do, rather it is God that acts through us with the action of the Holy Spirit.

We, as Christians, often have this stereotype that in order to testify we need to do something like going in the streets and give pamphlets, but is it really what it's all about? Our life is a testimony of our faith, much stronger than the artificial "Jesus loves you" (but I don't care) that nobody wants to hear.

I think your trip is a bold enough example of what your faith in God leads you to do. :-)