I had the opportunity of volunteering with Convoy of Hope on Saturday - praise God! I wanted to share a snippet of my experience and some of my jumbled thoughts.
It was encouraging to see churches - the body of Christ - join together for this community outreach. There were lots of physical needs being met - i.e. food services, shoes and backpacks departments, community service programs, haircuttery, kids zones (games, face paint, movies, moon bounce, etc.), etc.
Much prayer, planning, and worshiping had come into this weeks in advance. Supplies were gathered and distributed as well over the past several months. All culminated to this single day.
I prayed to God a simple prayer: “I don’t have much, I’m a small boy, with 5 loaves and 2 fish. But God, would You use me and multiply my small offering.”
I was in the Connections/Prayer Tent. To me, that was the most meaningful experience to engage in intentional and thoughtful communication with the people directly. I met with 40 people in groups of 3 people on average each time, asking them about their day, how they’re doing, where they’re from, their feedback on Convoy of Hope and the setup and their experience, etc. I got their contact info and got to share a bit about myself. I met with people, talked with them, got to know them, shared the Gospel with them. Then I asked if they go to church, believe in God, would like to know about Christ, etc. At the conclusion, I asked if I could pray for them and if there’s anything specific I can pray for them, after which I would hold hands with them and pray. Then I led them to the groceries area, thanked them and asked God to bless them, and filled out a comments form.
What struck me was the variety of soils in which I got to sow… Some attend church, others have stopped for awhile, still others don’t believe in God, some were Hindus, and many were Muslims. The vast majority of the people I interacted with were so cold, closed, apathetic, indifferent, uninterested. Sadly, many of those who called themselves “Christians”…I couldn’t see Christ in them or feel the Holy Spirit in them. It was honestly very discouraging.
A Muslim lady from Afghanistan got upset with me and asked me if I was converting her. I gently told her God loves her and wants her to know who He is - and she can only know God through Jesus Christ. I shared with her my personal experiences with God, His power and love, and I shared the assurance of salvation Christians have. She was very offended and walked away. I sincerely expressed the love of Christ to her - I know this because the love I had was not my own.
After all the people I interacted with that day, I felt constantly rejected. I had a challenging time. But God showed me His broken heart for people and that He desires that none should perish. God reminded me of 1 Samuel 8:7 (Samuel was upset that the Israelites wouldn’t listen to him and wanted Saul to be king) and Luke 10:16 in which Jesus says don’t be sad they’re not listening to you - they’re not rejecting you; they are rejecting Me. I was reminded that I am merely the messenger, and my part is to deliver God’s message faithfully and to the best of my ability. And in good and clear conscience, I submit to God that I did.
It was great seeing two of my ESL students there! I was so happy to see them. One is Muslim from Iran, and the other is Hindu from Nepal. Please keep them and their families in your prayers.
God surprised me and blessed me with one unlikely person: a Muslim Palestinian lady. She was so open and gracious! A breath of fresh air after all these folk with hardened hearts. I was reminded that Jesus had such a hard time with Pharisees and experts of the law. Indeed, Jesus came not for the healthy but for the sick. This woman was so hungry… I was full of joy. My heart was full. Please pray for her and her family.
Undoubtedly, I am praying for each and every one of the individuals I met and got to share with and pray for. I am so thankful for the Palestinian lady whom God brought to me and reminded me that there are all kinds of soils, and that is all up to God to make the seeds grow. I am trusting God that He will use what I’ve said according to His purpose and continue to call to each one of these individuals. Please join me in praying as well - please pray for those who came to Convoy of Hope: that they would find hope in Christ! And please pray for me that I will take every opportunity to share the Gospel with gentleness, respect, and Christ’s love.
3,028 guests came to Convoy of Hope, 804 people volunteered, 25+ churches participated, and over 35 people accepted Christ! Praise the Lord, oh my soul.
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 4:3-7
We are unqualified but God makes us qualified because of Christ in us, and He equips us.
Indeed, I am only a messenger - but with a profound message: the message of the cross. I have a direct relationship with God - and I want to share that with others!
We know our labor is not in vain (Psalm 127:1) - but even if it was, it would be worth it: because we would still be taught by God and grow in intimacy with Him! And what could be sweeter and of more value than that?
Am I really “only” a messenger?
The message I bear is the power of God! (Romans 1:16)
And though I am nothing, God is everything.
God holds me in high esteem! Yes, I am a servant only doing my duty, but I am God’s servant - a servant of the Most High! (Isaiah 6:1-8)
Not only that though, I am a cherished precious son to God whom He delights in and takes joy in!
I serve the Lord, not man. It is the Lord Christ I am serving (Colossians 3:23-24). So it is with immeasurable joy I do these things - because it’s for our Great God, not mere man!
And it is not under duty or compulsion, but in love - so I can go over and beyond, and take joy in even the little things. (1 Peter 5:2)
Christ has redeemed us. He has touched my lips so that I can speak. Not by might nor by power, but by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). Like Moses and Paul, I am not eloquent or an amazing speaker. But the message God has given me and inspired within me, I cannot hold back. And He does not send me and leave me hanging; instead He goes with me! (Luke 12:11-12 and Luke 21:12-15) And the Word of the Lord never returns empty! (Isaiah 55:11)
Who wants to waste his/her life away and throw his/her education away? I do. In the eyes of the world. It is foolishness in the eyes of the world.
But in reality I’m handing it all over to Him. Not to further my own kingdom but to further His kingdom on this earth. He purchased me with His own blood. He’s the Lord of the harvest and He brings the greatest return on investment.