Monday, February 1, 2010


“I’d like to volunteer at the Mission,” said Alexandra about a week after we came home from our Dallas mission trip.

Since working with homeless and inner city kids in Dallas during our Global Expeditions trip, both my daughters came home changed. They returned on fire from meeting other godly teens and young adults, people passionate to serve the Lord. And they were blessed by working with a church that not only reaches out to drug dealers, addicts, prostitutes, gang members, and prisoners, but also fills its church pews with ex-dealers, ex-addicts, former prostitutes and gang members, and ex-cons. What a place!

After getting a taste of what it’s like to serve in Dallas, Alexandra wanted to serve here at home. It was her initiative to volunteer at The Mission, a soup kitchen, but I made the call (she's still a bit timid) – and left my name and number on an answering machine. Twice. But my calls were not returned.

As I was putting away groceries around 5 o’clock Saturday evening, the phone rang. It was Candy from The Mission apologizing for not getting back to me. Could I serve there tonight? She’d had a cancellation and although she knew we hadn’t volunteered there before, could I fill in...? I told her that four of us would be glad to serve – my two daughters and I, and a special girl from our church youth group, the only girl from the youth group who had gone on the Mexico mission trip with us last spring. (Three guys had gone, but only one girl.) Helen and I had been corresponding via email since that time. Ours is a special relationship. She’s really my daughters’ friend; I consider myself her mentor and have a warm place in my heart for her.

“Now I know why our neighbors couldn’t come to dinner tonight,” observed Alexandra as we rushed to get ready to go to The Mission. We had tried to invite a widow neighbor to dinner tonight, but she turned us down, stating health reasons. So we invited a divorcee for dinner because, after all, we were baking a whole chicken. But she’s a nurse and had to work 3 to 11 PM. Had either of them come, we wouldn’t have been available to go to The Mission.

How can setting out 78 salads, setting tables, dishing out food, and carrying it out to the long tables of homeless men be an exciting way to spend the evening? Because it’s work done for the Lord. Captain, the chef at the soup kitchen, was an interesting guy with a sense of humor. As I suspected when I met him, he’s been on the streets himself. We heard his testimony as he showed us the room upstairs that houses 40 men in 20 bunk beds. He’d been one of those men until about six years ago. Oh, he’d had a 26-year career at General Motors, then worked as a painter and roofer, but drugs and alcohol ate up his pay and ruined his life. It was through the sermons given right there at The Mission night after night that eventually touched his heart. He had a powerful experience of coming to the Lord in the middle of the night right there at The Mission, where he now serves with all his heart.

I felt blessed to serve at The Mission, and delighted to share that experience with Helen and my daughters. I hope to have many more such evenings there and to introduce other girls from the youth group to the joys of serving.

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. - James 2:26

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What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)