Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"So, I'm your missions project..."

WARNING: This post may offend boy scouts, church missions directors, charity project coordinators and many others. Please consider, I am the director of a charity and my responsibility is to discover ministry opportunities to assist the needy. This blog is a trust. It is a journey piece. It speaks deeply to me and hopefully to you.

I have a friend named Don. He is teaching me a lot about our efforts. Last week, he made a comment to me that alarmed me. It made my face flush with emotion. I didn't know exactly what the emotion was. Was it embarrassment or shame or maybe fear that what I had been doing was all wrong. I still don't know. Here's the comment:

"Sometimes I think I am just a merit badge for a boy scout or a star on a missions page in someone's do-gooder book."

Don's about 50. He had a great partial career as a corrections officer and a parole officer. The prison system he was working for decided to contract out their labor so the state workers were laid off. Don wasn't rehired. Middle management costs too much. He started truck driving and got injured and couldn't return to the truck. And the injury kept him out of a job. Don now has a part-time job which pays the bills, almost. He doesn't have medical insurance and still has many medical needs. Last year Don made $7500. He hopes he makes that much this year.

"I don't want to be a charity case. But I do need help... and I do live at Hickory."

Hickory Terrace is a government subsidized apartment complex. The government subsidizes rent based on income (sliding scale). So by its nature, it houses the working poor and the non-working poor (disabled, etc.) I'm glad part of my taxes help pay Don's rent. He needs it. But the "...and I live at Hickory" remark means what you can guess... "I'm one of them. I live in one of the neighborhoods that is on your 'local missions' list, your 'Jerusalem' list, your scout book.... yep, when you're supposed to help someone, that someone is me."

"But remember, I need the help and I am thankful when I get it."

Don was raised by his grandparents. They died about 15 years ago. That was his family. Period. We met Don when we "adopted" Hickory Terrace as a mission opportunity. He watched from a distance at first and was very thankful for the effort people were making to help folks. Then he began to help us in the apartments. If he knew of someone in need he would tell us to see if we could help.

Then one day, Don needed help. His apartment manager called to tell us he was in ICU. When we arrived at the hospital he was stabalized and when we walked in he looked up with great surprise. "My grandparents died long time ago and I've been in the hospital plenty times and no one has ever bothered to check on me...It sure feels good to be visited." Don gave his heart to Jesus that day.

"The kindness of God leads to heart change (repentance)."

I don't know what it was for Don or for that matter what it is for any other people who "live at Hickory", but Don had already been the recipient of a lot of mission's projects, outreaches, evangelism visits, etc. Many folks had a check mark on their missions card with Don's apartment number filled in.

But Don is not a check mark or a merit badge.

He's my friend.


7 - read/write comments:

Bobby Roach said...

Crying right now. Luv ya Don and don't even know ya!!!!!

Bubba McQueen said...

God bless you Don.
Bobby, I thank God every day for your journey to Crosswind. We better buckle up...the ride is gonna be a wild one!

Bobby Roach said...

Couldnt agree more Bubba. Thanks Bobby for being an available, willing vessel. Love ya buddy!!!!!

Anonymous said...

ive met don and he is a joy to know and more of a blessing to me and tommy than he could ever know.

mlg :) said...


You shouldn't feel embarassment, guilt, or fear ... what you and Crosswind are doing is exactly what God has called us all to do ... sharing His love as He presents us the opportunity ... and from the sound of things Don has unknowingly been a willing vessel for God too. Praise God for Don's newfound salvation!

I have a quote from Mother Teresa posted in my office that reads: "Non-Christians and Christians both do social work, but non-Christians do it for something while we do it for Someone." I believe that scouts, missions, and charities all do a lot of good, and it is in the heart of the doer whether or not that good is for the Kingdom of God. God's Word tells us that if we do a good deed to receive earthly praise, we have negated the glory we could have received in heaven. That makes me think long and hard sometimes about just why I'm doing something ... so for me it seems best if I keep my sights focused on glorifying God ... I pray that he will help me wash dishes with the right attitude!

Keep up the good work!!!
mlg :)

Anonymous said...

Many people have little sympathy for the poor or needy in their community because they assume they are lazy and irresponsible. They play the system in getting their needs meet. Yes there is a few who don't want to better themselves and do play a game every month to pay their bills. But it is wrong to say that all poor people deserve their plight.The whole thing is changing peoples attitude from contempt to compassion(Proverbs 19:17;28:27) I praise God daily for Bobby Capps and all the great folks at Crosswind for what they do in our community.

Anonymous said...

Without going into to much... I feel the same way when it comes to missions. I have done plenty of "mission trips" I have participated in plenty of "Out reaches", why are we so fixed on what it's going to do for us. Or wait, for what "God calls us to do". Not saying this applies to all, but many peoples hearts are wrong when it comes to reaching out of our comfort zone, Myself included. Even if we start out with good intentions. Oh this will look great for my religious status, my Pasteur will think I'm really on track, my friends will want to hang with me, I really got my stuff together. ( I have arrived ) Well I don't want the check , the merit badge, the star, or anything else that go's along with the church plan. I want relationships with people who need a friend, who need help, who God has put in my life. God didn't have a daily plan. He had a goal, but he took it one day at a time, one conversation at a time as people walked into his life and his Father led him. I didn't ask or look for a homeless person to help today, but God put him in my life so i asked him to guide me and I've made a new friend. - Just my thoughts as i sit here on break... Is there a way i can help Don?

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