Meaningful and sustainable outreaches
The second half of FHL Week was full of surprises and purposeful activities!
My day started with feeding my neighbor’s cats and the fish (I guess this is my personal FHL outreach project). As I went inside their house, I felt honored that my neighbors would entrust me their security code and their entire house.
Afterwards, I visited the food drive at the College Avenue Library. I saw some donated items in the box by the entrance and I had an encouraging conversation with the branch manager. I also had the privilege to visit Paw’s Pantry, a food pantry inside IUPUI and delivered a winning check to them for their FHL Week Challenge entry – Paw’s Plush which is to increase awareness of other available resources within the campus. My day ended with a mid-week worship led by IHOPE and hosted by Midtown Vineyard. It was a perfect timing to slow down a little and to reflect what God has been doing in the past few days. All the attendees were refreshed and many of us received encouraging words and prayers from one another.
The traffic was a little heavy this morning. While waiting on the traffic, I saw a person at a street corner asking for money. I spoke with him briefly and gave him a 6-pack of bottled drink (I guess this is another of my personal FHL outreach project). It has been my habit to bring cold drinks with me to be prepared for opportunities like this one.
My first stop was at Hawthorne Place Apartment where one of our pantries are located at. They were going to do a Ribbon Cutting that morning to celebrate their new donated space to operate their pantry. They were one of the winners of the Challenge. I was very encourage to see that the FHL Challenge has been growing and multiplying. Meanwhile, the Mountain Bike children’s outreach was progressing very well. Many children were getting comfortable with the trail and the obstacle course.
After lunch, many children congregated at the lower level of FHL offices to receive instructions for the “Finding the Beauty” project. The children were to take Polaroid pictures of nature around them. It was a blessing to witness their expression as they take pictures of trees, flowers, grass, human beings, etc. The pictures that were taken were absolutely beautiful; some were stunning! While this outreach was happening, I had the opportunity to visit the renovation of the FHL Training Pantry. The volunteers were in the process of reinforcing the shelves and painting the walls.
Late in the afternoon, I visited the “reversed” soup kitchen. A few weeks ago, I challenged the soup kitchen clients to consider cooking and serving the volunteers instead. That night, I saw the vision become a reality – the clients were very happy that they were given the opportunity to serve those who have been serving them week after week. Some of them were already thinking of serving the volunteers of another soup kitchen.
My last stop was at the Four Neighborhood Peace Walk. I was so encouraged to see the collaboration of MKNA, BTNA, CHNA and UNWA neighborhoods. I had the privilege to walk with them and to see the neighborhoods up close and personal.
The FHL Training Pantry renovation, Summer Feeding Program, food drive and many more outreaches continue. Through my previous relationship with a Pastor, a group of volunteers from Kansas City helped Barnes UMC clean their kitchen. Later in the day, we had 20 volunteers who helped a local day care clean the inside and the outside of their facility. This group was the same group who delivered groceries from a single person who is in need earlier that day.
The last outreach that I visited was the neighborhood Cook out at Lily of the Valleys church (Lirio de los valles). This outreach was one the FHL Challenge winners. The neighborhood was very open to connect with the church and were very thankful for the outreach. On my way home, I saw a person on a street corner asking for money. I gave him some cold drinks (I guess this is my personal FHL outreach project) and directed him to go to the church for a free dinner. He was thankful for the drinks and for the info about the cook out. On my way back home, I saw a large, vivid and complete rainbow. It reminded me that God’s promises are answered by “Yes” and “Amen” – 2 Cor. 1:20, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”
When you’re having fun, days just fly by. First thing in the morning I met with the youth group from Bloomington, In. at the FHL warehouse. They cleaned and helped organized the warehouse. Yes, our warehouse needs good cleaning and organizing on a regular basis. After lunch, we all proceeded to the FHL office to clean the surrounding of the building and to install a concrete bench located by the FHL garden. The FHL Training Pantry remodel was completed and the youth helped in cleaning and organizing the pantry.
Before the end of the day, I was able to visit the VBS project in an apartment complex. More than 70 children received backpacks full of school supplies and 18 souls (15 children and 3 parents) received Jesus as their Lord and Savior! What a way to end the FHL Week!
Outflow of our Lifestyle
The 12th Annual FHL Week have reminded us once again that missions are not events, they are outflow of our lifestyle. This is “WHY” we do the FHL Week once a year – to remind us that although projects and services are accomplished during the week, the main object is to pave the way to create missional communities expressed in many different ways. It could be as simple as feeding your neighbor’s cats and fish and carrying cold bottled drink with you everyday with the intention of giving it away to those in need.
I heard that many of the outreaches will continue after this week such as food drives, neighborhood cook out, mountain bike outreach and praying for people at food pantries. This is one of the reasons that we come together for a week of service, to raise the awareness that mission field is the space between your feet.
Missional lifestyle look to others first such as the “reversed” soup kitchen where the soup kitchen clients cooked and served the volunteers to honor and to show appreciation. Missional lifestyle does not need to big or heavily planned. It could be as common as food drive to help a local food pantry. Jesus is our model. He gave and loved unconditionally. He reached out to others with food and He reminded us to give cold water to the thirsty. He stops or postpone His appointment to reach out to a demoniac. He modeled a life that is dependent on God. Mission is part of His life.
FHL Week 2016 was an outflow of our missional lifestyle, to follow God’s Greatest Commandment – “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” – Matthew 22:36-39
FHL on site training of Feed My Sheep Food Pantry.
God bless you!