One of our core beliefs at St. Matthews is that everyone is meant to serve. One of the ways we do that is through our mission trips. Last week 32 incredible men, women and youth went to Rosebud, Texas to build a 60 by 60-foot Staff Lodge for Camp Wilderness Ridge, a Christian youth camp that had been destroyed by wild fires two years ago.
This was our eighth trip to the Gulf Coast. Eleven years ago, we built our first home for a Methodist family who had lost their trailer home and everything else they owned because of hurricane Rita. The home we built for them was the first real home that this senior couple had ever owned.
Compared to this year’s project, that first home in Hackberry, La. was a snap. The edifice that was built this time was the most difficult and complex with a rafter construction that couldn’t have been any more complicated. Because of bearing walls, the interior was also challenging. But the thing that amazed me was the way the team approached the project with a can-do attitude. I think it safe to say that no one on the team had ever constructed anything as challenging. Yet the team worked diligently to make sure it was built perfectly.
The other thing that amazed me about the team – once again – was the way that it came together in unity. More than 50% of the team was new and had never been on one of our mission trips previously. Because of participation from The Rock as well as St. Matthews, many people didn’t know each other. But something happens when people come together in the name of Christ to serve others, there is what I call an “instant connect,” a bond and unity that is found only in our Lord. The youngest team member was Matthew Fairhurst who was 12 years old and never stopped working – he was incredible. The oldest, Clay Shaw, will soon turn 76 and matched step for step team members who were much younger.
Our thanks to leader Rick McCully and all who participated. Because of their sacrifice – each team member pays all their own expenses including transportation and meals – they built a legacy that will help young people come to have a life-changing experience with our Lord for decades to come.
Even as we close the book on another Gulf Coast Mission Trip, the Honduras team is getting ready to return to Little Lambs Orphanage that we adopted to continue reaching out with the love of Christ to young children who are living in poverty and devastation. I can still remember pictures of the Honduras team presenting shoes to the youngsters after washing their feet. It is what Christ calls us to do.
Did you also know that a portion of our offering each week goes to support a number of missional work both here in the United States and globally through The United Methodist Church?
As important as these mission trips are, we need to remember that we don’t have to go to Texas or Honduras to serve others. We can do it right here in our local communities when we help those that are in need. The words of Jesus ring in my ears, “because you have done it for the least of these my brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it unto me.”
We are called to serve others in the name of Jesus. As someone once shared with me, it is not a suggestion, it is a command. Or as we studied in James a few weeks ago, what good does it do to say that you are a Christian and see your brother or sister in need and don’t do anything about it? Just saying!
ST. MATTS' Easter Egg Hunt
The annual St. Matthews Easter Egg Hunt will be Saturday, April 8th from 8 am to noon. We are in need of many volunteers to help make this another great community effort. If you can help, please contact our administrative assistant Kristen Gondolfo . We are also in need of candy donations to fill all the eggs. There will be a basket near the help desk starting this coming Sunday so donations can be dropped off. If you want to join the team and help, there is a meeting on Wednesday, March 16th at 6:30 at St. Matts. Please join us.
See you Sunday at St. Matthews as we continue our study in the book of James, this week talking about what’s really important. Just a hint – it’s not about me … or you!
Have a great week!