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Posts Tagged ‘Service’

The Year of Jubilee

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Forever Changed International - Guatemala Orphans

Part seven of our new Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

Founder Heather RaduBy Heather Radu-

If I asked you to tell me what a “jubilee” is, what would you say? A party? Or maybe a dessert that usually involves cherries? It’s not a word we use often these days, but it is actually a beautiful example of how God cares for those who are in need.

In Leviticus 25, God told Moses to establish a “year of jubilee” in Israel, which was supposed to occur every 50 years. A major part of the year of jubilee was the forgiveness of debts. In Israel, just like today, there were people who fell on hard times. Maybe this was through their own mistakes, maybe it was through circumstances they could not control. God did not tell Moses to treat either case differently.

Any one of God’s people who had gotten into debt was set free, and everyone who had to sell their ancestral home to pay debts got their land back. That meant that if your father had to sell your home to pay debts, after 50 years it would be returned to you. Can you imagine the celebration that would come along with that?

You might be thinking, “This isn’t ancient Israel, so what does this have to do with us?” We don’t have “ancestral lands” anymore, do we?

But before we flip our Bibles out of Leviticus, we need to ask what this teaches us about who God is, and what we need to do in response.

God’s mercy is put on display through the year of jubilee. God is so incredibly forgiving to us, and He not only demonstrates this through the year of jubilee, He also gives us a chance to take part. We live in a world where things have gone terribly wrong. The first design was perfect, but it is broken. In His mercy, God is setting things right again. What a privilege it is to participate in that with Him!

When you help those who are in need, you are working in the spirit of the year of jubilee. You are saying along with God, “There are broken things in this world. Let’s set them right again.” And that is a task in which any Christian can be proud to take part.

My Call? Your Call? – It’s God’s Call!

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

 Forever Changed International - August, 2009 - Image by Brad Person

Part six of our new Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

Founder Heather RaduBy Heather Radu-

The more I learn about Jesus and what He has called us to do in this world, the more I am convinced Christians should be helping people in need.

After all, giving to the poor and the weak is encouraged throughout the Bible. But I’ve learned something else over the years I’ve worked with the poor. Not everyone has to serve in the same way!

You might think that is an obvious point, but I can’t tell you how important it is to let it sink into your heart. You see, we humans love to imitate each other. We love it so much that when we find someone we admire, we try to be like them. We want to imitate their walk, talk, even their style of dress.

In some ways this is good. After all, St. Paul told the Corinthians to imitate him (1 Corinthians 4:16). But Paul did not mean that God wanted them to do the exact same things Paul did all the time. In fact, God has different plans for each of us. So if your friend is working in a soup kitchen, but you have a passion for literacy, don’t feel like you have to do exactly what your friend does. And don’t try to make your friend join your literacy program either.

God will work through you both where he wants you.

There are examples of this scattered through the entire Bible. King David and Nathan the prophet had different ministries in Israel, but both were needed. The apostles and the deacons in Acts had different jobs to do in the church, and neither group was condemned. So don’t feel guilty if the desire God has given you differs from people you really respect. We can each love and serve God the best by doing what He has planned for us.

The Boundary-Breaking Gospel

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Forever Changed International

Part Five of our new Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

Founder Heather RaduBy Heather Radu-

People are people. We all have our needs and wants, things we like and dislike — pet peeves, bad habits. As we meet and get to know each other, we get to find out what we are really like. This can be good … or bad. Sometimes it can be very bad!

For instance, my bad habit might overlap with your pet peeve. Maybe that thing I do without realizing it is the one thing that gets on your last nerve. Or maybe my choice of vehicle or what I do with my money is offensive to you. And maybe your choices bother me too. Then we end up being divided. This problem can get even worse once we cross cultural or socioeconomic boundaries.

The hard truth is, though, that none of these things really matter (in the deepest sense). Our annoying habits, dislikes, and cultural differences should all be overwhelmed by the fact that we are all made in God’s image. Every human being has dignity and needs to be treated as such. This can have a huge impact when you are ministering to people in need, even in your own community.

If you are like most people, when you help the poor you do it with the best intentions. You want to give people what they need in order to survive. But sometimes we are so focused on filling an immediate need that we forget to slow down and value the people we meet along the way. We get a good feeling, but those on the receiving end feel like we are saying, “We’re here to save the day, but you have nothing to offer.”

Bottom line: We need to make sure we recognize the humanity of the people we serve. What are their names? What is their history? What are their likes and dislikes? As we ask these questions and really communicate, those old socioeconomic boundaries just might start to crumble. That is, after all, what the Gospel does. It not only breaks the boundary between us and God, but it crosses the boundaries and brings healing between different people groups. As you minister, make sure you get this part of the Gospel right.

Serving Others in the Real World

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Working together

Part Four of our new Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

Founder Heather RaduBy Heather Radu-

Sometimes—and I am guilty of this as well—people have a rosy view of serving others. We get the idea that we’re going to go out and do something like work in a food pantry, or at a local mission. Or maybe we’ll start a new ministry in our community. Then, once we get things off the ground, people will overflow with gratitude. Lives will be changed!

And you know, that may happen. Sad to say, though, it often doesn’t. Sometimes, even if we serve with the best of intentions, problems crop up. People are still not happy. I think of the book of Acts in chapter six, when the people of the church were serving widows. These women were in great need, and they were being served, but things weren’t perfect. In fact, there was a great deal of complaining going on because it seemed the money was not being distributed fairly.

If you go on and read the chapter, you will see that the Apostles settled the problem. But the whole episode reminds us that serving can be hard work. We don’t always get the thanks we think we deserve. In fact, sometimes people can act downright selfish, getting angry because we are not serving them the way they think we should.

Don’t be discouraged!

Those early followers of Jesus were not serving widows so they could get a pat on the back, and they certainly weren’t doing it so they could boost their own egos. They served because there were people who needed to eat. People who were made in God’s image. That is the reason why we do what we do at Forever Changed International, and I hope that is why you are serving in your own community.

So please do go out and serve, but remember you can’t control the reactions of others. You serve people because when you help them you are honoring the God who made them. And you know, then your service becomes an act of worship. And that is the most important thing any of us can do with our lives.

Guest Blog: Are Short Term Missions Trips Worth It?

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Rob TuckerBy Rob Tucker of The Skipping Stone

On Saturday, I will be heading to Ethiopia for the 4th time.  But, it will be the first time for my oldest, Christina. I am finding myself very excited to join her on her first missions trip, and also a bit nervous about it. The village we are working in is primitive, and it will be eye-opening for her to say the least. I have found myself praying more for what God will do in Christina’s life than for my own. I truly want her to have the kind of life-altering experience that I have had from missions.

A life-altering experience.  Is that too much to ask?


There are a number of benefits from taking a short term missions trip.  If you’ve never been on one, it may be time for you to go! Here are 10 reasons to consider a short-term trip:

  1.     You get your eyes opened to the dire needs of the world outside the U.S.
  2.     You get to feel for a people group beyond just hearing the experiences of someone else.
  3.     You get your hands dirty with the work of global ministries, helping a local people group do something amazing.
  4.     You get to represent Jesus for people who may not know him.
  5.     You get to be a servant to people who are not used to being served.
  6.     You get to make friends with beautiful people who don’t look like you.
  7.     You get more grateful, realizing all of the blessings you now take for granted.
  8.     You get more open to speaking about your faith in everyday life.
  9.     You get to obey Jesus’ command to make disciples of all the nations.
  10.     And for me, I get to have the joy of sharing a trip with my firstborn child.

Have you been on a trip?  What did you gain from it?

About Rob: Rob is a young adults pastor in PA, and leads a service called Liquid Tuesdays. He's married to what he calls his "perfect fit", and they have 4 energetic kids. You can read more about Rob on his blog  The Skipping Stone where he share thoughts about "Faith, Family and Fatherhood."

2011 Year in Review Video

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Mission Team Has Amazing Experience…

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

New Wheel Chair Ramp

Mission Team from Connecticut Improves Dorie's Promise

Here’s the thing about Hartland, Connecticut:  It snows. A lot.

“When we left there was three feet of snow on the ground,” said Amy Bourque. “I heard just yesterday that someone’s garage collapsed because of the snow.” Amy shared this while wearing a T-shirt and strolling down the snow-free driveway at Dorie’s Promise. It was a balmy 75 degrees. The evening’s first stars were twinkling and she was cradling one of DP’s infants snugly in her arms. A happier woman you wouldn’t find. “It’s just so nice and warm here.”

Prepping the Wall

Improving the Walls at Dorie's Promise

She wasn’t just talking about the temperature. Ever since her mission group had arrived in early February, it had been received extra warmly by everyone, and for good reason. Rarely had a group come to DP more skilled and prepared to work. In less than a week these 17 folks from Bethany Lutheran Brethren Church successfully:

  • built a concrete wheelchair ramp for House Five
  • stripped the plaster from the isolation room in that same house, waterproofed it, re-plastered it, then re-painted it
  • repainted and added murals to three bedrooms and two bathrooms in Houses Five and Six
  • repaired the roof on House Two
  • provided DP with a brand new washing machine

Oh, and for good measure, they also built an entire community center from the ground-up in the city dump, where several thousand of Guatemala’s poorest people live.

Prep work for the walls at Dorie's Promise

Mission Team Members from Connecticut Working on Dorie's Promise

“Our church has something like 15 contractors,” said Jeff Olsen, “And a bunch of us just like working with our hands. This is what we do.” It helped that the group had been to Guatemala and DP once before, in 2009, and had a good sense of the need here.

For most in the group, the satisfaction came not just from what they were giving, but what the Guatemalans gave them. Evan Langlois, the associate pastor at Bethany, was moved by one scene that unfolded while he was working in the dump. The crew had become thirsty in the mid-day heat, so they gave money to a couple of the residents and asked them to go buy them sodas. But the people insisted on buying the drinks themselves, with their own money. “I’m telling you, these people have nothing,” said Evan. “It reminded me of the parable of the poor woman with only two coins. She had the least, but she gave the most.”

Amy said that the group will keep coming back to DP every couple of years, if not more often. They like escaping the snow, for one thing, and they certainly like the hard work. But they also just like hanging out with the kids. “Children are universal in that they need to know that someone likes and cares about them,” said Amy, who organized half a dozen pizza, ice cream and muffin parties for the kids during her time here. “We’ll keep coming back for these little guys.”