Monday, April 17, 2006

Mission Katrina Relief

He is risen! I am forgiven, loved, set free.

But I don't feel it.

I'm on a mission trip (left on Good Friday) in Louisianna - taking in part in an effort to help muck houses. The work is absolutely exhausting. Today was the first day, and I am bone weary.

I am also feeling a little lonely and, I suppose, homesick. I also am struggling in another area. With certain people in my life, I joke around quite a bit with them, and they joke around with me and give me a hard time. There is a lot of sarcasm and playful put downs.

I don't like it. I seem to have a knack at getting people to take these pot shots at me. Usually, it is not so bad, but on this trip, on the road, there are a couple of my students in the same car as me (if you know who they are, do not talk about this with anyone please), who have kind of playfully been putting me down. These are some great Christian kids, and I'd like to have a serious conversation about the greatness of Christ with them, and I have done so. But too often, I feel like, due to the way that I carry myself, they keep giving me a hard time.

It is not as if they are the only people who do this. Like I said, I seem to have a knack at bringing out sarcasm in people. I tend to be very sarcastic. It is fun most of the time. But there is a limit.

And for whatever reason, on this trip, the line has been crossed, but I don't know how to deal with it. I could pull the whole Jack Nicholson line from "As Good As It Gets" - "Maybe we can go without all the wisecracks," but I think that might just invite another wisecrack.

This is a real working trip. It is a mission trip, but I don't get the same sense of team on this trip, largely due to the fact, I think, that the leadership has designed this trip not to entertain or to build real team unity, but to just muck as many houses as possible. I feel like I connected fine with my "subteam" that I went out with today. But overall, I feel disconnected - and almost insignificant - on this trip. There are about 60 of us - about 40 students and twenty adults (many of them parents). Then, there is my wife and me. We are in our twenties - so obviously we don't fit in with the kids (not that I did when I was a kid either). We are having neat conversations with kids and with the adults. I'm not having a pity party, and its not all bad. But I am feeling down.

I guess I just want to go home and sleep in my bed. I'm not in my comfort zone now. But Jesus left his comfort zone when he left the right hand of His Father to be born in crap-filled barn. He lived a sinless life in a sin-sick world. He suffered. He was tempted. His soul experienced sorrow and grief. He went through the garden of Gethsamane. He was arrested, given an unfair trial, and condemned to die a criminal's death. He had the crown of thorns imbedded into his skull. He endured 40 lashings minus 1. And He was crucified. Worse than all that, he actually took on the sin of the world, and so His Father turned His back on Him, and He received for me and for all of us, the fullness of God's wrath - the just for the unjust - that He migth reconcile us to God.

Surely, by God's grace, I can endure a few days of hard work without sleeping in my comfortable bed.

God be praised.


Blogger Dan said...

Have recovered physically, emotionally, and spiritually since last night.

It is really exciting to be a part of this great work here in Louisianna. We got about 3/4 of the way through another house today. Another group was working on a house right down the street, whose owner was related to the owner of our house. Both teams met relatives of both homes. This one woman was just telling us her story of devastation, and how incredibly appreciative she was to us for working on her house. She went around and hugged all of us. It is neat to be used by God to overwhelm people with His love.

Of course, a few days of work is just the beginning. There is a huge need down here, but I am also seeing that it is possible - if enough people volunteer - to salvage the vast majority of these homes.

God help us to love and not forget all the people of Chalmette in our thoughts, prayers, and deeds.

11:20 PM  

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