Sunday, May 13, 2012

One team. One goal.

This Saturday a group of Carmel Young Life kids and leaders left the comfort of round-a-bouts and three car garages to drive just fifteen minutes South to a very different world. 

We worked with an organization called Rebuilding the Wall, adventured downtown and spent time growing and hanging out together. I could tell you more, but I think it would be cooler to hear it from some of the kids that participated.

One of my favorite parts of this entire weekend was our experience in downtown Indy. Between the places we prayed and the people we met, it was an experience unlike any other I had ever had with God. Somehow, I felt closer to Him sitting on a street corner talking to a homeless man than I did in my own church. This weekend taught me that you find God everywhere, even in the most unexpected places. -Kayla

My favorite part was walking around downtown and experiencing people's stories. It made homelessness realistic and graspable to me. -Shana

My favorite part about this weekend was having real conversations and hearing people's stories. I loved meeting Bobby even though he may or may not have been crazy, he shared an inspirational message. I loved spending time with my group and I loved Mafia and 4 on a couch, even though I got way too competitive. -Mac

I loved everything about service weekend from hearing the people at Rebuilding the Wall tell their stories to hanging out with Keith. It was inspiring to see these people who didn't have a place to call home still be able to laugh and smile and have hope when their lives are so hard and uncomfortable all the time. -Heather

I love love loved this weekend. It wasn't just an eye opener, it also brought me so much closer to some pretty cool people. It was beyond crazy to see how different living conditions were when these houses were only about 20-30 minutes away from our real homes. -Steph

Imagine you're taking a pleasant stroll downtown Indy and, as you approach a street corner, you spot a homeless man. It seems like the natural human instinct is to avoid eye contact and walk by, pretending like you don't see him sitting there or hear him shaking his change cup. But what if the homeless man you pass is God? I have these Hindu neighbors who believe that God could be back on Earth right now in human form, just a normal dude walking among us. When my mom, my sister, and I ate dinner at their house once, they treated us like the royal family because, to them, one of us could have been God; it was a very eye-opening experience for me. I wondered if they ever got tired of treating everyone they encountered like God. I also wondered why I don't exercise the same belief. Why shouldn't I strive to treat everyone around me as I would Christ if he was on Earth? Well, this is a lofty goal for a high school student like myself, surrounded by hormones, drama, senioritis, and negativity. However, this weekend gave me many opportunities to finally practice this ideology with ease. 

Not only did I get a chance to redefine my definition of service, but my eyes were opened to the insane amount of everyday hiding places of God. When I consciously made the effort to look around for His great works in my life, to seek out all His hiding spots, I found out Christ is a really good hider.

He was hiding in the Rebuilding the Wall staff, in their incredible sacrifice and dedication to the struggling families they help. He was hiding in the deep talks at the Statehouse about what should really matter to society. He was hiding in Bobby and Ebony, the homeless people who wanted to really be seen and heard more than they wanted to be pitied.

He was hiding in the difficult selections that led us to our mismatched yet delicious dinner of peanut butter sandwiches, hummus, teddy grahams, chicken tenders, cold pizza, and doughnuts. He was hiding in the extreme persistence and strategy of the competitors in the electric chair obstacle course. 

He was hiding in the joyful wiggles, convulses, fist pumps, and awkward gyrations of the dance party participants. He was hiding in the most intense series of "four on a couch" and mafia games I have ever played. He was hiding in the celebratory stories Sarah read us from Cold Tangerines. He was hiding in the Younglife leaders' willingness to give up their Saturdays and in their selflessness, encouragement, and constant love for their Younglifers. 

I'm confident God is also hiding in the personal transformations the members of our group experienced this weekend. It's really easy to see Christ working in places like service efforts and church and campaigners, but I'm making it my mission this week to find as many of God's hiding places as I can in my normal, Carmel life. 

Even though it took some major guts to approach Ebony and Bobby rather than walk right past them, the meaningful conversations and realizations I had with them were crazy gratifying. 

I know I will see similar results if I embody the attitude of my neighbors and find the little bit of God hiding in everyone and everything around me. -Emily

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