Today is May 19th and it is currently 6:40 pm here in Athens. In other news, today was the meal day at Helping Hands. By far my favorite ministry day for many reasons. I just want to share with you the variety of blessings I received today during ministry.
The first thing we do when we get to helping hands is we set up for the Muslim and Iranians. Then we help prepare a meal for them. This process is wonderful because we have time to interact with are team members and the staff as well. You can just see the joy each person has for the Lord. After we are finished setting up we have devotion time. Everyone that works at helping hands gathers in a circle and someone shares something insightful. A guy who’s a staff member shared with us about having a heart that is not offended easily. Which is a strange thing or at least was to me. As he kept explaining I began to understand. A heart that isn’t offended easily is that of someone who knows everything belongs to God. In addition, it is someone who rather than to step back when hurt to move forward and out of love talks it out with the person who offended you. After talking it out with the offender than lets love cover it and moving toward that relationship with a loving heart. A strange lesson maybe but working in Helping Hands you get to put this lesson to the test. We are around the same people for many hours sometimes everyday and things can start to be offensive. I mean think about it when your exhausted sometimes you say and do things you don’t mean to do or say. So this lesson today reminded me that my life is not my own, everything I do and say should always be honoring to God. In addition, to always love your neighbor as yourself and by doing that is to not get offended easily. AKA Love is the Key.
On to the rest of the day. So once we are finished with devotions its usually time to welcome in the Muslims and Iranians. After about an hour we close the doors and start serving food to everyone. Once everyone is served we grab food and pick a spot to sit and eat with them. I picked a seat with a family of Muslims. I tell you what they were all so welcoming and wanted to talk to me. Of course I could not understand what they were saying but a smile communicates more than you know. I would smile and they would light up. The children kept me laughing which in turn made them laugh. The only words communicated this whole time were hello and thank you. But it was such a wonderful time. I left that table more joyful than when I sat down.
After the meal is done we all split up to the places we signed up for. I have been working in the nursery and so I headed there. There were several children in the nursery. I first sit and observe the children playing then God moves me to a specific child to play with them. This time God didn’t move me to go play with any child in fact He moved them to come to me. I sat there for a little while then I eventually felt a little hand tapping gently on my arm. It was a little girl wanting to talk to me and show me her baby doll. I tell you what languages barriers are hard but Love conquers those barriers real quick. I smiled and just listened. Soon I had a little follower everywhere I went. I accumulated a couple little followers. The little girl with the baby doll is four and is very shy. She just started coming to the nursery a month or two ago. She has only three siblings and a mom in Athens. Dad is somewhere unknown. A staff member told me she hardly talks to anyone which is odd because all she wanted to do with me was talk. The other little girl is about 20 months and she wanted me to hold her all the time. I couldn’t hold any of the other little ones just because she wouldn’t let me. These two precious girls blessed me in so many ways today I can’t even express. Its good to feel wanted time to time. Again I literally said nothing half the time. I learned if we let God use us He uses us in the coolest ways that we might think are impossible because of language barriers.
After the lesson has been given then its time for all the Muslims and Iranians to leave. Then we start clean up but a Muslim guy before he left came up to me and in English told me how thankful he was for what we are doing here. I couldn’t speak I was astonished that he thanked me. I wanted to cry. I didn’t come to Athens to do ministry to be thanked for doing it but I was honored by a grateful heart. Those words were a blessing to me as well as encouragement.
God is good all the time and all the time God is good. Right now I am chilling in our nice apartment waiting on dinner. Tiffany is cooking stir fry. Yum! I am sorry for the long post but i hope you got a good taste of meal days at helping hands. I also hope that all of you know how thankful my team and I are that you are praying for us. Well I hope your day is fantastic much like mine was.
Blessings and Love