Saturday, July 12, 2014

Eight Days of Hope, part 1

Her story was so incredibly poignant that it broke my heart. A woman in her mid-eighties, who has spent all her adult life caring for her handicapped son, along with that very loving and kind son, were in their small home when the tornado struck. They were pinned inside by fallen trees. 

Once the trees were removed and they were out, the sad state of affairs was evident. Of the three rooms left standing, one would not be standing long. They made do, despite no power or running water, and people began to help. Eventually, they were moved to safe housing and their plight was made known. Eight Days of Hope adopted their need.

In case you don't know, Eight Days of Hope is a faith-based ministry that responds to disasters with a team of volunteers to help put lives and homes back together. While repairing houses is what they do, serving Jesus is why they do it. They work for eight days. Whatever can be accomplished in eight days is done, and each volunteer agrees to work at least three of those days. 

When I heard that this fine ministry was adopting this dearly loved woman, I queried the site. I wanted to work on her home, and no other. I wasn't trying to be unreasonable, but my time was very limited and I wanted to spend it helping this dear lady.  They assured me I could pick my job, and I signed up, then promised her I would help with her new home. When I went this morning to "pick my job", you can well imagine my dismay when I found that her church was working on her home today, and Eight Days of Hope would be going later. The only thing that kept me from going back home was that I had given my word to work. 

In anticipation of landscaping work, I had driven my pickup, stocked with shovels, wheelbarrow, hand tiller, and cooler. As I glumly perused the list of jobs, I found one that required the exact set of tools I had brought. "Well, Lord, I wasn't planning on "filling in a large hole" today, but since that's what I'm equipped to do, I guess I will." As I signed up for the job, I realized that I would be Project Manager, as well. Suddenly, it was my responsibility to be sure the job was completed. I had no idea how big the hole was, and that was a good thing. 

When we arrived at the house, there was a mountain of dirt. Really. I looked at the two women and two young boys who made up my team and said, "Well, since we need to move a mountain, we had best ask the One who moves mountains to help."  After a few moments spent in prayer, we started shoveling dirt into the wheelbarrow and hauling it around to the hole. 

A young man walked by, looked at our task, and said, "Girls, don't worry. You are about to have some help." I silently told The Lord that I hoped he had brought a shovel. He had something much better. He had a Bobcat!  Before we could dump what we had shoveled, he was scooping up dirt with his machine and filling my wheelbarrow, as well as his own. His wife was there to help, along with his friend and his family. Suddenly, that tiny team was big and powerful. God was moving the mountain, and he was using Robbie and Alan, and their families to do it. I was amazed at their strength and at the sweet relationships they all enjoyed. 

It was the body of Christ in action. The entire combined team worked like crazy, stopping only briefly for a sack lunch. There was no fussing or arguing, and no one thought their contribution was more than another's.  Everyone was quick to help, especially when I had trouble moving the loaded wheelbarrow! 

In five short hours, we paused to assess our progress. I was amazed at how much was done. The hole was filled! 

I'm not sure why God wanted me to fill a hole today instead of doing the landscaping I had planned, but it was obvious He did, and I'm really grateful for the divine change in plans. I saw God move a mountain today, literally, and He used the body of Christ to do it.