He was the first student that I noticed, and the first name that I learned. I'll call him, "Robert". I was there with Shine to tutor and help out with math. The teacher was still getting to know the class, and laying the groundwork for how things would run this year. But within the first 10 minutes that day, she had...
He was the first student that I noticed, and the first name that I learned. I'll call him, "Robert".
I was there with Shine to tutor and help out with math. The teacher was still getting to know the class, and laying the groundwork for how things would run this year. But within the first 10 minutes that day, she had called Robert's name three times.
First, Robert was out of his seat, wandering around and distracting others. Then, he was playfully wrestling with the boy in the seat next to him. Later, he was rolling his eyes, and sighing out loud, and making loud comments to the class. The teacher had just over thirty students for those early weeks, and had a number of situations to manage.
When she finally told the students to begin working on their own, I made my way to Robert. He was slow in getting out his materials. I asked him to take out his notebook, and he heaved a sigh as he flung it up in the air, to land twisted on his table.
That first day, I came around to Robert several times. I was tempted to get bitter about his bad attitude and obvious disrespect of everyone. But my heart went out to him, and I left school that day praying for him.
Over the months, my appreciation for Robert has grown. He is actually above average at math. He just doesn't have much appreciation or respect for others. Lately, I've been sent out of class with 3 or 4 students each time, and Robert is usually not one of them. Whenever we do get to work together, he still pushes limits; but he's begun to ask each week if he can go and work with me. It melts my spirit, and I'm beginning to see him dropping his guard just a bit. When a student chooses to give you respect, and opens up just a little bit, it is a gift that you know is undeserved. It's a gift that only God can give.
I've come to love Robert. I look forward to seeing him every week. Most weeks, it's just a few minutes at the beginning of class, and a few minutes at the end. But I always get a chance to say hi, and usually give him a high five. And I keep praying for him.
Recently, I returned to class early with my group. The students were working individually, and we had a few minutes left. Robert immediately called me over, and asked me to help him. I was so glad! We worked problems until the bell rang. And then we kept working. We worked through most of the passing period.
When we finally finished, he said, "thanks"; and we shared a fist bump. "Nice work, Robert."
It may seem like a small thing, but I can't tell you how much it blesses me. I think there's a chance that the Lord is changing Robert just a little bit.
I definitely know that He's changing me.
“When I give, I give myself.” - Walt Whitman
When I came across this quote the other day when I was reading it struck me that Jesus gave us a picture of giving in Mathew 15 when He was breaking bread with his disciples for the people. Jesus gave thanks, broke the loaves and fish, and gave them to His disciples who gave them to the people. Similarly to...
“When I give, I give myself.” - Walt Whitman
When I came across this quote the other day when I was reading it struck me that Jesus gave us a picture of giving in Mathew 15 when He was breaking bread with his disciples for the people. Jesus gave thanks, broke the loaves and fish, and gave them to His disciples who gave them to the people.
Similarly to Jesus’s breaking bread, the Shine ministry is an incredible opportunity to share the gifts of what Christ has already given us - love, hope & a purpose.
Since volunteering with Shine, my daughters and I have been able to see God’s greatest gift of love spread throughout A. Montoya and our community. When we first started volunteering on the playground a few years ago, we were met with speculation and apprehension. Why were we there? Who were we and why were we volunteering? What was our hidden agenda? Were we spies from the District offices? Slowly, the Lord calmed the apprehension and paved the way for us to give ourselves as vessels for the kingdom. He opened opportunities for great discussions with the playground “duty” teachers.
By consistently showing up and being present we’ve been able to get to know several of these teachers and begin to serve them in a way that is meaningful and tangible to them. It really is the little things; showing up, being consistent, being available, kind and interested goes a long way.
Are there areas of your life
that you are hesitant to
give to the Lord?
Over time, God opened more and more opportunities for us to be able to give in different ways such as helping out in various classrooms, in the office and by providing various supplies throughout the year.
God transformed the hearts and minds of the staff we came in contact with at AMS so that He could give the gifts that He has given all of us through the cross - love, hope & a purpose! By giving ourselves as vessels of change and love, the Lord was able to bring hope and purpose to the staff as well as to the girls and I. We have built strong relationships with the staff and we know many of them by name. The simple recognition of each other’s presence is welcomed.
Are there areas of your life that you are hesitant to give to the Lord? He gave so that we may give ourselves to His work on this side of heaven. Come along & hold on tight! It’s a journey that won’t disappoint.
She’d been without running water for 3 months. A whole bunch of sidewalk had been jackhammered out along North Highway 14 during monsoon season, and her well house and pump were destroyed when water came rushing down the road with nothing to block it from...
She’d been without running water for 3 months.
A whole bunch of sidewalk had been jackhammered out along North Highway 14 during monsoon season, and her well house and pump were destroyed when water came rushing down the road with nothing to block it from overwhelming her property. “Ms.Reed” had been working constantly to get some help, either from her home insurance or the law, but found roadblocks everywhere she turned.
I’d been helping in Ms. Reed’s special needs class for around two years at that point. There are few people in this world who pour themselves into their work the way she does. Nights? She’s preparing craft supplies for tomorrow’s balloon activity. Weekends? She’s searching garage sales for educational toys and used books. Breaks? She’s re-decorating her classroom to make it more functional. I’ve watched her work tirelessly to find new strategies for her students, regardless of how many she’s tried already. She never stops believing that success is within their reach. She is a force.
She did not complain about her water situation. She did not ask for help. She continued to file appeals, speak with lawyers, and save her money. Though she didn’t say it, she had to have been worried about the length of time this process would take.
Ms. Reed had been showering and doing laundry at school for weeks when the principal noticed. She got on the phone herself, calling a host of organizations that might come alongside Ms. Reed and get her some real help…to no avail. That’s when the principal approached Shine.
"What ensued was the most amazing conversation about the truth of God’s grace."
“I don’t know if you can help her,” she said, “but could you see if you know anyone who could get her running water back?”
I asked Ms. Reed if it would be ok if I approached my Shine team about it. At first, she was quite reluctant to accept any help. She truly believed that if she could just talk to the right lawyer, the right NMDOT rep, the right someone, they’d be out there to make things right. “Ok”, I said, “But…in the meantime, could we help you get your water back?” Ms. Reed had received a few quotes on the work, and they were steep. “Let me just see if we can help,” I said. She reluctantly agreed.
MCC’s Shine team was only too pleased at the prospect of helping Ms. Reed. One volunteer said, “My husband and I have been praying about how to give this money! This is such perfect timing!” We put together a pool, and I let Ms. Reed know that we could likely help her with at least half the bill. She was absolutely floored. With tears in her eyes, she said, “I just can’t believe you guys would do this…for ME.”
Ms. Reed called Water Works for one final quote, which happened to be lower than all the others, but they weren’t totally sure what the final bill would be. I told her to go ahead and have it done, and that we would trust that God would provide what we needed.
She called me the next day, ecstatic and in tears. The final bill was a fraction of what had originally been quoted to her, and a fraction of what we had raised to help her. I told her to let us pay the whole thing, and she just lost it. The reason she had called was to say that someone in her family had made her feel guilty for accepting our help, and she felt she should refuse.
“Well what are YOU gonna do for THEM?”, they’d asked her. “You can’t just do nothing. You’re stealing from them. And they have REAL needy people to help.”
“Ms. Reed,” I said, “I firmly believe that this is God’s grace to you. This right here is a demonstration of God’s love and care for you. All you have to do is accept it. You can’t pay it back, friend. Just receive it.”
She absolutely fell apart.
What ensued was the most amazing conversation about the truth of God’s grace.
As it turns out, Ms. Reed grew up believing she had to be “good enough” for God. And of course, she believes she never has been. The idea of accepting a gift..from HIM, no less, and without guilt…was overwhelming. We talked about why Jesus went to the cross, how all of our sin died with Him, that if God expected us to earn His love, He’d never have sent Jesus at all.
Ms. Reed and I still speak regularly on this subject. It may be awhile before she returns to church, but she knows beyond a doubt that God reached into her life with grace and compassion through people who love Him. She knows a side of God that she had never considered. And she understands that all her debts are paid in Christ, and that she can come to Him guilt-free.
This is what Shine is all about.
Click hereto learn more about MCC's partnership with Shine.
"Walking down a dirt road in a poor Village on the outskirts of Sucre, Bolivia, a woman opens the door and invites complete strangers to walk into her home. Yes, they are Food for the Hungry volunteers; yes, she needs help; yes, she needs prayer and the peace that only God can give. But Marta had to open the door when every..."
Walking down a dirt road in a poor Village on the outskirts of Sucre, Bolivia, a woman opens the door and invites complete strangers to walk into her home. Yes, they are Food for the Hungry volunteers; yes, she needs help; yes, she needs prayer and the peace that only God can give. But Marta had to open the door when every wordly-thing about her told her not too. God helped her set aside her pride, fears and hesitation. Or maybe she did hesitate? Only she and God know what happened on the other side of that door while we waited for her to answer. Ultimately, God gave her the strength and courage to seek Him, our being there was simply a testimony of her desire to seek the Lord. I had tears in my eyes as we listen to her story. She spoke of her pain, the pain of her children and the pain of her husband. So, we did the only thing we could; we prayed. As we did, peace replaced doubt and hope shown on her face.
I walked away from that experience with humility and wonder and it was not the first, nor I am sure will it be the last, time God humbled me through an experience like this in Bolivia. I wondered about how someone could set aside pride and fear and allow God to take the reins. Could I do that? Why can't I open the door for God? It was humbling to see God work when pride and fear was removed.
When God brought me the opportunity to serve on a short-term mission team in Bolivia, I honestly didn't hesitate to open that door, even to run through it. As a nurse, God has graciously given me the gift and the heart to help people. Little did I know at the time, saying yes to a short-term mission trip wasn't the only door God was asking me to open.
After that experience with Marta, (this was on my second trip to Bolivia) God showed me the door to open. My closed door, the one I was meant to open and experience, was to serve God. Being a part of the Bolivia ministry has shown me what it truly means to serve God, for God's glory. Not my own. We live in a world of instant gratification. We live in a mindset of "quick fix". This ministry taught me to be patient and there is never a quick fix.
Serving God for His glory is to build up His earthly kingdom. In Bolivia and with the teachings of Food for the Hungry, that means to make those in poverty self-sustaining. To teach, to pray with, to bring biblical principles to others and to build relationships. None of those things are easy, quick or instant. They take time, prayer and hard work. My instinct was not to open this door. God called me to follow His lead and serve Him. Therefore, I had to get out of the way. I had to throw away my instincts of "Me" fixing it. I had to forget that I always have to have the answers and I knew God would show me my own poverty.
I had to admit my pride and repent. I prayed and prayed. I repented. I asked God for the courage and strength to open that door. I am so glad I did! My heart was transformed. My eyes were truly opened. I saw God working and I saw how I was to be used. He showed me where I had poverty in my own life. I saw that I had a gift to bring to the ministry and the gifts others gave me. With God’s newfound sight for me, it changed my own relationships positively and strengthened my faith. The staff members of Food for the Hungry Bolivia and the people from the community were also teaching me. They all have given me the gift of lifelong friendship and they have prayed for me in my walk with Christ. I would trade my sinful pride and fear for what I have gained and learned anytime! Praise God for putting that closed door in front me and giving me the strength to open it.
Serving in the Bolivia ministry and given me the opportunity to serve God, serve others and strengthen my relationship with Jesus. God has many closed doors for all of us to open. Which door has God asked you to open?
This upcoming Bolivia trip is very exiting for me. This will be my first trip, and I think that God has given me this opportunity for a reason. I will be able to shine the light of God, as well as make new friends. I believe that...
This upcoming Bolivia trip is very exiting for me. This will be my first trip, and I think that God has given me this opportunity for a reason. I will be able to shine the light of God, as well as make new friends. I believe that God has blessed me so that I can be a blessing to others. However, I know that I cannot truly help them unless I know what they are going through. This trip is a way to witness firsthand what our friends in Bolivia are going through. This trip is also exciting because I have a chance to expand my horizons, so to speak, and meet new people who do not speak my language. I am also excited to be a part of these kids’ lives and activities. I think this is a big part of having a real friendship. I hope that we can make a difference in their lives. But really, it is God who makes the difference.
As we move closer and closer to the trip, it is hard to believe that this all started a few years ago, when I first started being interested in going. My dad went almost every year, and I always wondered what they did on these trips (well, I started wondering once I became old enough to wonder about these things).
As I learned more about the trip, I began wondering, “Could I help people in the way my dad and the church do?”. I started asking to go when I was eight, but I am finally going now that I am eleven. I’d like to say thank you to the Mountain Christian Church for praying for all of us, my family and the missions committee for donating money for the trip. I am glad I am going, and I hope God leads is in our trip.
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Have you been looking for a ministry opportunity that won’t take too much of your time? Please consider becoming a Shine classroom volunteer! We have 9 requests for volunteers to read with children for 30 minutes to an hour once a week! Please contact Ashley Procter if you’re interested in making a big difference in a young one’s school year!
SAVE THE DATE: Vacation Bible School dates are June 24 – 28, 2019! Will you join us as we serve the kiddos of MCC, the East Mountains Community and even Albuquerque? VBS is a huge outreach opportunity for MCC and we hope you will join us in this fun-filled week of Bible stories, singing, games and fellowship!
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