Saturday, July 20, 2013

Changed for Good...or is it Changed for God?

I have been looking for a title for another blog and only just recently I watched several people within the last Mission Team experience this "change" I think is worth exploring.
Laura and I had the privilege of providing accommodations and meals for the team from Nova Scotia last week at Rio Vista.  Twelve people from all walks of life visited the Dominican Republic for a week of diverse Mission Field work.  The team was involved in the construction of a replacement house for a poor widow in a nearby village; this consisted of moving concrete blocks, mixing cement for mortar, and building the walls of the new house.  For three days the team labored, first in the downpour of a tropical storm, and then in the heat of the tropical sun.  For many of the team, this was the first opportunity to give in this manner, building something for someone who could only hope to have a new home; having neither the resources or the ability to accomplish this task.

Throughout the process of the construction we viewed "changing" individuals returning to the Guest House each night; tired and dirty, but pleased with the progress for the construction.  By the end of the third day the little house was finished.  The team was elated and each night during the debrief of the days activities, many expressed how they felt about the work they were doing.  Several on the team stated emphatically that it would be difficult to say goodbye to the people in the village they were working.  Many of these people had worked alongside the team, volunteering their own time and labor to help the team build this house.  Touched they were by the willingness of many in the village to help them; even the children wanted to pitch in and offer a hand in the project.  Several eyes were opened as some on the team saw humanity from a different perspective.  Looking now at humanity from the inside out, they could see what drives community, what builds a village, what supports those who cannot support themselves...compassion.

What is this compassion that pulls on the hearts of those who have never seen this before?  Many of these team members, to be fair, have grown up in a world far removed from the trials of the third world.  The trials where even finding water that wont kill you is a daily concern.  Now this does not mean that we never experience trials where we live, however, many of the basic things of life are seriously taken for granted back home.  Things like water, electricity, food, and shelter.

Let's understand this, humanity is the only species on the earth which can express compassion in this manner; the only species whose own hearts and minds are filled with agony when we see others suffer. Each of us knows inwardly that we must do something whenever we are exposed to this level of suffering, we must get involved and offer at least a hand or a shoulder to cry on.  The root of this is very obvious to those of us who have seen the Mission Field up close and personal for any length of time.  This compassion that has driven us and now will drive the members of the Mission Team from Nova Scotia comes directly from the heart of God; "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Eph 2:10

This is where the rubber meets the road, we are a created being, made by God, with all of His attributes, "in His image"  Gen 1:26.  This includes His heart, His compassion to all of His creation, especially His children: us.  Once you have felt the heart of God; through His compassion to others; then therefore are you "changed for good".  Or rather should I say..."Changed for God."

Of course we all still have a choice:  we could go back to our mindless lives, existing for nothing except ourselves in what appears to be a "dog-eat-dog" world.  Or we can accept the truth of the matter and realize that each of us was born, no, created for a purpose. 

When you boil it all down, casting aside everything that does not matter, everything that does not show compassion, giving for the sake of others who have not; at the very base of all is compassion, which essentially is love.  Within that love is the God who created us.

Yes I believe we witnessed several people this past week who were "Changed for God"  Touched so deeply by the imprinted compassion of God on their hearts; changed for good for the rest of their lives.

I pray they choose wisely.