Tuesday morning all of the teams headed out to their worksites again. Some of the groups faced trials as we had to do other smaller projects before we would be able to shingle the roof again. When we faced these trials, some of us struggled with the fact that we thought we had better plans than God had for us. Our relationships with our homeowners grew quite a bit as we continue to spend time eating lunch with them and also doing our devotionals with them. It seems as though most of the homeowners are really enjoying our company as we work on their roofs.
In our devotional on Tuesday we discussed redemption. We were challenged by the idea that we are all poor, blind, imprisoned, and oppressed in some way. In contrast, today we talked about every human being created in the image of God. I think the way that we were challenged today was in knowing how our relationships with others remind us that we are all made in God’s likeness.
Wednesday was SOS’s designated half-day for the work teams, and all of us were glad that our work progressed more smoothly in the morning than it did on Tuesday. We certainly learned the lesson of patience God was teaching us yesterday! (And I should add that many of us were sad to quit working at lunchtime as we were raring to keep working.)
After lunch we returned to SOS to learn more about organizations working in Memphis and seeking to better the community, after which the director of SOS challenged us to think about how we might be called to serve in poorer communities. One message that really stuck out to us was this: Christians often return from weeks like these with the realization that they take their many blessings for granted and they ought to be more grateful. Yet Jesus didn’t come to earth, see the brokenness of humanity, and return to heaven grateful that he’d been blessed by God. He ran to the brokenness and sacrificed his life to begin the process of restoring it.
Our team got to experience “running to brokenness” firsthand when several of us were approached by three men who were struggling with material poverty. Although we were unable to give them the money they were seeking, the team members instead told the men they were Christians and asked to pray for them, and their reactions were stunning. Each was overwhelmed with the joy only a relationship with Jesus can bring, and our team was so glad to be able to share that joy with them.
We ended Wednesday first by enjoying some delicious Memphis barbecue (and a chance encounter with the men’s UCLA basketball team who were doing the same) and second by sharing our experiences so far as a team and worshiping together. We continue to be amazed by all that God is teaching us here and all that he is challenging us to consider as we think about returning to our “normal” lives next week. The evening was an amazing time of worship for all of us, and we’re so excited for our last few days on the trip.
Pray for good weather and high spirits Thursday as we work to finish out our roofs!