(This blog post was written by Taylor Murray. She is a Senior Bio major, and she has a knack for finding colorful plastic eggs on playgrounds.)
Where do I even begin…it’s been quite the adventure we have had this past week serving at Shepherd. From witnessing the heartbreaking poverty of Indy to being filled with the hope expressed by those of the community, God has been working and moving in each of our hearts.
While I could sit here and write about everything God has challenged me in and taught me (in which case you would be sitting here for hours), I will share three things that greatly impacted me. First, I was challenged through the Poverty 101 class that we took while at Shepherd. It widened my gaze of the idea of poverty, and helped me to see that poverty isn’t just an issue of finance. Rather, poverty involves many other aspects such as relationships, self advocacy, support groups, physical health, and spirituality. Being able to understand this allowed me to better grasp how poverty looks different for each person. It also gave me a better idea on how to interact with someone who may be of a different background than myself.
Secondly, I was impacted by the hope I felt. I remember attending the Celebration Service on Sunday, where people were given a chance to celebrate what God had been doing in their lives. And can I just say when I say the word celebrate…I mean CELEBRATE! These people know how to praise God! I specifically remember one lady who shared how her daughter was stabbed twice. I know my first reaction to that would have been one of panic and anxiety, but her response blew me away. She had such a thankful heart that the situation wasn’t worse than it was. She knew that worrying would only make matters worse, so she decided to cling to the hope of Christ and pray. Wow! What a powerful faith! It was such a beautiful reminder of the hope that God gives us if we are willing to recognize it in the midst of our trials.
Thirdly, I’ve been learning a lot about what it means to see others through the lens of Christ rather than the lens of the world. I can recall numerous times throughout the week where God has challenged me in this. For example, when we met Lavert on the steps of the library, I instantly formed thoughts about him: “homeless, alcoholic, drug addict, dirty.” Yet, as I made this mental list God quickly redirected my thoughts to align with His. Those labels that I had so quickly slapped on Lavert transformed into words such as: “loved, brother in Christ, made in HIS image, washed clean in His blood, worth dying for.” I realized that making those initial assumptions had drastically clouded my vision of how God sees Lavert. In Samuel 16:7 the Lord says to Samuel, “For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” I had been doing just that; I had been looking at what I saw on the outside rather than focusing on the goodness of Lavert’s heart.
In conclusion, I think I can speak for the team in saying that the Lord has not only opened and changed our perspectives, but He has also strengthened our relationships with Him as a result. Our time at Shepherd allowed us to be a part of the work that God was already doing in a way that transformed and molded our hearts.
So. I guess this is it. Thank you for your prayers and financial support. We will never forget how we saw God this week. He is good all the time! We would love if you continued praying for our transition back into Taylor life. With all of the craziness may we never forget the lessons we have learned this week. Also, please ask the members of our groups to talk more about the trip. We were only able to share a few stories on the blog, and I feel like a lifetime of experiences were had.