This morning, we joined the community for breakfast and church at Shepherd Church of the Nazarene. At breakfast, I talked with Steve, a Shepherd cafeteria volunteer.
Steve radiated a quiet warmth and kindness, very apparent when he talked about years of serving as a Sunday School teacher and currently at Shepherd. Steve’s willingness to come alongside the children at Shepherd reflected his heart of discipleship. He said, “Sometimes the kids learn thing about life here that they don’t learn at home. Then, when they’re older, they’ve got those values instilled in them.” The ways in which Shepherd ministers into the lives of each individual child is apparent through the work of Steve and other volunteers.
During church, I noticed that many worship songs included a focus on human brokenness and Christ’s wholeness. Themes of poverty and restoration echoed through every song. Growing up, I had heard each song and knew the lyrics by heart. However, they never resonated with me as much as they did today. Phrases like, “Everlasting, your light will shine when all else fails,” “I’m desperate for you,” and “I’m lost without you” stuck with me. Many of the people living in the neighborhoods surrounding Shepherd face the realities of destitution and powerlessness on a daily basis. I saw an urgency in the worship of the congregation that was largely lacking when I sang the same songs at my church. The people realize their need for Christ, not only in the physical sense, but in their spiritual lives. When the money is low and the food is scarce, Christ is still good. The people I saw at Shepherd’s church largely reflected their dependence on Christ’s sovereignty through their fervent worship.
In the evening, we split up into three groups for dinners with alumni families. The family I visited, the Beaversons, welcomed us into their home with incredible hospitality. From the moment we stepped through the door, we were greeted with lots of smiles, hugs and Taylor memories. Mr. Beaverson told us stories of going to the old prayer chapel in the middle of the night to pray and give up what was weighing on his mind to the Lord. Mrs. Beaverson told us stories about how the Lord worked in her life through her career choice. The love of Christ was so present in this family and their five children. We enjoyed a night filled with home-cooked food, ping pong and incredible conversations. Before we left, Mr. Beaverson shared a poem with us called “Tell on Yourself.” The first part of the poem said, “You tell on yourself by the friends you seek, by the manner in which you speak; by the way you employ you your leisure time, by the use you make of every dollar or dime.” What a blessing to share in the lives of a family with not only a legacy at Taylor, but a legacy of Christ.
As we begin our third day at Shepherd, pray for our team to have energy, joy and compassion toward each other and those we serve. Pray for open minds and open hearts to the Lord’s will for the trip. Pray for the love of Christ to be evident in each of our lives and for us to see the love of Christ in those we meet.
Our team after our mulching project on Saturday with Taylor alumni, parents, and future Taylor students.