I love when people come down and ask questions, because it means two things: They’re jumping in, they care and want to know about what is going on & They’re learners. Something that I could learn from to do even more and something that is so key in a cross cultural context.
One friend was asking questions about teams, and my mind returned to the question as I observed and walked beside the fifteen individuals for the week.
There’s never been a team I “can’t wait to leave”, and I’ve never had people that I have a problem with. But there is this difference with some teams. Groups that come down that are more effective: but you can’t put your finger on it right away. It’s not in the schedule, or the projects they decided to take on. It can’t be found in the personalities or the denomination of a group, the way we want to group people. Instead, it’s in something that I feel could ripple out into all areas of life for the most effectiveness, the greatest impact, the best in what we do all over life (not confined to six days in a new country).
The difference is a servant heart.
It sounds fancy, but isn’t unreachable. It starts with the little things, like your “yes” to go and your willingness to help, no matter the job. It’s fueled by wanting to serve, not wanting to be credited. Seeing yourself as less is key – not that you aren’t important or valued, but that your wants are not the most important. One step out of your comfort zone for the sake of someone else is huge. The longer you’re in this attitude, the more natural it becomes. It starts to become the heart you want to rest in, as opposed to being forced to rest in, and it flows into other areas besides some ministry you volunteered for.
That’s why I mention it. Imagine if we could grab onto this difference not just for trips or the church environment, but for life? That’s what Jesus is asking for. He’s not asking for your schedule or your tasks, he’s asking for your heart. He’s offering to walk beside you and transform your heart, which will flow over and shine in your schedule, tasks, relationships.
Just this week, I saw…
- Hands jump to be raised to own dish duty, making lunch, and carrying luggage and heavy Culligans of water to the site. I mean, I’m pretty sure no one would argue against seeing this in their home?
- Strangers embraced in hugs, children with never ending energy picked up and played with, no hesitation and no going off to avoid them after hours in the heat, dust, and crowds of friends jumping with no warning.
- People weren’t turned away just because they didn’t fit the schedule. This includes the people that came outside of clinic hours, the girls that knocked on our gate uninvited, and the friends of Pastor Samedy’s children who scraped their knees. Days that the team wanted to go out in the community, people kept showing up. They were seen.
- James was seen by Matt, a dentist who rocked it all week. It wasn’t just the time sacrificed, but the attitude. With James as well as everyone else, a sensitive and compassionate heart was communicated despite the language barrier. Matt worked hard to create a comfortable environment, reassuring patients and recognizing each individual’s dignity and worth. You could turn to his corner in the clinic to be met by his big smile & caring eyes – or concentrated face giving the best services he could – any time of the day. You guys have heard about James, and I loved the contrast of care he received from this team compared to the community that continues to try to discourage me from trying to talk to him.
- Not just Matt, but every team member exuded love, a servant heart, and dedication to each patient seen. The skills of each member were used in the way that this community needs the most, and the WAY that it was carried out exuded the attitude of servant hearts.
- Learning. A key difference to a servant’s humility is a spirit eager to learn, ask questions, listen, soak up information. After this, the knowledge is used to talk about how to best serve. The only way we will ever effectively serve others is being learning about them, teaching ourselves, understanding them first.
- Prayer. Every day, every clinic, every person was covered in prayer. A servant recognizes where real success lies, where the real control is. Trusting God & giving the week to Him was a clear difference in the week, one that created good things. After all, each prayer was heard by the One who is Good.
Why did I write this? I mean, this blog is about life in Haiti, and this sounds like a PSA for short term missions.
I honestly believe that the same difference that can define a trip, can define your life. Your impact on your family and friends and workplace, your impact on the world. Don’t underestimate this. I know that I can too often, and I miss out when I do.
I still have $22,000 a year to raise. Want to be a part of what’s going on? Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out my “Partner With Me” page. I need partners!