Tuesday, July 29, 2008

From the Inside Out: World Changers 2008

Last week, I went on World Changers in Charleston, SC with the college and career class at Galeed Baptist Church (the church I grew up in). World Changers is sponsored by the North American Mission Board. The premise is that youth and college age students go out to serve Christ by ministering and meeting the temporal needs of others with the purpose of sharing the love of Christ. It's so cool when you do something for others how people become surprised that you care. These people probably wouldn't give you the time of day otherwise, but your actions prompt them to question you and lead you down the path to spiritual conversations. As James says, "I'll show you my faith by my works."

The Galeed team (minus Lindsay - she's why there is a hole between Noele and me) - Front (l-r): Noele, Me, Frieda. Back (l-r): Ryan, Otis, Robert, Bryan and Blake.

My crew this year was the Brick Bats. Apparently, such a thing does exist and it is an actual brick. I have yet to Google it and see if that's the truth.

Our crew was absolutely amazing. We all worked great together and everyone maintained such a positive attitude. This was actually the first year where my team shared our testimonies. Quite a few members of our team have come from difficult situations and their testimonies were such an encouragement in that they prove just how mighty God is to save. To the Brick Bats - I praise God that He brought each of you into my life and you each were such an encouragement and a blessing to me this past week. "I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers." Philemon 1:4 (ESV)

Brick Bats - Front (l-r): Bekah, Ingrid, Aleia, Jessica, Shaye and Sharon. Back (l-r): Chief Matt, Matt, Craig, Bryan, Me and Becky.

The resident that we were ministering to was Mr. Charlie. We replaced his roof as well as his front and back door that were rotted. Mr. Charlie was a cool dude who smoked a corn cob pipe and would come outside to check on us and watch the work in progress. His daughter Mary lived with him and we were able to visit with them each day. One thing I really appreciated about Mary and Mr. Charlie were their genuine appreciation for what we were doing and they way they made sure to interact with us every day.

Mr. Charlie

Our goals for Mr. Charlie's house were to replace his roof and doors. Our crew chief broke up the project into daily milestones that we tried to complete before lunch each day so that we could have the afternoons off to interact with the community that we were working in (not to mention that it was 100 degrees outside!). We were able to meet quite a few of the residents in Mr. Charlie's community and pray, share the Gospel and encourage them.

God - I thank you for providing us the opportunity to worship you this past week by ministering to the city of Charleston. Please be with Mr. Charlie and his neighbors and move in their lives. Lord, may they come to know the joy to be had in a relationship with you.

Next door to Mr. Charlie's house was a garage that was owned by Elder Washington who is 72 and currently pastors a church in the neighborhood. Tinkering with cars is his hobby. Elder Washington and his friends were such an encouragement to our team. He was one of those men that you could spend the whole day talking to and not realize that one minute had passed. I was amazed that you could pretty much give any book, chapter, verse to Elder Washington and he would quote it back to you. He told us that was God's blessing for him since he didn't complete third grade. I'm definitely going to check in on him and his crew the next time I'm in Charleston!

Elder Washington (seated back row) and friends with our crew

During the week, our leader Robert kept asking the question "Why are you here? Why did God send you to Charleston?" And, I kept answering "I'm not quite sure" to myself. In 2006, I attended my first World Changers in Charleston, SC at the prompting of my sister Lindsay. The eight years prior to that, I wasn't very involved in church and could probably count on my fingers and toes the number of times I attended services during that time. But, God used that trip to pull me back and to convict me that I needed to be attending church regularly and be more involved. So, after we returned from World Changers that year, I found a church home and started getting involved.

Last year, I went on my second World Changers in Pensacola, FL. During that time, I felt like God was working in me even more saying "alright, it's time for you to completely surrender and it's time to start the molding." I craved His Word and couldn't get enough. This time can best be described as our speaker Darryl put it "if my position before God is perfect in Christ, why isn't my practice?" I started to realize I had spent the past few years of my life questioning God's will for my life in this world when in actuality it was time for me to be the will of God to the world. I would beg for him to break through and show Himself to me. He ingrained a passion to serve Him by ministering to others within me. He showed me that He does show Himself to me every day in the people that I come in contact with and He's asking me "what now? Now, that you have found me."

So, two years later, I returned to Charleston were God first yanked me back out of the selfish world that I was living in. I felt like I had come full circle. But, I felt like something was wrong with me. During worship each night, I wasn't feeling the usual convictions and shame that I had felt the past two years. And, I prayed and asked God what was wrong with me and He told me that there wasn't anything wrong with me. That He was proud of me. By no means am I perfect. I'm sinful by nature. But, everyday, I can honestly say that I throw myself at the foot at His cross and strive to live a life that glorifies Him in every way. I ask Him to control me from the inside out. And, I can boast only Christ for this transformation. Worship this year was such a time of praise. Praise of who He is and what He's done and how is completing the perfect work that He started in me!

And, He's challenging me to go further. Our speaker Darryl challenged us all on the last night with 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." Darryl challenged us to leave a legacy and to build a testimony that is worth imitating. He challenged us to live in such a way that people can't forget who you are and what you have done. As for what that means for me and my future, I'm not sure. But, I do want to leave a legacy. That's my new goal and what I'm going to strive for each day.

Abba - Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades. Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame. And the cry of my heart is to bring You praise! From the inside out Lord, my soul cries out! In my heart, in my soul, Lord I give you control. Consume me from the inside out Lord!

Click HERE to see a slide show of more pictures from World Changers 2008!

1 comment:

Brantley said...

Ashely, it's amazing how God calls us. Reading what you wrote is an encouragement and reminds me of how God pulled me into a church where I could begin to grow as a Christian. It sounds like the people there really made an impact on your life and I loved reading about it.