This past week has been insanely busy and exhausting. Why? I spent it mostly at my church preparing for Convoy of Hope — an event put on by our church, Bethel Life Center, once a year. It is an event that provides hope for a city through free groceries, school supplies, health screenings, job services, prayer, and so much more for people in the city of Wichita. I’ve had the opportunity to view first-hand the extraneous amount of preparation, time and energy put into this event.
Looking back, I am in awe. I’m in awe of the entire event and that it was possible to even happen. I’m incredibly grateful to have been a part of it. Here’s why: I spent the week with a youth group from Texas and other students from our church doing some missions work around the community and helping prepare. This week consisted of early mornings, late nights, long days, sweaty yard work, picking up trash, etc. Every day we battled exhaustion and felt like we could hardly go on. We spent the morning in chapel and worshipping- a chance to get alone with God and refresh our mindset every day. A chance that none of us would hesitate to take. This was incredibly important for me and all of us because I had to constantly remind myself during our work time the reason I was doing all of this. In the midst of my exhaustion, all I wanted was my bed. I wanted some iced tea. I wanted a shower. All I was focused on was the earthly things I desired. But at the end of each day, God did not ever fall short of showing me why I did the things I did. And why I would wake up the next day and continue to do them. It’s for His glory. This event our church put on is not about us. This event was possible with the help of countless donors, volunteers and servants-hearts, but ultimately it was possible because He made it possible.
The amazing thing about God is that the moment we make ourselves a willing vessel, He never holds us back from anything. I’ve witnessed God working through every student this week, and that in itself helps me grow. When thinking about serving this week, I thought of the sports coach’s favorite line, “You get out of it what you put in.” This fits perfectly with serving in the ministry for projects like these. Sure, I can set up some tables or paint an old man’s deck. I can pick up trash at the local recreation center. However, if I’m not doing these things with a purpose to seek and serve the Lord, then what’s the point? I hope for everyone to walk away from this project with a stronger and deeper relationship with our God. Not because we have to, but because we sought it for ourselves. Over 1,000 volunteers served for Convoy of Hope in Wichita. In the end, it’s not about us. It’s not about the little details. It's not about the stats. In the end, it’s about the sovereign Lord we serve and the powerful, everlasting work He is doing through us.
Convoy of Hope is just one example of the amazing work that God does all around this world. I’m fortunate to have been chosen by Him to be a part of it. In my first article, I wrote about ministry and how it can take place anywhere. Even in your hometown. This event was exactly that. It brings joy to me and HOPE to my heart. Not only did working on this bring hope for over 7,000 people of the city of Wichita, it changed my heart. It reminded me that God is in control. Saturday morning, we woke up to storms. It was pouring rain. We arrived onsite and wondered how this event was going to happen. And yet, people lined up. Before the gates open, we had thousands of guests waiting. It drizzled throughout the whole day, but people were prepared. We had guests bring tents, umbrellas, canopies- because He knows. He knows just what we need. After this event, I have even more faith in God which brings about my faith for humanity and the world. We, together, can bring hope for everyone all through this nation. It’s not only the people of Wichita who need it. Tangible items are extremely important: people NEED food and water. People NEED certain things. Certain things to hold onto. However, this nation has a need for the one thing people always want to hold onto, yet it so easily slips away from us: hope. Hope for the future. The real, honest truth is that hope is found in Jesus Christ. He has a plan for every single thing — the things we don’t even think about. Just as He had a plan for Convoy of Hope and Bethel Life Center, He plans for these kind of events to happen everywhere. The thing is, we have to openly lay ourselves down and allow Him to use us as a willing vessel. Once we serve, pour out, and give Him our all, hope is restored — in aspects greater than we could imagine.