I got on an airplane 7 days ago traveling to Uganda with 10 complete strangers.
Sure, we did the typical pre-trip Facebook page and had fun getting to know one another with messages and liking each other’s status’, but this was not real life. We were preparing to do real life together. We probably all had similar expectations of friendship bonding and working together side by side with cheerful dispositions as a mission team and body of Christ. But, it does not take very long to realize that we are a team of diverse personalities, temperaments, and spiritual gifts.
So, how does a team of 10 come together and do our best? We jump in with all our gifts, talents, and passions and…be more! Oh yes, it’s possible for strangers with a common goal to come together and be extraordinary as a team.
Today, I wanted to capture a special story to share with you from our mind-blowing day at the jigger clinic in rural Uganda, or perhaps tell you about the 10-year-old boy with a massively swollen arm that we prayed over for healing, or even the 155 children who had jiggers removed from their feet, or share the celebration we had at the Sole Hope Outreach Center with all the children and adults, staff, or how we ended our day with 15 Arise Talent’s children leading worship and healing prayer that brought us all to tears.
Instead, I wanted to share with you what I witnessed my team doing. Real life action. They each embraced the verse, 2 Timothy 2:15 and it was no longer 10 strangers, but 10 mission-hearted people working together to love big and serve big the community with Sole Hope.
Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. (2 Tim 2:15)
The Sole Hope visiting clinic was set up before we arrived by the amazing staff. They are professional experts on the ground ensuring everything is well-organized and functional to remove jiggers. There were probably over 500+ school-age children and adults from the village waiting to welcome our team.
When you are called to represent the King of Heaven in the nations of the earth- be more! -Steve Pennington
I watched the team play games in the huge field. They embraced the young and old with dignity. If they were struggling bending over washing 155 filthy, mud-caked feet, you would never know. There were designated “carriers” that picked up 155 children and adults with clean, scrubbed feet and carried them to the jigger removal area. Team members cuddling, comforting, handing out stickers and brand new shoes with big smiles. Nurses and staff digging out jiggers one-by-one enduring crying and suffering. Despite the 90 degree weather, they never wavered making sure every person left clinic feeling loved and cared for and valued. Be more.
This journey to give God our best never ends. We are all called to love one another.
We want to give God our best exactly where we are. Helping your neighbors with carpool, visiting the elderly and sick, volunteering at local schools, distributing food for the homeless, taking the time to thank friends that let you borrow their favorite sweatshirt, sponsoring a child, looking for opportunities to make a difference in your own backyard. Simple things because people matter.
Sometimes loving big require sacrifice. To love big is not when it’s most convenient for us, or going the extra mile for those who are closest to us. Rather, it’s more of a reflection of our heart in living out the great commandment to be more. Thank God He gave us more even though we didn’t deserve it. What are you going to do today to love big and be more?
I hope you will continue to pray for the Sole Hope team, the people we are serving + share it.
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(Photo Credits: Gary S. Chapman)