Elizabeth Morris came as a volunteer with her church (First Baptist Raleigh) young adults group this past May. She felt the Lord's leading in assisting at Next Step STORM in Birmingham, AL and has been an intern with us since June. The following is a view from her eyes....
Let me begin by saying the past five months have been the most tiring, rewarding, amazing months of my life. When I decided to join Next Step Storm I had no idea I was signing up for all that’s gone on. I knew I would get to renovate homes and put on new roofs, but I’ve been blessed to be a part of so much more than that.
Tommy, a homeowner we’ve come to know very well, just had surgery. We had the opportunity to see him and pray with him before he went to the hospital. It’s such a blessing to be able to share that kind of relationship with someone. Tommy’s surgery went very well. We are praying for a quick recovery.
Teri Snow, a volunteer who came from California, brought a lot of joy and excitement to our week when she and the rest of her group from Inland Hills Church were here. She made a lasting impression on me. We still keep in contact, and she’s been very supportive. That's just an example of one volunteer's affect.Volunteers really are such a blessing!
A majority of the time things are very positive and we have a great time. However, it’s not always smiles and fun. When I came down to Alabama I knew there were going to be things I didn’t know. I knew I would need assistance with carrying plywood or buckets full of drywall mud. There have been days that I have wanted to quit and go home. The devil was trying his hardest to get me on a plane back to North Carolina because he didn’t want me doing things for the Lord. I persevered because I know the Lord has big plans for me!
As you can see, working here in Alabama has had its tough times, but more importantly it’s provided new friendships and more love for people than I could ever imagine. This is only the beginning. I can’t wait to see what God has in store next!
Miss Patrice and family members can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel of homelessness as we prepare to build her home back! The wall panels of the home were built and donated by Bux-Mont Christian Church in PA. Help Build Hope is a branch of Crossroads Missions that brings the mission experience right to the parking lot of your church, which is what Bux-Mont does every year. They build a house (wall panels) and then give them away to someone in need and this year Next Step STORM, and now Patrice, was on the receiving end!
Of course you all know that we are hurting for volunteers; which brings us to this....Would you consider bringing a team to help build Miss Patrice's home or others like her who remain in a broken home or no home at all? It doesn't have to be a large team and the coordination is simple. If you've ever thought about leading but are fearful of taking that step, now's a good time to cast those fears aside cuz it don't get no easier than this! (I know that's bad grammar, sorry Mom!) Announce your planned week of service in Birmingham at your job, local civic club, church, and to your friends. Collect the little bit of paperwork and team fees and arrange transportation (something like this....OK, Bill and Jean goes with me, and Harry and Sally go with Bob). Then just show up ready to serve and we'll do the rest...3 squares a day, a tempurpedic like mattress, and all the work you can handle.
There is sooo much more to do here and in such a depraved area to begin with. To be honest, we don't know how we're gonna build Patrice's home! We only have two more weeks of volunteers signed up this year. OK, so we do know. GOD! Sometimes you just gotta take the next step in faith. The Lord seems to often use situations that we don't understand or can't see how it's gonna get done.
"For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”" 1 Corinthians 1:25-31
Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? James 2:5
I've been thinking lately....Several years ago when we were at Hope City in Gulfport, MS, we were honored to have a distinguished and highly respected guest meet with us. I don't even remember exactly what the conversation was about but it had something to do with raising finances to continue the efforts of rebuilding after Katrina. The comment was made "no money, no ministry" and it struck a chord in me for some reason at the time and I have never forgotten those few words. I really never liked that saying and couldn't put a finger on why. But as I thought about it, and realized the reasoning behind it, I had to admit that it did seem logical in today's world.
Well, the saying came back to us again one night in a conversation between me and my beloved as we sat in the living room pondering thoughts together. Once again I don't remember the conversation or how the saying came up, but I do remember a new thought that came to mind "He who controls the money controls the ministry". (BTW- I just googled that in quotations and there were "0" results! So I'm claiming that quote!) It didn't strike me at the time but the next morning it hit me how profound that was! Wow! That was good! But I do realize that it's not a new concept, the Bible says in Matt 6:19-21 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
My new quote really hit my passion nerve. You've heard these few words a million times- "The American Dream". What is the American Dream? I didn't take the time to google the history behind this but I suspect it originally had something to do with coming to a new land of freedom, to start a new life of liberty and thereby attaining happiness. You know...Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So what is that now? It seems to me that today it means a great job with benefits, a dream home filled with electronics, techno gadgets, antiques, or whatever else pleases me, at least 2 cars in the over cluttered with junk garage, man toys of some nature, a hot tub if you're in the north and swimming pool if you're in the south, 2 vacations of self pampering a year......whatever it is that I deserve in my kingdom. "I deserve it because I worked hard for it!" Man, that sounds harsh. Back the hoarding truck up! OK, so it's not that any of that stuff is necessarily a sin cuz God looks at the heart and so it's the motivation behind the stuff that matters. I get that. Which brings us back to my new quote....you see that?! I even take pride in the quote that came from my mouth! Tsk tsk! It's not profound to me because I thought about it, it's profound because I believe the Lord spoke it into me! You hear what I'm saying? When God blesses us whether it's financially, or with a spiritual gift, or whatever; who gets the credit? Do I give the Lord control of the "treasures" he's given me, or do I make them mine to satisfy me or make me look good?
**I know that I sometimes use improper grammar for various reasons, none of them being cuz I don't know no better.