Outreach: The Power of Service

Dirt. Dust. Cobwebs. Over a decade of it. Paint. Faded. Peeling. You almost can't even tell that it was new paint just last year. Sweat. Aching feet. Hair unkempt. Beautiful feet that bear the message of Good News. Feet that come to serve.

The power of service goes beyond words, actions, and deeds. It speaks to the very soul of a person. Inexplicably drawing them towards something, someone, greater than themselves: Jesus. Servitude was what Christ lived for. To seek and to save the lost.

Back in November of last year I had the incredible opportunity to travel with a group of about 80 or so to a remote village in the Casamance. Once there, as explained in the previous post, we all went about our pre-assigned jobs with our crews. I had the privilege of working with the Mural and Paint Team for the second time around. It might not seem like much, a group of rowdy teenagers scraping age-old paint and sun-bleached excuses for a poster off the wall, but in the eyes of those watching from the farthest corners: we held the world.

I set out on the trip looking forward to making a difference in the lives of my fellow man, but in turn, they were the ones to make a difference in mine. If you could just walk through those well-loved classrooms, and dust off the hand-me-down chalkboards... you'd know, you'd realize. I realized that I had not travelled 11 hours to a village just to haphazardly slap some paint on a wall. I hadn't travelled 11 hours just to get a crick in my neck, or to sleep in a tent with grasshoppers and crickets. I travelled 11 hours to serve. Serve, like Jesus did. Serve, with an unconditional love. So... I painted a Zebra.

Ask any of those eyes watching from the farthest corners, it wasn't just a Zebra. It was a legacy. It was life, a sign of new beginnings. It was an "I love you" that didn't need to be translated.

During a few of my breaks, I sought out some of those eyes. I tried to have a conversation with a few of them, but it usually ended in one of two ways. The little girls would either get so enthralled with my blonde hair that I just had to tickle them, which of course led to a ton of giggles. Or the little boys would run away and hide, because, well, boys will be boys. It didn't matter that they didn't speak French, and I couldn't speak their mother tongue. It was love. It was service. It was unity, despite the differences.

Now, I'm not sure how long my Zebra will look like a Zebra. With the dust, it might last until next year, maybe. But I'm okay with that because the lesson engraved upon my heart that trip, isn't going to get dusty or fade away. If there was one thing I learned that trip, it's that you don't need a language, or even a common factor, to serve someone and love them like Jesus did. A smile, and beautiful feet that bear the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, will do that for you.