Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bubble Gum, Stickers, and Boogers - A Mission?

Today's Mission Post comes from author Vicki Tiede.

On June 16th, my family and Magnificent Hope served the Lord and our community with more than 1000 volunteers on 60 sites through our city, Rochester, Minnesota, and the surrounding community. This is the seventh year of this event, which we call CareFest.

 Apparently, CareFest began in Little Rock, Arkansas, when a group inspired by the great biblical leader, Nehemiah, set out to identify and impact the most significant social needs and problems that occur in their community with the purpose of having the faith community respond and meet those needs collaboratively. Similar events take place in Danbury, CT; Austin, TX; and Atlanta, GA.

Oh, friends, there is nothing glamorous about CareFest. This year my husband was a site coordinator at one of the elementary schools, so he left the house before 6 a.m. to meet with all of the other site coordinators for final instructions and to receive t-shirts for their CareFest team. By 8 a.m. our two boys and I were hauling our cooler into a hot, un-air-conditioned school. After our team of 20 kids and adults assembled and donned our maroon CareFest shirts, we set to work. We cleaned every locker in the school … and by “cleaned” I mean we used special cleaners that required the use of plastic gloves and putty knives to remove gum, stickers, and boogers (Come on, people! This is an elementary school!).  Then we moved into every classroom where we scrubbed every chair and desk (top and bottom) to remove glue, pencil marks, markers, stickers, scotch tape, and … yes, more boogers. We also washed all the windows that could safely be reached and counter tops. Glamour? No. The humidity and heat were high that day, but not enough to dampen the equally high spirits of those serving the Lord. What a blessing to pray for the teachers and students as we washed the places where those little hands and feet will go about the business of learning come fall!

That’s what our group tackled this year. At about 60 other sites they were painting, cleaning, repairing, and landscaping. We served organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club, public schools, city parks, crisis pregnancy center, the Bible college, various outreach centers, foster homes for the elderly and those with special needs, a Christian daycare, and needy single women and families from local churches. Two years ago a local Buddhist temple was damaged when vandals painted “Jesus saves” on the temple ground’s concrete. We wanted the Buddhists to know that real followers of Jesus desire to help and not hurt people or their property. Jesus said the adversary Satan came to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came to give people abundant life through the Gospel. So, the weekend after CareFest a team went to the temple to help clean up the damage. In addition, they installed a handicapped access ramp and did some landscaping at the temple.

Now, it’s hard not to share all of this and not feel like we’re giving ourselves a pat on the back – or looking for one from you. Oh, how I wish you could be in the fairground arena with us at 5:00 when we all gather together – covered in paint, dirt, grime, and heaven only knows what else – to break bread and worship together. The pictures tell the story … it’s not about us. As the back of our shirts announce, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve …” (Mark 10:45).

** Now, truth be told, in the early hour as we tried to get all of our supplies, lunches, and kids ready to go, I inadvertently left Magnificent Hope on the kitchen table. However, we took some creative license with our pictures of CareFest and planted her creatively in our midst.  It is our prayer that through the consistent presence of the faith community serving as Jesus served, that Rochester residents will become increasingly aware that Jesus is alive and that they will personally see and feel His lifesaving, restoring love and magnificent hope through us.

About Vicki: Vicki Tiede is an inspiring Bible teacher, conference speaker, and author. Her passion is to open the Scriptures with women in order to share God's grace and enduring faithfulness. She transparently relates life experiences that resonate and draw others into a lifelong pursuit of knowing God.

Vicki's candor and humor are a delight to her audiences, who feel like they've met a new friend moments after she begins to share a glimpse into her life. She consistently points her audiences back to God's Word and presents fresh insights into the Scriptures.

Living in Rochester, Minnesota, Vicki is a wife, homeschooling mom, and the coordinator of women's ministries in her local church. Vicki holds Master's degrees in Ministry and in Education.

Vicki is the author of:

Parenting On Your Knees ... Prayers and Practical Guidance for Parents of Preschoolers 

(FREE on Kindle January 31-February 3, 2013)

Strap on your sense of humor and don some knee pads as you prepare to be equipped for/by Parenting on Your Knees: Prayers and Practical Guidance for the Preschool Years. Vicki Tiede provides parents of preschoolers tools and strategies for parenting and praying when sleep and alone time are at a minimum. You will find hope and encouragement to nurture and pray for your child’s character, behavior, social skills, development, and spiritual growth.

  • When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography ... Healing Your Wounded Heart (October 2012)

  • Plug Me In and Let Me Charge Overnight (2009)

Read more about Magnificent Hope's Journey:

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