Is there anything later than a epilogue? The life of a college student is not conducive to prompt follow up.
So we’ve been back a little over one week now, but I had some closing thoughts about the trip. AND, since I am so late in doing so, you will get the best of my thoughts over the past 7 days (Atleast that is my spin on being too busy). Oh, this is Ali by the way, I just assume everyone knows (yes, my head may be growing so large I will have to give my hats away).
Now I realize that two trip to New Orleans does not an expert make, but I still use these experiences to get on my soap box every once in awhile (What? A social worker dismantling people and “telling them like it is”, that’s weird). I feel like these trips and experiences have taught me a lot, and this trip specifically about being grateful. If my family fell into that stereotypical tradition of going around the table at Thanksgiving and saying one thing we are grateful/thankful for, I would have this locked up for the next two decades. I could start with Buffalo Wild Wings, Vera Bradley handbags, a loving family both in my home and in my church, a roof over my head and on and on and on. But, at the top of the list would be God’s indescribable gift that is outlined in 2 Chorinthians. The gift of eternal life and forgiveness. For me personally, I always feel like I need to reciprocate any kind of nice gesture or action. I have to stop myself before I start sending out thank you cards for thank you cards I receive. I have this strong desire to “be square” with people. But really, I can never repay God’s gifts, but lucky for me He doesn’t expect me to.
BUT, (isn’t there always a but?), we ARE called to give our money, time and talents (YES, we all have them. Mine is as simple as fitting into small spaces) to accomplish God’s purpose. We are to feed, clothe, and house the poor (Or, what NDRI, the organization we worked for, referred to as the least, the last, the lost.. And yes, I am going to steal that and use it in my practice). I think we are to paint, mud (400 lbs worth!), lay flooring, wash houses, learn and grow in each other and the community and show God’s love by our actions and tell people about our hope in Jesus Christ.
Knowing God changes our thinking… I know Rod has talked about how it is not all about us, but rather it is about God working through us. When we open every aspect of our lives to God’s guidance, we become more effective disciples. We can then bless others as we share what God has given us. I guess I feel like that is a lot of fancy talk (That’s what you get after 5 years of college and 2 degrees) for saying that God calls us to show His love to the people who feel forgotten and really need to see His gifts and purpose at work. These trips are an excellent outlet for this.
Soo.. We are back and back at our everyday life and the challenge of keeping the passion and purpose is threatening to creep in as we descend the mountain top experience into the valley and what my Dad calls the “nitty gritty.” BUT, I trust that God will provide everything we need and we won’t forget why we went and why He called us there.