Sisterhood Ireland Team 2014 – You’ve Been Served

Tomorrow , like every other Sunday, we will attend Celebration Church.  Just in a slightly different location. Celebration Church Northern Ireland is a young church, having been established in 2010.  They don’t yet have a permanent building, so they are currently meeting at a community center’s gymnasium.

They are a mobile church.  The chairs have to be unstacked and set into place every Sunday morning.  Every piece of equipment, every speaker, wire, monitor, sound and light component  and even the lights themselves has to be loaded and driven to the church.

Then they have to be unloaded and set up.  And after the service is over, it all has to be done in reverse order.  Only to repeat the entire process the next week.  And the next.  And the next.

It is physically demanding.  It takes a team of hard working individuals with a heart for the church to successfully accomplish these things week after week.  Likewise for the ones who provide childcare, run the media station and lights.

And what do they get paid?  Absolutely nothing.  Not in dollars, anyway.

(Excuse me, I meant in pounds).

They are volunteers.  And like very other church, we couldn’t exist without them.

They serve.   And they do it well.  Week after week.

Today, it was our honor to serve the servers.

Our team hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Night here on the grounds this evening.  Pastor John gave us very few guidelines, and said to just make them feel special. I believe we did.

There are challenges to putting on an affair. A few more show up when you are hosting in a different culture.  We know how WE would like to do it, but more to the point is how would THEY like it done?  We may have a few  differences, but we have  more in common.

We serve, too.  And the mindset of one who serves is not, what I want– it is what can I do? How can I assist you?  We look for needs and we fill them.  Even when it’s inconvenient.  Especially on a mission trip.   The heart of a true servant is one who puts the needs of others before his own.

There was nothing inconvenient about today.  We simply asked questions to determine their likes and preferences.  And then we got busy.  Twelve women  quickly divided the tasks.   Some worked on decor, some worked on the more menial chores like vacuuming, dusting, and making the bathrooms shine.  Furniture needed to be moved and groceries needed to be purchased.

And there amidst the busy hum of housework, God gave me my big blessing of the day.

I was unable to blog the night before, and with today’s packed schedule, I wanted to make sure that I did not get further behind.  When the strategy meeting ended and everyone scattered to begin their tasks, I stopped Dena, who is co-leading this team.  I asked her if I could please have a couple of hours somewhere in the day to do the previous day’s blog.  She told me to go ahead and start writing.  I balked, thinking how in the world I could sit and write while the rest of the team is working ?  I was concerned it would appear as though I was trying to avoid some hard work.  She said, “This is what you came here to do.”  And so I set up, at the kitchen table and began to compose.

I am not sure how long I was there, but at some point, someone came behind me and wrapped her arms around me.  As she held me, I asked her  why she was doing this.

“Because I felt like you needed a hug.”

During the next couple of hours,  four other women got that same nudge.  And one by one they stopped by, unaware that others had done the same.

When we broke for lunch, I  told them how much that had meant to me, and I admitted my earlier concerns of how it would look if I sat out during the hard stuff. Every woman at that table, whether she had embraced me or not,  told me that it was never even an issue.

That’s the heart of servanthood; it doesn’t matter what the other person is doing, you focus on the task you were assigned.  And that’s the heart of every woman sitting at that table today.  It was such a beautiful display of grace and teamwork. I am so honored that God chose these women to pour into  my life.

We are sisterhood.

After lunch there was again the hum of busyness, as we  transformed the house and property to resemble a carnival.  The team really did a phenomenal job of putting the event together.

As the guests began to arrive,  we were delighted to see their faces light up at the festive atmosphere.  There was food, games, and props, but mostly, there was love and appreciation for all their hard work and sacrifice .

They were the guests of honor, and it was an honor to serve them.

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~ by Celebration Missions on June 21, 2014.

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