17,291 Lunches + 400-500 Children + 38 Drivers and Riders + 26 Checkers/Packers = 1 Mission: Building the Kingdom of God. The MUST Ministries Summer Lunch Program wrapped up it’s 9th year at Heritage on Tuesday, July 31st thanks to your generous donations of time, money, and food. Here are a few things that I’ve learned:
Collective Efforts = Exponential Return on Time - You would think that two people doing the same job would make it get done twice as fast. But it’s more than that. Every weekday we would pack over 400 lunches in a little more than 15 minutes, and even on the days we would make the sandwiches and set up bags, it still only took 45 minutes to an hour. There is power when people work together. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV) says, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken,” meaning when we work together, we can accomplish so much more. I like how The Message puts it: “By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” I wonder what would happen if we carried this collective effort idea into other areas of our lives? What would the world look like if everyone lived that way?
$1 Goes a Long Way - What would you think it would cost for a brown bag filled with a sandwich, a drink, a bag of chips, and a fruit cup? Would you believe it’s less than $1? “Extreme Poverty” is defined as anyone who lives on less than 1 US dollar per day, and current numbers show that around 1 billion people around the world live this way. $1 goes a long way.
Smiles and Barriers - Many of the children who receive our donated lunches are the children of immigrants. For most of us, we’ve lived a sheltered life in relative safety, so there’s often more than just a language barrier between the “insiders” of American culture and those who are newly arrived. For a long time in my life, an “immigrant” was more of an idea than a living, breathing, struggling human being because I had never met one (or at least I had never had an in-depth conversation with one in a language that both of us could understand). That all changed during my college years when I made a close friend from Venezuela and heard his personal stories. Once you’ve made an authentic human connection with someone, it’s hard to still maintain “idea” version. Once you’ve connected with their story, it changes your perspective. I don’t know where you are in this journey, but I know that for me this summer stepping out of my car into these communities and seeing where these children live and seeing the smiles on their faces as I gave them a lunchbag--all of this had a profound effect on my perspective as a human being in this world. I pray for more smiles shared and for more barriers broken in what lies ahead.
I am grateful and humbled by our community of people who care so deeply about their neighbors. It is such a blessing to work alongside you, truly building the Kingdom of God.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve!