Wednesday, May 29, 2013

God Chooses a Few....

I love how God is always working through others to change my perspective which always results in peace of heart and mind….

It was several weeks back, and Alf Clark was preaching the Sunday evening sermon at Calvary.  I must admit that it is truly an effort for me to make this service after working a 6-day work week, volunteering at Super Saturday, attending the first service at Calvary, and then heading off to Kent Community to escort residents to their worship service.  Now, it was about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, and I just wanted to be selfish with the rest of my day….but Alf was the speaker, and if you've ever heard him preach, you understand.  I had also told my fellow volunteer, Gina, I would be there, so there was no backing out. 
Chris with one of her favorite 5 and 6 year olds.

Saturday arrived and I had no hot water, and I didn’t even want to look in the basement.  Yep, a big old flood and a plugged drain.  I spent 7-8 hours Saturday snaking out a drain, sucking up water 5 gallons at a time into a Shop Vac, rolling it to the drain (only 1 of 3 rooms is above drain level), lift and tip…27, 58, 76, 94, lost count after 100.  Sunday morning my friend Laurie's husband, Mike, arrived to assist me in getting and installing a new water heater.  Just one problem, my lower back was already on fire from Saturday and there was just me, all 5 feet 1 inch, to help Mike get the new heater down and old heater up my narrow basement stairs (my favorite part was when I was on bottom of the heater and Mike would say, "Chrissie, I gotta let go a minute - you got it?")…Oh, I am so going to pay for this.  I kept thinking, if we finish up soon enough I can lie on a heating pad for an hour or so and be able to move to make it to Calvary by 6:00p.m.  Mike, however, was in absolutely no hurry as his wife was on Day 2 of her colonoscopy prep, and she was not dealing very well with this; thus, he was perfectly happy lollygagging on this particular Sunday to avoid being at home!!

I finally made it to Calvary, praising God for IcyHot Patches and Motrin.  I didn't know what hurt the  most - sitting, standing, or walking, but I made it, like I told Gina I would (of course, after all this, I couldn't even find Gina to sit with!!).  Alf's preaching was so uplifting, and provided a much needed laugh.  Oh my, he hurried down from the platform worried about a strange noise he was hearing as though the sanctuary were going to blow. A woman who works at Calvary went up there to turn off the alarm clock that was used during a drama earlier in the evening. The whole scene was hysterical.  Okay, now for some serious preaching on serving others.  Wait a minute, what was that Alf just said? "God uses the few to impact the many."  Wow, why do I feel so impacted by this?  Is there something specific God needed me to hear tonight?  And suddenly, I understood.

Even back in my darkest, evil-living times, God led me towards serving others.  I can't seem to grasp, with all the needs out there, with so many people who have nothing but time on their hands, and with all the time we spend serving ourselves, why so many people can't spare a couple hours a week to serve others.  I know I'm wrong to think these thoughts and that it is absolutely none of my business what anyone else does.  Still, being weak and human, I find it shameful how more and more self-serving our society is becoming. 

Alf stated, "God uses the few to impact the many."  It was one of those moments when God spoke right into my heart - that, in spite of my many failings and shortcomings, God still picked me to be a part of the few.  So, thanks to Alf's sermon shared on an evening when I really wanted to stay home, I will never again look at others living only for themselves in the same light as I used to.  I will feel a bit of sadness for them that they are missing out on being a part of the few.  

~guest author, Chris, volunteer

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Night to Remember...

Jewelry? Check! 
Shoes? Check!
Dress? Check!

As I readied myself for the WCSG Father/Daughter Banquet, I couldn't help but wonder how "ma girls" were doing.  Last year, I had the pleasure of attending this Daddy/Daughter date night with my dad. Few months after the banquet, some UFM teens were talking to Mr. Dan, a faithful volunteer staff member, about the event, commenting on how they wish he would take them to the banquet in 2013.  Dan approached me shortly after his conversation with the girls asking if I'd be willing to help make this happen. 

 On Friday, April 12th, Dan escorted Mikela, Miracle, and Sarah. Luke, another volunteer, escorted Jaira and Ashari, and my dad, Dave, escorted Deshownna and me to the WSCG Father/Daughter Banquet. Each of us has a different "father" story, but this evening we were escorted by three incredible men who simply wanted to treat us all like princesses.

We rode to Hudsonville in a UFM 15 passenger van, and sashayed into the Pinnacle Conference Center in Hudsonville.  Ok, so we're not the "sashay" types, so some ran, some wobbled in on stylish heels, and the men walked coolly to the door.

The girls were all dressed to the nines in pretty dresses, cute shoes, and accessories to match. The men looked dapper and Mr. Dan wore a fancy new suit!  We met at the UFM office to snap some photos and hop in our "sweet ride."  The girls were all a flutter with anticipation.  After arriving at the event site, we found our table, got comfy and stared around the room. What fun it was to see all the dads and their daughters enjoying time with each other.  Not a frown to be seen.  

Dinner was served. A fancy dinner.  We had multiple forks and cloth napkins.  The girls were so precious as they navigated their way through this high-class affair.  We ate our salads and rolls, and waited for the main course.  The presentation was lovely, Hawaiian chicken, green beans, and mashed potatoes smothered in a Hawaiian pineapple sauce.  We dug in…but, hungry as we were, for some around the table, the fancy food did not meet their expectations, so they ate cake and rolls and salad all the while making hilarious, disgusted faces as the rest of us finished our meals.

Jason Castro, American Idol season seven fourth runner up, was the entertainment for the evening. The girls talked through much of the concert, commenting on his musical style, other people's outfits, the decorations, the food, etc.  The little girls, ages 10 and 11, tried hard to stay engaged, but the music just wasn't their style.  At one break when Jason was introducing his next song, we heard noises that sounded like radio interference. My dad and I looked down and saw that Jaira and Ashari were laying underneath a chair watching Spongebob Squarepants on someone's cell phone.

At evening's end, the emcees announced that all ladies would receive a flower as they left.  All of the girls were excited. After snapping a few more photos, we made our way to the door.  As the girls  received a carnation from the Cornerstone Radio staff, their faces lit up. Some had never received a flower before so they felt extra special.

As we rode home, the girls chattered about the event, school, friends, and the homework they had to complete over the course of the weekend.  As we left, lots of hugs were exchanged and many "thank-yous" expressed. 

What an incredible experience the evening was!  I am so thankful to be surrounded by incredible students, volunteers, and family and am so very grateful to have shared such a memorable night with such great friends.  

~guest author, Heidi, staff