This past Sunday, we had the opportunity to participate in our first Radical Impact Project at Good Shepherd UMC in Charlotte. It was an incredible day, and we would love to share our own separate thoughts and reflections from the experience.
On one of the walls in my office hangs a poster with the word "Synergy" on it. Synergy is defined as "the creation of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts." I've always thought that the church needs to have synergy to what it does. I believe that God could take our individual efforts and multiply them as we intentionally seek to work together, united towards the same goal. Many times, it is easier said than done. Yesterday, however, I witnessed the power of the church and it's synergistic power. Over 2600 people came to Good Shepherd, put on a fashionable hair net and went to work hoping to achieve a common goal: pack 250,000 meals for those who are hungry in Haiti and Guatemala. People paraded in, hair nets in place and motivated to work--some even waiting in line to just to have a chance to serve. Each person had their own role--bag holder, vegetable scooper, bin runner, efficient sealer and box loader. Yet, together, because of the "Stop Hunger Now" system in place that enabled each person to be effective and efficient with their time, we, as a whole, were able to achieve something greater than the sum of ourselves individually. We were able to pack, seal, box and load 254,232 individually packaged MRE's for hungry people. It was an amazing experience to be a part of and even more awesome to watch over the course of a few hours. And it reminded me of the power of what we can do...together when our vision is clear, our hearts are motivated and our effort is united.
We had the privilege and opportunity to go to Haiti on a youth mission trip two years ago. The country, the people, and the struggles left a deep impression on our hearts and have been a part of our prayers ever since. In fact, our compassionate, prayer warrior son Leyton has continued to pray for Haiti almost every night for the last two years. He prays for their land to be restored, for them to trust in Jesus, and for them to have clean water and food. We told him several stories of some families not being able to eat everyday, and as an always hungry 8 year old boy, that overwhelmed his mind and heart. Part of his prayer for the Haitians was sometimes phrased that "someone who had food would share their food with Haiti."
What we learned this past Sunday at our church was that sometimes God uses us to answer our own prayers. Good Shepherd United Methodist Church was part of the Stop Hunger Now's Million Meal March. Instead of hearing a sermon about how we should help others and meet someone else's need, we became the sermon in action. All the chairs were cleared out of the Worship Center and were replaced with tables, funnels, and stacks of food supplies. Over 2500 people from ages 7 to 100 (yes, there was someone there who was 100 years old) participated in packing over 250,000 ready to eat meals in just about 5 hours. It was such an amazing experience! And one of the coolest moments for this mom? I saw my son take an active part in suppling meals for the hungry in Haiti and Guatemala. Did you catch that? Yep, Haiti. The place and people we love dearly and have prayed for on a regular basis. The same people an 8 year old boy longed to see be fed. How beautiful that God would choose to answer his prayers through Leyton's own hands and feet.