Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparing, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:6–7).
Because we are created in the image of God, the greatest giver, we are more whole people when we give and serve.
Last summer, Mennonite Disaster Service MDS) built a home for Jim and Sue Carlson near Williams Lake, B.C. Due to the remote location, most volunteers stayed on-site in RVs, rather than making the hour-long drive from Williams Lake everyday. The Carlsons were also living in an RV on their yard while waiting for their home to be rebuilt.
One month, we only had one volunteer couple staying on-site. We worried they would feel isolated.
Their experience couldn’t have been farther from that. They were welcomed by the Carlsons: working alongside each other, eating meals together, and doing morning devotions together.
The volunteers were served by the homeowners just as much as the other way around.
MDS also got to see the community serve Jim and Sue. The Carlsons had moved to Canada more than 40 years earlier to serve as missionaries to the Chilcotin Nation. Now their community surrounded them, stopping by to help on the home. And the local lumber mill donated timbers for the front porch.
The Carlsons had to learn to be recipients, but they never stopped giving; MDS volunteers got to be recipients of their generosity.
MDS restores hope to individuals and communities, not only hope of recovering from the disaster, but hope in people and in faith – a hope that restore wholeness and changes lives.
Kelsey Friesen is volunteer and project coordinator for Mennonite Disaster Service in Winnipeg.