The latest OutReach event took place at the Ellerslie campus in Windsor, CO. Our goals were simple: paint, fix the decks, install a drainage system, lay some sidewalks, enjoy the beauty of God’s creation in Colorado and some good fellowship with friends. As I see the blisters and mosquito bites I acquired that week healing up, I started reflecting on the week from start to finish and realize all that – and so much more – was accomplished.
As folks began arriving from as far away as New York and Massachusetts, and as close as Denver, it dawned on me that most of the group were newbies to the OutReach experience. Yet, the Lord answered our prayers and provided exactly who was needed. We were asked to do a few last-minute additional projects that at first we weren’t sure could be accomplished, so they took a lower priority. However, by the end of the week every project had reached the point of completion – due to the hard work and skill sets of each person who came.
While we worked, sweated and got sunburned, cheerful conversations took place. At any point in time you could walk through each project and hear discussions ranging from theology to history to cultural change. No matter what was being discussed, it was edifying. And when folks ran out of things to talk about the singing started, and one could hear lovely selections of Sound of Music wafting through the halls. J And, at the end of they day, while there might be an occasional comparison of blisters, I never once heard a word of complaining. Everyone was eager to serve the Lord and one another. Rarely have I seen a group so prepared to serve their King.
And, then there was the worship and fellowship. Ellerslie provided daily worship, so that when our bodies were spent, our soul could go and be refreshed. We were challenged night after night to press toward the higher calling we have in Christ Jesus. It’s amazing how one can be so physically exhausted and yet spiritually refreshed all at once. And the fellowship among our group and the folks at Ellerslie can’t be contained in words. Exhilarating is the closest I can come.
The group at this event cried tears of sorrow upon parting. It almost felt like leaving your band of brothers and sisters in the midst of a battle – knowing you’ll always have each other’s backs, even if at a distance. A few days later, after hearing that some pipes had broken and leaked, causing Ellerslie to have to do repairs in the very building we worked in, I was reminded that, yes, we are in a battle. Day in, and day out, whether working together on a project like this or in our day lives scattered across the country - whatever we are doing, we must stand for truth, righteousness, justice, holiness, purity, and Godliness. And should we expect any less? As always, when progress has been made for the Kingdom, what does Satan do but launch an attack. Just one more testimony to the faithfulness of the people at our event.
Usually an event like this can be described in a word or two…but it would take far more descriptors than that. There were so many lessons learned, encouragement shared, life lived, battles won, and dreams dreamed, and the irony of it all is that I would have been happy if there were no paint drips, hammer slips, broken equipment, hurt feelings, or arguments. It was truly an expression of the abundant life we are called to live – and it doesn’t take an event like this to make it happen. All it takes is realizing that we must faithfully serve our Lord who is not only the Great Shepherd, but the one who victoriously fights our battles for us and keeps our hearts knit together in Him.
PS - A big thank you to each person who came and made this event so special!