Samaritan’s Purse Discovery Trip #5: 5 Days and Counting

Discovery-Trip
This is my fourth journal entry as part of the OCC Volunteer Discovery Trip. The material relates to the third day of actual journalling but publication here will not align to that actual day/date.

The other articles available for this series are:

  1. Samaritan’s Purse Discovery Trip #1: Introduction
  2. Samaritan’s Purse Discovery Trip #2: God First
  3. Samaritan’s Purse Discovery Trip #3: 7 Days Before You Depart
  4. Samaritan’s Purse Discovery Trip #4: 6 Days Before You Go 
  5. Samaritan’s Purse Discovery Trip #5: 5 Days and Counting [this article]

Journal Guide

What role will you be playing during the Discovery Trip? Whether you consider what you are doing big or small, your part is crucial to the results during our trip.

TAKE TIME TO READ ROMANS 12:3-8

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

You may also wish to look up 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

One Body with Many Parts

12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.

14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.

27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 28 Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church: first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages.

29 Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? 30 Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not! 31 So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts. But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.

These passages compare the body of Christ, or the church, with the human body. It is humorous to think that one of our toes would get upset that our hand is getting more attention or use, and decide to stop performing its function. It would be devastating! And that is the point of these passages, that if we as individual Christians decide that we are not as important as other members of the spiritual body and decide to quite performing out functions, the whole body will suffer.

Write in your journal some of the things God has gifted you in. You may be good in music? Perhaps story telling? You may be really passionate about helping – by serving those around you. Write about how you can best serve others.

Close your personal devotion time in prayer by thanking God for the opportunity to be used by Him during our Discovery Trip. Ask Him to continue to show you how you can best serve Him.

Journal Write-Up

When I think about the roles each member of the team will play, it is too early at this stage to comment specifically. Instead, I can only consider generic roles. Thinking about the general principles of team forming, storming, norming and performing, I am very much supportive of the model where my natural personality is positive and polite. I tend to be excited about the networking opportunity and it is very much in this way I align with extroverts. During the forming phase, I hope to ensure this happens quickly and I even tried to advocate whether we could try parts of this phase prior to our Australian-side departure so as to maximise our limited 11-day trip together. Unfortunately, I was reminded that the entire team of 22 people is geographically disparate. Also, Samaritan’s Purse have created smaller groups within this larger group such that my team is a group of six of us – the four of us from Clayton Church plus two others from Tasmania. When you look at the definition and experience of team storming it is one of the most vulnerable times for any team. According to MindTools, storming is where people start to push against boundaries established in the forming stage. Typically there is conflict between team members’ natural working styles. Frustration, doubt and stress are all possible emotional outcomes experienced during storming. Personally, I have the flexibility to adapt to other people’s working styles. My own working style is fluid and in volunteer situations, which is what our Discovery Trip is going to be – just over an extended period, I always take an attitude and mindset which sees me simply offer to help out wherever and however I can. I try to be supportive and help reach out to other team members where they struggle in the forming process.

When I consider the various gifts that God has blessed me with, some are more obvious and have been acknowledged by people around me. Just last Sunday as part of my service in the worship team, I was asked to play the piano instead of the normal singing role I perform. Seeing me on the church stage playing was a surprise to various friends, some of whom were reminded that playing the piano was how I started out as a kid. Even though I have had much time on the piano in recent years, my ability to play remains good as ever. Instead of sheet music, I tried innovating the ProPresenter system to display song chord charts on a custom-designed Stage Display. This was useful during practice, but I found the benefit limited during service, since I had direct visibility of the front-of-house lyrics. Clearly God has gifted me musically and I continue to use these skills for His glory in the ministry of worship at church.

In previous life-group studies and discussions on the 1 Corinthians passage on gifts, one of the conclusions we came to was that God enables us all with ALL His gifts. When a lone missionary is sent into the harvest field, he/she will likely tap into all those gifts according to the pressing need at the time. In this way, that one missionary will have all the gifts of the Holy Spirit within, and simply bring to the forefront the relevant gift according to the circumstance and opportunity.However, this does not mean we can simply switch anytime to any gift, but more so that God will ensure His people are appropriately blessed.

God loves His people and wants to bless us with His gifts. One interpretation of the Parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) and the concluding verses (28 & 29) are that when we apply and utilise our gifts as God intended, maximising them for His glory, He will bless us with more and lead to even greater blessings.

The following was shared by the facilitator leading our devotions as a story which I will reproduce here:

Some tools lived together in a carpenter’s shop. They were having some problems getting along, and some complained that others were not doing their share of work. They met to discuss their issues.
The Hammer spoke first, for he served as the chairman. “Brother Drill,” he began, “you and your family are so noisy. And you seem to spin in circles, but go nowhere.”
The Drill quickly spoke up. “It’s true that I go around in circles, and my work makes noise. But at least I’m sharp. Pencil is small and often so dull that he makes a bad impression. He needs to be sharpened a bit if he expects to be of any use around here.”
Pencil felt defensive and spoke up. “Yes,” he began, “I am a little blunt at times, But it’s because I work hard at my job. At least I’m not rough like Sandpaper here. It seems all he does is rub things the wrong way!”
That remark made Sandpaper really angry. “Hey, what about Ruler here? He measures others by his standards, as though he is the only one right around here.”
Ruler surveyed the group and said, “I’ll go if I have too, but then so must the Screwdriver. He’s so annoying, always tightening here and loosening there.”
Screwdriver angrily spat out, “Fine with me! I’ll go, but Plane must go, too. His work is superficial; there’s no depth to it!” he said.
To this, Plane leveled his terse reply, “Saw’s cuts hurt. She divides instead of unifies.”
Saw rose up to answer these accusations when suddenly a noise at the door stopped all conversation.
The Carpenter walked in, ready to begin the day’s work. He put on His tool belt and stepped to the workbench. He picked up the pencil and ruler. Carefully he measured and marked the wood before him. He sawed along the marks and then planed the cut edges of the wood to smooth the rough edges. He hammered joints into place and drilled holes for screws to make the piece sturdy. Then he sandpapered the wood to a silky smoothness. All day long He worked, using first one tool and then another.
At the end of the day, He gave a hearty blow and blew the dust from the yoke he had worked on.  And then He said, “Beautiful! I couldn’t have done it without my tools. Each one had an important role to play. No one tool could have done all the jobs. They’re all important.”

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