Missions work is not a foreign concept to me. Though I have traveled to foreign lands to serve God, the act of serving for His kingdom is not something that has confused me or given me pause. It seems very simple: show up, do work, save people.
I recently spent the weekend at City of Refuge with women from my church. We all went into this experience completely unaware of what we were going to do, but as I mentioned before, I had some ideas of what I could expect: doing a lot of work in a little period of time. This is not at all what happened when we arrived on campus.
The RATL model of service is about “being with” the women and children instead of “doing for” (which is what my previous definition looked like). And as I began to just sit and listen to stories from the women in the room, I realized something incredibly humbling: I AM these women. In other words, nothing separates me from them. And when several volunteers mistook me for a resident, it became clear to me that God was at work in my heart, redirecting my image of “broken” to look very similar to the image I see daily in the mirror. As each woman I spoke with shared her own brokenness, it became abundantly clear to me I wasn’t there to save anyone, but to remember that I too am in need of a Savior.
So I didn’t rescue anyone during my time at RATL. I was the one who was worked on, by God, from the inside out. These women know Jesus by name: they have seen Him work miracles in their own lives and they have stories to prove it. Every woman I spoke with ministered the gospel to me by being with me and being transparent. And I walk away realizing that we are all broken, in need of salvation, and as we share our stories and spend time with one another, God’s hand is at work mending our hearts and knitting our tales together for His greater good.