A couple weeks ago our Pastor in San Pablo told me he wanted to do some clean up around the small community baseball field, slash, cow pasture. I immediately remembered when a mission team from Center Pointe Christian Church ventured into a similar task and we were surprised to find a dead dog. A friend and myself decided we needed to dispose of the dog because this was an area where so many children played. Let me tell you, this was the worst smell I’d ever encountered, we were gagging and trying to stay down wind as we moved this poor animal. For me, this was my first real opportunity to come face to face with a situation that simply had a completely different set of possible solutions as we would have had if we were in the states.
We can all relate to situations where we began with the best of intentions, but for one reason or another we got derailed or at the very least ended with an outcome that was unexpected.
However, as I was saying, our pastor is asking me to help clean up the baseball field. I gladly said yes, thinking in the back of my head, please Lord no more dead animals! So, the Saturday morning arrived. The plan was to weed wack as much of the field as we could and to gather trash. Our own personal “Keep the DR Beautiful” campaign.
Our pastor went door to door to come up with enough extension cords to reach the field. Some of the extension cords were nothing more than electrical house wiring, with a plug spliced on one end and a wall outlet taped to the other end. As we started to work, the storm clouds over head began to open up and rain was falling. I’m no landscaping and/or electrical expert, but I’m pretty sure using electrical power equipment in the rain with homemade extension cords may not be the best idea – but at least we haven’t found any dead animals.
We worked off and on for several hours due to the rain and the occasional power outage, we were soaked to the bone. After a while, Karen dropped off our son Colin to help with the project – he was less than excited to be working in the rain, but was a real help.
Little did I know that tropical storm Linda was moving over us. At one point two of the extension cords came apart, I was so wet I didn’t have anything to dry my hands on. I’m standing in the road looking at the plugs laying in the rain. Do I pick them up and hope for the best or not? I called an audible and decided it was raining too hard and we should stop for a few minutes. As we moved the cords from the road I could feel the electricity flowing through my hand, it was crazy!
Working in the rain did bring the people out to watch, some from the side and some from their homes. Many children came out to watch, they were interested in the weed wacker and how it worked. When the weather allowed, I showed some of the older kids how to use the weed wacker and gave them a chance to help with the project. We were able to clean half the ball field and it turned out great, the community was actually using the field this past Sunday to play a game of baseball.
In Romans chapter 8, Paul tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. It may not seem like much, but as God is working to redeem His creation, He uses us as instruments of His work. Even a simple clean up project can provide opportunity to build relationships and share God’s love to those around us. So I encourage you to take a risk, maybe get wet, maybe get a little muddy. Its not about the clean up we do on the ball field, it’s about the clean up that God wants to do in each of our lives. Homemade extension cords may get the job done here on earth, but there’s only one way to tap into the life changing power of God and that’s through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We strive to insure all we do at Project Manana is pointing people to Jesus, even cleaning a ball field. It’s about taking the time to invest in people, meeting them right where they are.