New York Reflections 

May serving become as natural to you as breathing, that you don’t even need to think about it.

-Kyle Rainbolt

I’ve realized several things this week, like how often I take simple things for granted…things like unlimited clean water, shelter from the rain, and bathrooms with toilet paper.

Community is also something I overlook more than I should. Most people in New York City seem very disconnected from one another.

In a city so huge and so diverse, you would think this was unavoidable. The majority of people are friendly if you talk to them, but they sit on subways and streets with somber faces, clutching their belongings close, and listening to iPods.

They look weary and disconnected from those around them. 

And yet they are beautiful.

They are glamorous.

They are dirty.

They are human.

They are loved.

As different and as segregated as the boroughs are, the subways are as diverse as it gets.

There is no dress code.

There are no minorities.

Being crammed on a crowded subway with so many styles, so many languages, and so many ethnicities was eye opening and beautiful to me.

The greatest sense of community that I got was at a prayer service we attended at Brooklyn Tabernacle. Hundreds of us gathered together and openly worshiped and prayed to our heavenly father.

The people there were warm and genuine, and several of them came to our row and prayed for us, even though they didn’t know who we were or where we were from. It was a fantastic community.

The pastor spoke about rest, and what it means to allow God to move through us in order to accomplish more through him.

It challenged me to make more of an effort in my daily life to rest in God’s strength. Right now I’m working seven days a week and I’m almost always tired to some degree. I plan to lighten my schedule when the summer ends.

But until my commitments are fulfilled, I intend to take time each day to rest in God and allow him to renew my strength so that I may serve him better.

There was also a moment in the church service where the pastor showed a video from a missions group their church had recently sent to serve in Haiti. It was simple, but truthful. The video showed the needs of a family there, and how the church group had worked to build a church for them.

All I could think of was how beautiful the work they did was, and how it was exactly the kind of video I could have made.

I realized that the desires God gave me to worship him through video, service projects, and travel could be interconnected. That maybe just part of his plan for me was to go to those places and document what was there, to show people here the truth and encourage them that even the smallest things make a difference.

I also learned this week that in order to serve others, you must start with those close to you. I want to start serving my family and friends better, and then pass it on to the community. This is hard for me, because I tend to think only about the big-picture. But sometimes all you have to do is start it.

This week one of my favorite jobs was painting a mural on a gym wall for a VBS in Queens. I was into it. I felt like I was doing something big. However, we had to leave after only an hour and a half of painting.

It felt like we had just started, and gotten nothing done. It was hard for me to leave the project unfinished. But I know that in a week or two another group of volunteers will pick up where we left off, and the project will be one step closer to completion.

So even though it doesn’t feel like I’m doing much, even now, I realized that I’m part of something bigger. The body of Christ isn’t about me doing everything and getting all the glory. It’s about me putting in my best efforts, fully relying on the other parts to do the same, and trusting God for the fruit.

So in the end it doesn’t really matter what I do, but how much love I put into it. I pray the Lord would continue to mold my heart and my desires, and use me however He sees fit.

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