The last few years of my life have been spent learning that God wants me to "show up." I want our family to do God's work and to love with actions, not just words.
You don't have to look too hard to find the brokenness in your own community. I dropped off some papers at the courthouse several weeks ago and in my fifteen minutes there I encountered a guy in his early 20's: unemployed and had to pay child support for his little girl, an attorney picking up paperwork for three clients getting divorces, and a mentally insane woman walking down the sidewalk repeating the same few sentences over and over, complete with several four letter words.
I believe God wants us to help those around us, in our community, in addition to the needy all over the world. I think it's pretty sad that we don't do ANYTHING in Santa Maria, the town God has us living in--Kevin doesn't work here, we don't go to church here, we don't know anyone here (save the Gibsons, but I don't think they need our help. :) )
For awhile now I've been wanting to help AIDS patients. Obviously my capacity to help is limited by having four kids but I AM home all day; I figure I could make a meal or drop some groceries by--just a little something to help, that my kids could help with too. Interestingly, there is apparently only one organization (that I could find) offering assistance to those suffering with AIDS in our community, Pacific Pride. (For those who don't know, Pacific Pride is a gay/lesbian organization. The homosexual community is extremely active in the fight against AIDS.)
First off, I think it's shameful that the Christian community as a whole has not reached out more to help those afflicted with this disease. Second, I was unsure about volunteering with Pacific Pride. But I thought about it and decided that this organization's work with AIDS patients (operating a food pantry and delivering groceries to them, for example) is GOD'S work. SO I called Pacific Pride and left a dorky message on some guy's voice mail about what I wanted to do.
Well they never called back! You know you must be a real loser when you get rejected from volunteering! :) I did find an organization (not homosexual, but secular) in SLO County that takes volunteers, and I'll request to just help in Nipomo/Five Cities, but I'm bummed it's not Santa Maria, and I haven't contacted them yet. Truth be told I think it can be a blessing to volunteer with a non-religious organization. (Which is probably my only option anyhow since this is not a cause typically championed by Christians.) I think we should be willing to work side by side with people of other religions, ideologies, sexual orientations, whatever, to do the work of Jesus. A good picture of being "salt and light." I don't want to run from things that get into gray areas or that aren't all neat and tidy.
Anyhow I'm hoping something works out with this SLO County place. I am a TERRIBLE flake and procrastinator (and really need to get on the ball with this) but I want to be purposeful in how I live my life and how our family loves others. I'll post something more about this once something materializes!