I drive by the location of our new Community Center and Clinic every day to check on the progress of our new facility, and it brings back many childhood memories. I grew up in the Village and we looked forward, with great anticipation, to the summer time when all the neighborhood kids would walk up to the Village Pool and spend the day. As I looked around, people were on the high dive, the low dive, the shallow end. Some were dangling their feet in the pool, some were reading under the umbrella and others were hanging around the concession stand. While “everybody” went to the pool, the part of the pool they enjoyed or spent their time was different. Years after the pool closed, I realized that at some point, we have to be active; we have to take the initiative and “just jump in” to experience the fun and the rush.
The Bible contains a similar kind of principle for us in Psalm 34:8. It simply says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Enjoy how some of your Crossings brothers and sisters have decided to “jump in” and are “tasting” and experiencing the full goodness of God through their service in our local community.
- I would have to say the entire trajectory of my life has changed as a result of volunteering … everything from the things I value most to the people I enjoy spending time with to the priorities in my life … I really feel like I am a different person. —Debe Allen (Disaster Response Team, Clinic)
- Through volunteering, I have learned to rely on God for His strength and wisdom and not my own. I have learned to ask for His words and not rely on my own words. God is the ultimate compassionate volunteer who I feel walks beside me. Volunteering has made me realize God is everywhere, even in the smallest details, if I only look. —Kay Tangner, Whiz Kids Tutor
- My life is full of joy in helping mentor and improve the reading skills of my student through Whiz Kids. I believe we become our best when we are serving others and have the chance to demonstrate the love of Jesus. —Howard Hunt
- One of the great things about serving at Crossings Community Clinic is the opportunity to pray with my patients without worrying about institutional guidelines or someone looking over my shoulder. Taking a few minutes to get a sense of where the patients are emotionally and spiritually is really worth it to offer a meaningful prayer that meets them where they are. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to figure that out, and I may offer a fairly generic prayer and wonder if I really did anything useful. Occasionally in those circumstances, I have been profoundly impacted when that same patient will ask to pray for me. That patient, who does not know me personally or any of the details in my life, will then ask for the Lord’s help for me in a particular area with which I am struggling at that very time. So God Himself is ministering to me directly through the person I am ministering to myself. It is a great faith-builder to see how He is always in control and continually blesses me in ways I cannot comprehend and often cannot see. —R. Michael Siatkowski, MD
- Volunteering in the medicine room at the Clinic has given me the opportunity to know more people who need prayer, and it has deepened my joy in praying for others. —Louanne Trueblood
- God brought four amazing Rwandan students into our life at Crossings one Sunday four years ago. Before that encounter, I viewed volunteering as a “when I feel like it” duty if I found the “perfect” time and place to volunteer … so we kept asking (and delaying) but never serving. However, once we got our hands dirty, God began a transforming work in our lives. As a host home to the Rwandan college students, I began to see others rather than focusing exclusively on me. Contrary to public opinion, you are not committing the rest of your life, but for my family, everything changed once we committed to something that required an ongoing sacrifice. —Alan Spies
- Through volunteering, I feel like God has blessed me with an inner joy that has made me want to be closer to Him and love Him even more. This joy has made me want to listen, follow and serve Him so others can see Him through me. My first opportunity to serve was 21⁄2 years ago serving lunch to the homeless at Community of Faith. I’m still doing that, and I absolutely love it. I am so glad Crossings has so many opportunities for serving! —Camille Glasshof
- Volunteering as a teacher-partner with one of our inner-city school partners makes me feel like I’m doing a small part of God’s work here on earth. It is fulfilling, and through it, God has shown me that my time and effort spent volunteering reaps many more benefits than pursuing my selfish motivations ever could. —Stacy Townsdin
- Volunteering with formerly incarcerated women at the Hope House has resulted in the receipt of letters, emails, texts and new friendships. When I began volunteering, I had no idea I would soon become a widow. However, God makes provisions for our need even before the need exists. Imagine what a blessing it was that my sudden loneliness was helped by the letters I received from my pen pals. I’ve become so much more aware of God’s mercy and grace toward me and have grown in my desire to express that same mercy and grace to others. —Julie Blevins
- I serve with the art teacher at Eugene Field. She has been going through so much personally this year; over and over, I keep seeing how God’s power is made perfect in her weakness. She has lots of kids crammed into a room with little to no resources, yet from her teaching, these kids are really getting exposed to great art … both learning about it and creating it themselves. Just to see the students’ faces as they excel in their artwork and like what they are creating has been so cool. I love how it isn’t dependent on the supplies, the space she uses for her room or her lack of patience … God can do anything He chooses wherever He chooses to do it. I thought I’d be so much help to her, but in reality, she amazes me in all she is able to accomplish with so little. God’s power is made perfect in my weakness, too, and getting to work with Donna this year has shown me that the only real stumbling block in my being used for eternal purposes is me. So if I am obedient and willing, He will use me, and ultimately that is what I long for… that and a sense of His presence in my day-to-day life. Thanks for this great connection! Loving art with kids at Eugene Field. —Stacey Allen
- We worked for years to get to the place where we could retire and work for free, and we found true wealth. Through working with children in the inner-city, we have been made aware of MANY THINGS we take for granted. At Thanksgiving, we discovered 23 of our 26 students had never had pumpkin pie! Ed told them it was the best vegetable they’d ever eat! Supporting teachers with prayer and presence filters down as HOPE to children who would otherwise be hopeless. We initially wondered if we were “qualified” to work with kids … it turned out we had attention & kindness to give, and it was exactly what they needed most. —Ed & Allie Frankfurt
- I have volunteered at The Club for five years. This afterschool program at Crossings Community Center serves middle and high school students from John Marshall. Every year, I see myself growing in my faith through sharing it with the students in my small group. My love for them grows along with my sense of purpose and blessing from God. This year, I am mentoring a single student outside The Club time, and it is such a precious relationship! I truly feel God is working in me as much as He is allowing me to touch the lives of these students! —Lisa Gilbert
- I have a passion for kids who, through no fault of their own, are growing up in an environment that puts them “behind the 8-ball” in this world. I began addressing this passion years ago with the semi-conscious idea that I was doing it to make up for the bad things I have done. However, through the volunteers who have entered my life (Sunday School teachers, Men’s Bible study leaders and Crossings’ pastors), I now understand, CONSCIOUSLY and with eyes-wide-open, I can’t possibly do enough to make up for my past wrongs. I learned grace. THAT … has led me to volunteer more passionately than ever before! —Steve Kalmeyer, The Club Inner-City Small Group Leader
“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
“Just Jump In!” originally published by Pam Millington, Pastor of Missions and Outreach at Crossings, in the Spring 2014 edition of Crossings Magazine.