My first two years in DFW I was car-less and it was tough! If you have lived in the DFW area you know this restricts what is available. The simple actions of grocery shopping, leisure, and work are all cumbersome.
One of the great blessings was my friend Scott. I can’t speak highly enough of Scott who is a person I am thankful to call my friend and brother in Christ. Scott has many definitions and he happens to a person who is in a wheelchair. In his truck that Scott and I became friends while Scott drove my helpless, car deprived self, around the DFW area. Through Scott, I was able to learn to understand what it means to be reliant on another and to begin to see a differing perspective of a person with a disability. Scott went on to work with an organization named Joni and Friends who serves people with disability in the DFW area.
Recently at Arapaho Road Baptist Church – College and Career Ministries. On our Friday Night Hangout an impromptu conversation started about mental disabilities. The conversation centred around families and personal stories. As the conversation progressed it went into “How can we serve people with disability?” An idea appeared “Know them and serve them”
That’s it! We cannot begin to serve without knowing who we are serving. I knew Scott served with Joni and Friends so I gave him a call. Luck would have it that they were doing a Christmas party where we could help serve.
The night happened and our C + C showed up to serve where needed. The goal of the night from our perspective was to learn. Learn about serving people with disability by learning what fears or assumptions you have, learn to care for them, and learn to grow. Make no assumptions about what you know (or don’t know) and learn to see people for their strength.
The night continued I helped out at the bouncy castle where I desperately tried to get young kids to have their parents sign waivers before they charged in with the unquenchable spirit. The night was fun, it was exhausting, and it was time for reflection. Sitting down at the end of the night we all talked about our nights.
We learned about the needs of a family who supports a person with disabilities. It is a full time 24/7 job. One that is fulfilling and exhausting. We learned that Joni and Friends offers a summer camp that supports both people with disabilities and their families an opportunity to learn about God, rest, and have fun by people who are trained.
We learned that ministry is how we live our lives in service. Ministry means to serve and learn from all types of people. We are called to love one another. Not out of pity, responsibility, or desire of status but to be Christ’s followers. As the Gospel of John says in 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Sometimes we need a bouncy castle with Joni and Friends or given a car ride to truly learn the value of learning. We can learn by serving and we can learn by spending time with those we don’t understand. The goal though remains “love one another as Christ loved you.” This weekend Arapaho Road Baptist Church C + C learned a little bit more of what it is to do ministry and serve the unfamiliar.