Friday, November 8, 2019

A Catalyst for Change

      The other day, per the Elaine norm, I was procrastinating by surfing through Pinterest, reading inspirational quotes about faith and leadership. Personally, quote surfing is a favorite pastime of mine and one I am constantly impressed by in its ability to change my perspective with one or two simple, yet profound sentences. In this instance of Elaine’s productive procrastination, the phrase, “You’re the one who runs in my direction when the whole world walks away.” caught my eye. This lyric, written by Matthew West in reference to God, struck me as so profound.  What a crazy concept. To run, as fast as you possibly can towards someone, when the rest of the world chooses to run away from them. To choose to love someone unconditionally when the rest of the world chooses to turn aside.
     Last summer, I had the opportunity to partner with Convoy of Hope-Europe, along with some other members of my church and travel on a service trip to four different countries. Convoy of Hope is an incredible, first-responder organization similar to the Red Cross (check out their website, it’s worth it) that also works to build up struggling communities and people groups across the world. We spent the majority of our time working with the Roma Gypsy people in the mountains of Slovakia near the Ukraine border. This incredible people group is treated similar to African-Americans during the 1950s and 1960s in American history and are often discriminated against and rejected from their towns and communities. Throughout the course of the trip, I was constantly struck with awe and appreciation at how the leaders we worked with simply, unashamedly just loved on these people. It didn’t matter if they had a home, money, had showered or eaten in the past week, or if the rest of the community said to ignore them. These leaders chose to run as fast as they possibly could toward the Roma Gypsy people despite the fact the rest of the world had turned a cold shoulder. Simple kindness is truly a catalyst for change. It is the spark that allows renewed hope to flame. During the course of the trip, it was absolutely incredible to watch how the intentional, kind, and loving actions of the leaders we worked alongside had changed the community from one of despair to one of life, energy, and hope for the future. The same individuals who had once been hopeless were now leaders themselves, working to serve others the way they had been served.

      What if we did the same? What if we became a catalyst for change, just as these incredible leaders were throughout the Roma Gypsy communities in Slovakia? What if we chose to run towards people, whole-heartedly and unashamedly, even when the world runs away? Maybe it looks like choosing to help that classmate who struggles in a school subject that you rock. Maybe it looks like volunteering your time at a food shelf, nursing home, or hospital over the course of the holiday season. Perhaps it looks like simply choosing to smile and compliment someone who looks like they’re having a rough day. Whatever it is, today, choose kindness and choose to run towards people.

Stationed by the Ear of Corn,
Elaine Dorn

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