Ministry of listening

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natalieCarolyn sends this dispatch from Southeast Texas, where hundreds of students are serving during their Spring Break:

Driving along the Texas coast can be a mind-boggling experience. In one sense what you see is a serene picture of Spring bringing new life. But in another sense you realize there is much going on that you cannot see. A pastor’s wife said it well when she expressed it this way, “Ike is the ‘forgotten storm.’ Lots of folks come to Galveston and only see the outside of homes and think, ‘Where is the destruction?’  But the damage is on the inside of the buildings that you cannot see from the street.” 

A volunteer working on a parsonage said, “The disaster passes quickly, but the recovery is a long process.” It may take years for the Texas coast to recover and it will be easy to forget about it unless we keep the need before those who could help. This contractor from College Station said we must keep telling the story and asking people to get involved. Reminds me of the words of Jesus when he told his disciples to open their eyes and see the fields that are white unto harvest. 

And you quickly realize too, that there is much grief and emotional turmoil that is going on inside the hearts and minds of people that you don’t immediately pick up on until you spend some time listening to their stories.  Perhaps one of the best ministries offered is simply the gift of listening. Everyone has a story and they want to tell you about their experience. The words come pouring out and often tears are seen in the eyes of those sharing. There isn’t much you can say and they don’t expect you to say anything. But you can listen and then offer a prayer of hope and a hug of love.

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