Monday, August 04, 2008

Report on Cedar Rapids Flood Team

I admit it. I'm totally self-centered. I love comfort. I dislike being inconvenienced. So I was quite at home sitting by the lake at our family cabin last week...probably the most relaxing place on earth for me. Then why did I agree to cut short my vacation to lead a team to do flood relief in Iowa? That's what I was asking myself at week's end!!

You see, four more days by the lake were sounding pretty good to me
while traveling 11 hours round trip to gut out a waterlogged house in 90 degree heat and humidity was rapidly losing its appeal! And then this little voice inside me said, "You need this more than you need more time at the lake." I'm familiar with that little voice. I have conversations with it all the time! Maybe you know what I mean.

ter a little attitude adjustment I was able to actually look forward to my trip and I wasn't disappointed. Without writing a book let me just give you some quick reasons why serving fills me up;
  • When I do it with a team, I get to know those people better and in a way I'd never get to know them. The 15 people with me on this trip were a treat to work with.
  • I get to see the country. The trip to Cedar Rapids was beautiful.
  • I get to meet new people in the serving site and hear their story. In Cedar Rapids, we heard their story of suffering and hardship (maybe life isn't all about me, huh?). Did you know that there were as many homes flooded in Iowa as there were in New Orleans?
  • I get a new perspective on my possessions. When you stand with a home owner and throw every material possession that he worked so hard for into a bacteria infested waterlogged pile of garbage, it makes you think twice about your pile of stuff back home. Maybe there are more important things to invest in.
  • I get the chance for people to give back. Our hosts in Iowa went out of their way to serve us, feed us, encourage us and house us. They even fixed my van for free when I dropped my exhaust pipe. It's a very rich and humbling experience to be with two groups of strangers that are working very hard to serve the other group.
  • I get to radically change someone's life that was hopeless. Our team of 16 gutted an entire house in seven hours...a job that would have taken the owner weeks to do on his own. We hit that house like a SWAT team and left him feeling like maybe things would work out after all.
  • I get to learn from people ahead of me. The church that hosted us just celebrated their 50th anniversary and were on the brink of moving into a 5 million dollar building. It was great to think about Cedarbrook taking the same steps in years to come if we follow their example of faithfulness.
  • I get to see God. I really think God is at the heart of service. He is also at the heart of rest. But he's nowhere to be found in selfishness.
I'll stop here. You get the idea. Our 30 hour trip to Cedar Rapids, Iowa filled me up. If I didn't preach a sermon every Sunday I would love to do that on a regular basis. I can't...but maybe you can! Try it...just once and prove me wrong! But I think you'll find that serving changes your life in a way you never imagined. Here are some pictures from the trip...

To the left is John Anderson, Ryan Jensen, Darline Thompson and Karen Hofland looking very clean before the work started.

Below is our house with some of it's contents on the curb. Maddie and Jordan Wold are getting psyched up to start mucking out the basement!

These ladies are still smiling after some hard work...Karen Flodquist, Karen Hofland, Diane Colson and Nikki Schnell.

I'm still waiting for pictures from my team. The rest of the team consisted of Greg Wold, Tonya Anderson, Elli Hunt, Darlene and George Anderson and my wife, Lisa.

By the way, while we were in Iowa, we had two teams in New Orleans. Now read about their work on their own blog!

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