The following is a reflection on Brighton Serve 2015 by Linda Jeronimus:
“As the Father has sent me, so I send you. Receive now the Holy Spirit.” John 20:21b
Our church responded “Here I am (we are) Lord.”
From prayer shawl makers, prayer partners, kitchen help, worksite volunteers, creative Gems, encouraging words, those who donated food and items needed to make our church home to 40 youth and leaders, to the sound and overhead booth experts, the clean up crews, the tech savvy, drivers, financial help, to the host team planners, what an amazing church response! Brighton Fellowship showed what Serve is all about! Our church family embraced the teams that came in and encouraged them to go out as we are called.
We sure did not do this alone. We thank Ajax Serve for letting us job shadow last summer. In February, a group of us attended Youth Unlimited’s Summit in Grand Rapids where ideas and encouragement were shared by all. (Thanks also to Alesha and Jerry for keeping us on track, you helped make our first year as a host team a very positive experience! Please know that you are an important part of our team!)
And now, we had a great week! Gord Park was our speaker for the week and our worship band was FMReset. Together they shared their gifts through words, thoughts and ideas, testimonies and music – inspiring!
During the days we worked at different homes in Brighton and Colborne through an organization called Community Care. Much of the work in Brighton was painting, yard work, some renovation work and light construction. We also had a chance to offer a free car wash with the Fire Department donating all the supplies needed. On Friday, we had a Food Bank Drive at No-Frills with many shoppers picking up groceries to fill up the van. The Food Bank sent us a thank you note for the large supply of food and money donated. Great job to the youth and leaders for helping feed the hungry!
One of our jobs was in the Frankford area, getting an old building ready to set up for a Community Partners for Success program. The building was nothing special to look at on Monday but by Friday there were fresh painted walls and a finished mural at the front entrance!
Another one of our jobs was the New Life Girls Home, a home for young women struggling with issues. A Serve team worked one day and were invited to come back and be treated to lunch the next!
We learned to be flexible. We had a really neat opportunity to be part of a community track event. We showered everyday at the local high school and for the first time the community was hosting a twilight track event with a steeplechase run. Some of our youth and leaders wanted to participate so…..everything got shifted 20 minutes and we all put on our Serve t-shirts and cheered our youth and leaders. It reminded me of running the race set before us with a “cloud of witnesses”!
Lives were changed and the Lord breathed his Spirit into all who were here. Youth and leaders shared how the Lord changed their hearts and made them stretch in ways they could not imagine.
Below are just a couple excerpts of some of the notes we received:
From Heather – “What a wonderful service you have initiated to show God’s love in the community. I have been blessed by the wonderful people who have worked diligently to fix up my home. I am more grateful to them and all the people at your church who have contributed to this wonderful service to God and the communities you have helped.” Heather gave all the youth at her place little gifts, it felt like Christmas! She has no money and still gave gifts and a donation to us for next year.
From Alice – “To everyone, I had a wonderful time with all the young people also the leader Eric, it was a wonderful day. I got all my windows nice and clean.” (Alice has come to church every Sunday since.) One of the youth sent a beautiful letter to her prayer partner, an elderly lady and one of the youth also sent a beautiful letter to Alice. Both these women are sharing the letters with others to read!
We also received a thank you from John, a youth leader from Flint, Michigan who has no support from his church. Two of his youth committed their hearts to the Lord during Serve and John was overwhelmed. He told me I had to tell our church that he was truly encouraged by the love and support of our congregation and said, “This church is Spirit filled – it is so obvious.” He told us he was going back encouraged to continue to work with the youth and share the good news of Jesus!
I can go on and on, we were so blessed and we thank the Lord that others were blessed through us.
God has an amazing way of using our plans to change hearts. It was all in his plan from the beginning. We were overwhelmed.
Thanks to the Lord for all He has done!