The Power of a Project
I had the opportunity to be a part of a recent project with Common Ground through NeighborLink Indianapolis on Tuesday morning. I worked alongside a group of students who had come from Clemson University to spend their Spring Break helping those in need in the Indianapolis community. It was an experience that I am thankful to have been a part of, and I look forward to sharing the story.
The man we were doing the work for, Thomas, a disabled veteran, was in dire need of assistance with his bathroom to allow him to be able to use the toilet and have a handicap accessible shower. Prior to this, he had been using the bathroom in plastic containers because it was difficult for him to enter the bathroom in his wheelchair. Even if he had access, the floor was in bad shape, and needed replaced to support the weight of Thomas and his wheelchair.
It was humbling to see the state of Thomas' house, specifically his bathroom, and to know the impact that we would be having by being there to work on this project. It's easy to forget about the humanity of our neighbors. The fact that they are people who need love and have needs that are real, not just the person who doesn't keep up with their yard work or has an eyesore of a house. It's all too common to make judgments before getting to know that person and their struggles.
In Thomas' instance, someone told me that the day after I was there, when they were leaving, they had the opportunity to pray with and for Thomas. After they had prayed, Thomas gave a heartfelt prayer that not only thanked those who were involved, but also prayed blessings over them. It was during this prayer that there was a sense of conviction that spoke to the real reason we work on projects and love our neighbors.
Not only did we meet the need of repairing his bathroom, but we also had the chance to minister to Thomas on a deeper level. We were able to speak truth and bring life into a place that needed it. By making a sacrifice of time and energy to work on this project, it showed Thomas that we truly cared about him and his situation. There wasn't a monetary reward, there wasn't a news crew waiting outside to share what we had done. However, there is the simple joy of knowing that we did something of true impact - on a spiritual and physical level.
When we relate to working on a project and realize the meaning that we can derive from the experience - we may be compelled to ask ourselves the following questions:
- What does it mean to be a good neighbor?
- How can I be a better neighbor?
- What is my mission as a Christ follower - What am I called to do?
As an athlete, I ask myself questions such as, "Why do I compete? How am I using my athletic ability and sacrifice to help others and make a meaningful impact with my time and talents?" This is something that I am still growing in and exploring, but I am proud to be a part of the work that Team NeighborLink and NeighborLink is doing to build community and love those around us.
Thanks for reading, I hope you can receive the joy of serving your neighbors, too.
Josh - Team NeighborLink Intern