TRIGG recently took a team out to Odessa, TX to offer outreach restoration support for some local churches and ministries, particularly including a ministry known as Mission Messiah, a rehabilitation center for women on the road to recovery from a life of struggle with drug addiction. We love helping churches and ministries and believe that volunteering like this is an integral part of building God’s house. It was a great outreach trip, and here’s five takeaways from our team!
1. Grace starts from within
Brandon helped TRIGG’s outreach to support Mission Messiah by joining forces with Mid-Cities Community Church in Odessa for their Serve Day on Oct. 27. What was going to be a normal volunteering service became a moving experience for Brandon – this was the first time he had visited a rehabilitation center for women. He came in expecting to help paint a building but couldn’t ignore the victims of drug addiction and domestic violence that were there. He saw that the lives they had led were strongly impacted by what they had gone through:
“Don’t let the pain and anger consume you. Look to Him. Look to what God’s going to do to help you recover. It was very eye opening for me to not make harsh judgements on people. God was leading me down a path, like it was meant for me or something.”
Grace starts from within. Often, when we’re led to show grace towards others, God is showing us something deep down about ourselves. Grace is as much about loving others as it is about showing grace to ourselves.
2. We find purpose when we help others
Bryan went in expecting to do a good deed and experience the same thing he has before, but ended up being ministered to and experiencing a joy for service out of love to others that he’d never experienced before. I’ve worked with Bryan for some time now and can say that he’s a man of intellect. However, he’s wrestled with getting the heart to shine through that strong mind. It’s a big heart, and it only took a nudge for it to shine:
“I thought I knew what I was getting into. I’ve done service projects before. Usually it’s the same old same old… you do a good deed. I had no idea it was a women’s rehabilitation center and this was really cool. I painted for a few hours, breaked for lunch, and then everything changed… hearing these women tell their stories… and their histories, and places where they came from, seeing it there in person, and hearing the darkness of their past and then seeing where they are today. It totally shattered stereotypes that I’ve had, to the point where they were ministering to me where I didn’t realize that I’ve needed it.”
After standing in the midst of a need and helping others face to face, he found purpose. He’s becoming a man that helps others, not in order to follow rules, but to simply love them.
3. Be a light in the community
At TRIGG, we talk about being a light for the Kingdom. When you act with purpose, your light shines the brightest. Bryan and Brandon learned something about themselves at our outreach mission. For Bryan, being a light was realizing that everyone else has their light too, and ultimately he was the one ministered to from the very people he was helping, an experience that gave him a glimpse of what heaven on earth really looks like. This was especially timely for him given a recent shift in how he has come to see the central dynamic of the Christian life:
“It was only until just before I came to TRIGG where I finally realized how Christianity was less about rewards and requirements and having to “measure up” through believing all of the right things, and more about relationship and transformation through loving both God and neighbor. That was the central dynamic for me. God is still pulling me down this road, it’s a huge shift. It all clicked perfectly in my head, but I had never put it into action. When this opportunity came up to be a part of it, I was really excited to live out my theology… Painting is probably one of my least favorite activities, but experiencing God’s presence through the powerful testimonies of these women brought a spirit of joy over me that surpassed understanding. I distinctly remember standing there with the paintbrush in my hand and thinking, in that moment, that I had never been happier to paint in my life. My heart swelled up and it made me tear up a bit, and I realized I was living in a different reality in that moment, experiencing a small slice of what it’s like when heaven touches earth.”
For Brandon, being a light in the community doesn’t mean the spotlight has to be on you, in fact he tends to avoid the spotlight. But his typically private relationship with God ultimately led to a public display of faith by getting out from behind the computer to do good in Odessa:
“For me, I don’t go to church every Sunday, but that doesn’t mean I don’t worship my own way. I’m not going to be the one stepping in the circle or leading prayer, I’m kind of shy. I like that intimacy with God. You don’t want to lose touch with who you want to serve. You can sit behind a computer all year – how am I going to share stories of what God’s doing if I’m just sitting behind a computer?”
Brandon and Bryan shined bright that day, even as they were enlightened by those to whom they sought to be a light. In their own distinct ways, they both experienced the blessing of what it’s like to be a light for the Kingdom.
4. We are Built to Serve
At TRIGG, we believe that all are Built to Serve. It’s leading with generosity. It’s helping a neighbor. As a Kingdom business, we’re called to build, maintain, and restore God’s house. For Bryan, service was an act of helping his neighbor and being overcome with the love of God:
“I actually wanted to serve, not primarily because I thought I should or needed to, but because I was simply overwhelmed with a love and joy for serving others.”
For Brandon, he’s very thoughtful about why we’re serving others, and leads strongly with a spirit of generosity:
“Here you’re making the biggest impact as possible instead of profit.”
It’s great working with them because you can really tell that they represent TRIGG’s values well, and they’re passionate about what they do.
5. Looking ahead
We want to not only go out and help those in need, but to spread the word so others see and share these stories of encouragement and outreach. It’s helping churches, the poor, and lifting them up! Bryan’s very excited about launching some new programs after serving this one first hand:
“As the Program Director for TRIGG, I can say that we’re right on the brink of launching several new programs. I’m excited about that… [but] what excites me even more is seeing first hand how these programs help people in need.”
Brandon’s excited to see the stories grow, and how, looking ahead, these stories can make a Kingdom impact for churches and outreach:
“I got on our social media page and saw these stories popping up. It was really exciting. To see the stories and all the interactions. That’s what excites me for the future.”
When God’s people commit to doing God’s work, amazing things can happen. Not only for those being served, but also for those doing the serving. And sometimes, it’s ironically the ones who serve that ultimately end up being served. But such is the beautiful dynamic of living life in the wonder of God’s Kingdom.