Home Para sa Pasko Sa pamamagitan ng Camey Gravley


Bumalik sa tag-init, ang aming bunsong-anak na lalaki, Parker ay nangyayari sa isang misyon biyahe sa Idaho. Ang aming 11-taon gulang na anak na lalaki ay hindi maaaring maghintay upang pumunta magbahagi tungkol kay Jesus. Alam ko nang walang pag-aalinlangan, Ako ay upang pumunta sa kanya. Hindi upang maging "ekspertong" sa field kaya magsalita, ngunit upang maghatid sa tabi ng kanya. Shortly after I decided to go, my husband, and two other sons jumped on board. It was our first time away together as a family in several years. I also knew my husband was going to hear clearly from God while in the mountains. And sure enough… his cell phone rang while on a mountain in Utah. While floating in the Payette River in Idaho during what seemed like some free time, God told me to get out of the boat. While in the water, I heard clearly that we moving. Today I write this from a much different place than in my previous articles for SERVE e’zine.

For many years our family had been praying for the next place and individuals we would serve. My husband and I already had planted deep within us a love for this place and these people long before we knew the details. Sa 2005, when we gave away or sold almost everything we were blessed to call ours, we weren’t sure how long that part of the journey was going to last. While we wouldn’t trade a moment of taking care of my parents and serving that town and community – not even the ones that hurt like heck, we knew we wouldn’t be walking in the outflow in staying. God saw to it that every detail was taken care -that included my mom marrying again and no longer needing us to live with her. Kaya, back during Labor Day weekend, we filled up a moving truck and with tears and yet much excitement, made our way here. In the truck were many gifts that God saw to it were ours to take freely.

We are now in a tiny town in the panhandle area of Texas. My husband is the pastor of a church here. And I am no longer a paid staff member of a church but am able to stay at home without also being a caregiver for my parent(s) while inside her walls. This is a house that happens to be located directly across the street from our physical church building. And while this house is not necessarily ours in a sense that it belongs to the church -it is very much our home. And for the first time in many years, this mom can welcome her sons to invite friends over any time. It is not uncommon to find a teenage boy whose last name is not ours – opening our frig to get some sweet tea or checking out our dining room table to see what goodies I’ve baked up in the kitchen we’re having a blast in or sitting down to eat with us.

With my husband being the new pastor here, we received several invites for Thanksgiving. Invites from where we moved from came in as well even if it meant a quick trip. But my husband and I knew we were to stay at home. And for the first time in the 20 years we’ve been married, we celebrate Thanksgiving Day together in our home with our sons. We laughed. We played games. We ate pie for breakfast instead of waiting for whatever other guests to arrive and lunch had been devoured. I even wore my sweats and didn’t have on a stitch of makeup. We were simply chilled to the max and napped for hours. It was a very different Thanksgiving Day indeed for the 5 of us.

We are blessed in the fact that all three of our sons are not only Christ-followers but get what living in the outflow really is. But there are times when it is okay to say no. Oo, even for a new pastor and his family. And at 6:00 p.m. the doorbell rang. It was a teenage boy who has been spending much time at our home. Our sons could have said, “Send him away.” Instead, he was welcomed in like every other day. He sat on the couch with my husband and I while we were watching the movie CARS with Parker. And in a moment of sheer comfort he said, “Your house is the safest place for me to be.” This Wednesday night, he said he would be across the street with us too. Matandaan? Across the street from our home is where the physical church building is. Showing us yet again, one can serve their family in the outflow and catch others up in the wave of God’s love and kindness.

Now that the Christmas season is upon us, may we be reminded that in training up a child – sometimes the parents can learn a lesson or two along the way. Our family looks forward to the “Parsonage Open House” we’re having on December 20th. We’re baking up goodies not only for our own church peeps but will also be taking some along with baskets of food and everyday items to neighbors here in our new community. No doubt our favorite Christmas already! And December hasn’t even officially started yet!

We are praying for you daily as you seek His Kingdom first! Remember – those closest to you are paying attention even when you’ve taken your makeup off. And may you be home for Christmas!

Camey Gravely

Camey Gravley is an Unashamed Christ-follower and Lifestyle missionary. Her passion is to help others notice God in the moments of every day life and living. Prayer of dangerous prayers too! It is her pleasure to serve others out of the outflow of God’s love!

Nagpaplano Outreaches Holiday

Mayroong ilang mga beses sa panahon ng taon ng kalendaryo kapag ang mga tagasunod ni Jesus magkaroon ng isang natatanging pagkakataon upang ikonekta ang mga tuldok sa pagitan ng Diyos puso at ang puso ng mga multitudes ng mga tao nakakasama sa aming komunidad. Ang Christmas season ay marahil ang pinakamalaking ng mga oras na iyon. Sa isang paraan, kami halos magkaroon ng isang hindi patas na kalamangan, dahil kahit skeptics ay nalulula ka sa lahat ng mga endorphins holiday at kaguluhan. Maaari naming malinaw na-target kung ano ang mga tao ay gutom para sa, kung kami nagpapabagal lamang mahaba sapat upang makinig sa kung ano ang nasa kanilang mga puso. Kami dito sa Pasko upang magtrabaho sa magkasunod sa Diyos Espiritu bilang oras ng panahon ay nagbibigay-daan sa amin upang makipag-ugnay sa mga tao sa natatanging paraan. Ang mga pagkakataon na hindi nagsasabi ng totoo bago sa amin ay napakalawak kung handa kaming ma-pokus.

Pambalot Presents
Ito ay isa sa mga pinaka-makapangyarihang paraan na maaari mong maghatid ng isang tao sa panahon ng oras na ito ng taon. Ito ay mahusay na dahil ikaw ay magagawang upang makisali sa isang tunay na pag-uusap sa kanila bilang ka ng pambalot ng regalo ang kanilang mga. Higit pang mga beses kaysa hindi, sila ay tatanungin sa iyo kung bakit mo ginagawa ito para sa kanila. Usisa na magbibigay sa isang natural na pagkakataon para magbahagi ng Ebanghelyo. Gamit na sinabi, ito ay madaling mahuli up sa pisikal na pagkilos ng kasalukuyang wrapping. Kailangan naming mag-ingat na huwag kalimutan ang espiritwal na aspeto ng paghahatid ng mga ito. Ito ay palaging pinakamahusay na upang mapabagal bagay pababa ng kaunti. Kumuha ng sapat na samantalahin ang mga pagkakataon upang ibahagi ang Diyos ang pag-ibig.

Pambalot Presents – Malaking Scale Project
Mayroong ilang mga payo upang tandaan kung ang iyong ginagawa ito bilang isang mas malaking sukat ng kaganapan. Kakailanganin mo upang simulan ang isang recruiting medyo malaking volunteer na puwersa-don't magpabukas-bukas-start pangitain-paghahagis ngayon! Ang susi sa outreach na ito ay ang magiging tauhan mo nakakalap ng magkasama. Dapat silang ma-enthused at sa parehong pahina. Ikaw ay naghahanap para sa mga tao na ang mga kaguluhan catalysts sa iyong simbahan. Ang mga tao sa umunlad ang enerhiya at kagalakan ng season. Simulan ang pagkakatipon materyales ngayon! Huwag ilagay ito off. Pagkakasunod-sunod ng maraming kung ano ang kailangan mo. Isaisip na hindi mo nais upang biguin ang iyong mga volunteer na puwersa. The name of the game here is to have “More than plenty” so people will not have to twiddle their thumbs waiting on restocking when they could be serving the public and having divine conversations. Start praying now! We will be connecting with people who are not yet connected with us nor are they connected with the God of heaven and earth. They are in immense spiritual need, no matter what walk of life they come from. We are his representatives. We are not only wrapping presents – we are spiritual ambassadors. We need to blend the spiritual act of praying with the physical act of serving. If we get out of sync with our serving we cease to be effective in our activity. We are merely chasing our tails.

Ang aming tungkulin ay upang maglingkod sa kanila ang lahat at hayaan ang Diyos-uri-uriin ang mga ito out. Sa nakaraan na tao ang iminungkahing na dapat naming lamang humingi upang maghatid ng mga marginalized, ngunit Gusto ko magtaltalan na ang kanilang mga kahulugan ng kahirapan, Maaaring masyadong makitid. Ang kagandahan ng pambalot ng regalo shopping mall o department store ay na ay nakatagpo ka ng mga tao na may iba't iba socio-economic status, ngunit lahat sila ay may espirituwal at emosyonal na pangangailangan. Iyon ay kung ano talaga kami ay naghahanap upang hawakan. Huwag maging nabalaho sa putik sa pamamagitan ng kakayahan. Kahit na ikaw ay ang lahat ng thumbs, pagkakataon ay pa rin ang iyong ginagawa sa tao ng napakalaking serbisyo. Sa katunayan ako ay nagkaroon mga tao pumalit sa wrapping mula sa akin bilang ko lang ipasa sa kanila ang supplies at ipako flaps at mga string habang ginagawa nila detalyadong wrapping. What this is really about is the conversation you share while the gift is being wrapped. You don’t have to be a highly skilled craft person to do this activity. We can all engage in the simple sharing line of “We are here to wrap your present as a part of XYZ Community Church to show you some love this Christmas. Make sure you remind folks: “We are not a part of the mall / store personnel – we pay for this ourselves in order to show God’s love in a practical way to the community. Our intent is to give God’s love, not just talk about it.” Some simple chatter will do the trick until the other person clicks in with some acknowledgement of what you are saying. They will either engage with you or they will change the subject. Maraming ay nais na makipag-chat ng kaunti. Tandaan ikaw ay planting isang binhi ng kagandahang-loob sa puso ng karamihan ng tao ang pumupunta kami sa contact na may. Ito ang magiging isa sa maraming mga buto ang taong iyon ay kailangan na dumating sa contact sa kahabaan ng kanilang paglalakbay bago ang kanilang mga conversion sa Jesus. Namin ang lahat ng magkaroon ng isang natatanging landas sa isang pag-ibig na kaugnayan sa Jesus. Bihirang-bihira ito ay isang biglaang conversion. Ang aming mga bahagi bilang kanyang mga tagasunod ay upang sabihin sa aming mga kuwento kasama ang paraan sa pagitan ng ngayon at pagkatapos ay sa mas maraming mga hangga't maaari. Sa regalo wrapping makakakuha tayo ng maraming pagkakataon upang ibahagi ang aming mga kuwento at ang kanyang mga kuwento nang sabay-sabay.

Dapat ito ay mapapansin na kung wala kang mga mapagkukunan o boluntaryo ito gawin sa isang mall o malaking department store, isang mas maliit na tindahan diskwento sa isang limitadong iskedyul ay maaaring maging isang perpektong panimulang lokasyon para sa iyong grupo. Maaari mong palaging gumagana patungo sa layunin ng pagpapalawak ng kaganapang ito sa hinaharap taon. Ang mga tao ay sumali sa hanggang sa iyong outreaches para sa maraming mga kadahilanan, ngunit sila ay manatili para sa isa pangunahing dahilan – dahil sila Nasisiyahan sa mga taong. Kailangan mo upang gumana sa mga lider ng shift magpakita upang matiyak na hindi mo ay nakakabigo sa mga taong naroroon sa anumang paraan kung iyon sa lahat ng mga posibleng. Inirerekumenda ko ang mga pangunahing lider ng mga ito ay konektado sa, ay nagdala ng kape habang nagbabago ang pupunta sa, Hihilingin sa isang masigla paraan, "Ba namin ang pagkakaroon ng kasiyahan pa?" – nakawiwiling mga paraan ng pagkonekta ang mga tuldok sa koponan ng iba't ibang mga antas ng interactive na diskarte upang ipakita ang pag-aalaga sa lahat ng mga kasangkot.

Tindahan ng Alak Outreach?
As Jesus often demonstrated, we need to hang out with the sinners. The name of the game is, “We are here to connect with people who don’t go to church.” This is always the objective to keep in front of you. The object is not to serve churchy people. For the most part those folks already understand the notion of God’s love. I ran into a group who had latched onto the giftwrapping concept last season, but they got the application pretty much backwards. They set up shop in front of a Christian book store. I suggested they move across the parking lot to a liquor store. They laughed heartily at the suggestion. I didn’t laugh. I wasn’t kidding. Not in the least. Another pastor friend was present when this conversation took place. He chimed in. “Yes, that’s a very good idea. If you are after the head tilt with this project you really need to switch locations. I did an outreach like this a few years ago when I was working for a Church in California and we set up the outreach in front of a liquor store. One guy came in planning to just buy some booze and other supplies for a party, including a last minute gift—the ultimate one stop shopping. Not only was he converted by this radical love he certainly wasn’t shopping for, this guy became a member of the church and over time became one of its most influential leaders!”

Keep in mind not everyone that shops at a liquor store has drinking problem—we are wise to not generalize. We are also wise to go to places that have historically been cast off by the church culture in general. Once again: “serve them all, let God sort them out!” A liquor store may be prime real estate for holding a small, outdoor gift-wrapping outreach. Make sure you clearly explain your intent and the point of the outreach with the owner / manager of the store prior to doing the outreach. This conversation is key to the success of the outreach making it or not.

The Taste of Christmas
Here is a quick and easy outreach you can put together as either a business blast kindness event, or a take-home kit for you to give to church members as the exit from weekend services. The materials are easy to gather: 1) A bulk supply of Ziploc snack size baggies 2) Well crafted connect cards with a holiday design 3) High quality Christmas candy.

Candy Canes are always welcomed it seems. If you really want to make a dent inpeople’s lives, purchase different colored candy canes other than the standard red and white colors. Apparently there are now even exotic fruit flavors available in neon colors, but with the traditional shape. Make sure you have some chocolate. This is crucial. Hershey’s makes a seasonal version of Kisses that are decorated in green foil or red foil. There is actually a large variety of seasonal candy that you will find on display starting in early November. You are going for a mix that is attractive in appearance and flavor. The connect card is the anchor. In fact we have a few new fantastic designs available now at Kindness Resources LLC. The name of the game is to give away as many of these as possible with a small connect card inserted into the Ziplock bag. One candy cane, a few pieces of candy is all you need for each bag to make a small effective touch. If you purchase in bulk you can keep your cost efficiency to between $0.07 to $0.12 per touch!

Black Friday Outreach
Some daring people / churches have the courage to take on enormous crowds that gather for shopping specials the day after Thanksgiving. This outreach needs to be done in connection with the store that is willing to allow you to do something spectacular directly in front of their location. I have neverheard of a store that wasn’t anything less than tickled at the offer of having a Black Friday outreach done in front of their location. I have on occasion heard of stores where they pay for part or all of the outreach materials so long as the people from the local church manned the labor aspect of the outreach. This is actually easy to do. Think of any nice touch to get the attention of a frenzied shopper:

  • Free Coffee/Hot Chocolate (check out the cool back pack dispenser)
  • Free Battery Packs
  • Free Ribbon
  • Free Scotch Tape
  • Free Wrapping Paper Kits
  • Free “Pop Up” Bows
  • Shopping Cart Valet Service
  • Umbrella Outreach
  • Windshield Cleaning Patrol

Final Thoughts
This season, make sure that you remember that people are hungry for relationship. The holidays remind us we are more ill-equipped for relationships than at any other times of the year. We get around those who are perhaps challenging to us, yet they are the ones we love. We are hungry to see progress made in relationships, but we don’t know how to make progress without being driven crazy at the same time. This is a time of year when people are in some ways the most open to a “Big God” encounter. There is a sort of collective verbal outcry that goes very much like this:

"Dear God, if you are real and if you answer prayers, please hear mine. I ask that you would change my family and make us more loving toward one another. Amen.”

It is also important to remember that people are in a hurry. Nearly everyone is on a short emotional fuse. Thus, we must be mindful of the tendency on the parts of everyone to be a bit odd about things in general. If it is ever appropriate to proceed with caution now is the time of year for those words to be taken to heart.

We should also make sure that we invest time and energy on retail employees. Given the current economy, this holiday season is predicted to see a record number of new seasonal part-time employees hit the work force. For many this grim reality of a second or third job will be a shock to their system. They will be in as much need for kindness as they will the extra funds they hope to gain by adding ten to twenty hours onto their already exhausting hours of employment just to make ends meet or to gather extra holiday cash. Our hope is to scatter our seeds at the Christmas season in order to see a return to our love language throughout the rest of the year. During the final part of the calendar year we may end up seeing a return that is greater than all the other weeks and months we go out and serve folks. Sa katunayan, I think it will pale by comparison. Let’s make the most of what we have before us. Let’s connect the dots and see what God is up to right around us. That will happen as we serve with all our hearts and lay caution aside.