Several months ago, ITeams Minneapolis sat down together and laid the foundation in what would become our core values as a team. We spent considerable time praying and asking Jesus what it is we deeply value as a team. Two of them have become quite real recently:
Refugees often feel unwanted and isolated. We welcome refugees into our communities, our homes, and our lives. We offer them a safe place where they can come and know that they are treasured. We share meals, stories, and celebrations. We visit them. We pray together. We know their names.
While realizing the Christ-like attitude to give without expecting anything in return, we also recognize our deep need for each other. We welcome interdependence in relationships with those we serve, amongst our teammates, and between us and those with whom we partner. We strive to learn from and honor one other as we grow together in friendship and service.
We have several other values that I believe capture the beliefs and mandates of Scripture that fall more under the umbrella of traditional evangelism, but these two seem to easily push their way to the front every single day. Being with people and honoring them. I have so far to go.
This week my teammate Sarah fell and broke her wrist while visiting a Bhutanese family. She came in with the expectation that she was going to get a bunch of things accomplished and take care of this wonderful family. As she fell to the ground, the family gathered around her. They brought her something to drink and helped her back up again. They called later in the evening to say in their developing English skills, “I’m so sorry.” Sarah, in this moment, absolutely needed this family. What a reminder. Interdependene.
I’ve been taking a new family lots of places by bus. Since I am visually impaired this is my natural way to navigate the city. Often times I can’t see the stops all that well and entering a new builiding is typically like sorting through a maze for me. It was so interesting yesterday as I helped my friend fill out an application. I was explaining the details. While outside however, these two men were leading me – telling me what bus number was coming, explaing street signs that I couldn’t see from a distance, making sure I didn’t fall in a hole. I absolutely need them. They absolutely need me. Again, a beautiful picture of being present together and an acknowledgement of our deep need for each other.
I’m continually champing at the bit to share what I know, what I believe, namely, we call this theology. I’m learning to live this and express this in tons of different ways throughout the week. Demonstrating and proclaiming the Kingdom of God has never been and will never be a 50-50 balance. It always has been both/and and the motivation has always been that we are intoxicated with Jesus. Presnce, interdependence, Gospel – all these I’m trying to learn to value. I do what I want and I want what I value.