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Southerland article

May Banner Article: Two Countries, Two Teams, Two Trips, One Deep, Supreme Desire by Rev. Southerland

Posted on May 18, 2018

You have likely sung the hymn, “I Want To Be Like Jesus.”  In that hymn we sing of our one, deep, supreme desire—to be like Jesus.  One prominent aspect of Jesus’ ministry is the loving way He served.  The second verse of the hymn points us to this:

He spent His life in doing good.
I want to be like Jesus.
In lowly paths of service trod,
I want to be like Jesus.
He sympathized with hearts distressed;
He spoke the words
That cheered and blessed.
He welcomed sinners to His breast.
I want to be like Jesus.

When following in the footsteps of Jesus we will find ourselves on a path of service to others.  Mark records the words of Jesus speaking of Himself, saying, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  These words were spoken as Jesus rebuked His disciples for desiring esteem when they should have been dedicated to serving.

This year I had the joy and privilege of leading two teams of servants from Grace BPC in Cincinnati, OH.  Both teams were working to help families rebuild after hurricanes destroyed communities in Haiti and Houston.

In 2016, Hurricane Matthew left the homes, schools, churches and entire communities decimated in Haiti.  In January of this year, nine men from Grace, ages 16-60, spent a week in and near Port Salut working to put roofs on two schools.  The team had the opportunity to work alongside a Haitian work crew under the leadership of two young men, John and Paul, who had committed to using their carpentry experience to serve for several months.

In February, several BP Churches contributed and sent a fourteen-member team to work in Houston.  This team of servants, included men, women, children (AND GRANDPARENTS!), from 12 to 60 years old.  They worked in conjunction with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church’s Disaster Response team to do everything from demolition to drywall and hanging doors in three homes and one church.  The OPC had a team of long-term servants in place who were the key to making our teams as effective as possible with the time we had to give!

Reflecting on these two trips, what I was most grateful for was the testimony of joyful service to Christ that both teams displayed.  The church of Christ has many members, but it is one body!  In our Lord’s abundant grace, He has designed the church so that when each “joint” does its part, it “causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Eph. 4:16, emphasis added).  So, while these teams were put together to corporately love our neighbor, they reaped the joy of loving one another.  When the motivation of each team member is actually love for the Lord and love for their neighbors, the rest of the team, who are their closest neighbors, are the ones in the best position to enjoy the love of Christ flowing through His people.

These two trips represent not only the service of the 23 team members but also the many others within the Bible Presbyterian Church who contributed by raising the funds to send these teams.  The Lord has blessed the Bible Presbyterian Church with a beautiful fellowship in Christ.  It was a deep blessing to see that fellowship being manifested by these two mission teams serving in the name of Christ.

Rev. Casey Southerland

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