Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Loving on the City
It has been over 6 years since I had my first experience with CSM as a Junior at Olivet Nazarene University. Hard to believe! After signing up to be placed on a team, I expected to go on what I thought a typical mission trip...somewhere overseas. I remember being shocked and scared to be placed on the team going to San Francisco, because I knew so little about the city and the issues faced there. However, when the preparation for the trip came I became excited and felt affirmed; I knew I was going on that exact mission trip for a reason but I didn’t know why. What I ended up experiencing in those 5 or 6 short days was what I felt like I’d been searching for at school in finding a major or direction in life– something that I truly felt excited and passionate about. I remember it felt like a door opening– and I wasn’t sure how or why but loving the people I encountered and learning about the issues of the city and the people in it made something click.
I still think back to this experience in my life, as it challenges me to tap into that excitement and passion for what I was doing. In approaching my third year in NYC as a CSM director, sometimes I forget that calling that God put on my heart, and the passion that He initially put there. This year has been the most challenging year in many ways, and I am so thankful that God, on several occasions, put me in a place where I was able to get a renewed love for what I’m here for and who I am here to love.
Whether it was being able to volunteer at a Saturday site I normally wouldn’t be able to, or meeting new people through sites, my church, and my community, God has been challenging me with a renewed balance of appreciating CSM and the city, and seeing Him at work throughout all of it.
One example that made me really sit back and think was something that happened this summer, during probably the most stressful week of the summer. One of our former staff mailed a letter to give to Angel, a young man who sold candy at an intersection close to the church. I had never met Angel before but knew that some of our former staff had, and had gotten to know and love him. I finally met Angel that day, and actually got to meet the young man who exuded such joy amidst a challenging life. His joy for life encouraged me, and made me wonder how many people are so easily walked past when my blinders are on, in the stress of what the job and every day life can mean. Although
I haven’t seen Angel for a few weeks, whenever I pass the intersection he stands at I’m reminded of this lesson God’s been showing me in this wonderful city.
-Noelle Sefton, CSM New York Co-City Director