Seeing God in Action

Today, one of our summer staff team leaders, Abbey Reagan, is sharing with us what she learned after spending a summer on a hot roof!

The only way I could describe my experience with SOS is by using one word. Serendipity.

Serendipity: noun. The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. "A fortunate stroke of serendipity"

In these cases, when a fortunate stroke of serendipity occurs, one feels the rush of life and all it has to offer.  One must recognize serendipities as they come, and appreciate how they reveal God’s mysterious, crazy, and amazing plan for each and every person.  I truly do believe that God used SOS to provide a place for young campers, young adults, staff, and community partners to experience God’s love, peace, and joy.  I truly do believe that each one of SOS’s staff members did not expect they would be spending their summers building a roof and be spiritually molded by God’s love at the same time.  We were all brought to SOS through different ways from different places.  To me, that’s serendipity in play.  That’s God in action.

Asking the question, "why" was a big theme in the summer of 2017.  We want to know the answers to our questions, we want to know why things happen, what decisions to make, what will happen in the future, and what possible explanation there could be for taking something we want away.  I think serendipity is a way to describe the unpredictable things that happens in our lives, by chance, when really, God's there through everything.  He's there with his hand ready to hold as we go through the waves of life.  There are moments, between waves, when we get to see how God worked through us in the midst of everything.  There are moments when we get to see the growth in ourselves and others, and the steadfastness of God in our lives.  Through hearing testimonies and seeing relationships built, I understood that it's okay to be broken.  In fact, we're supposed to be broken, all of us.  There is no such thing as a perfect person.  It was through SOS, that I learned that it was okay to be broken.  It was okay to feel like a thick cloud of smoke and muck, instead of a bright, fresh air.  It was okay to be confused and upset, it was okay to ask questions.  Because it was through those moments in which when we learn, grow, and understand love.  It's through those moments, when we are at our lowest, that we get the chance to really see how much He loves His broken children.  The relationships I've made and seen have shown me God's love for His people.

    For me, the dance with serendipity started May 24th, the first day of my first real job as a Team Leader.  Service Over Self became home to humility, brokenness, joy, friendship, and love.  I didn't think I would be a part of the SOS family, yet I was welcomed with open arms and jubilant cheers.

    I always knew about urban poverty, being a Memphis native, but I lived in one part of Memphis.  I didn’t know the experiences of those living in other areas and conditions different from my own.  As I got more and more involved with the communities of Memphis that I hadn’t been a part of before, I realized the kind of stigma and attitudes people have on Memphis is foolish.  There are positive and negative qualities everywhere you go, we shouldn’t label places or people.  If God is everywhere, is it not our duty as followers of Christ to be everywhere too? Is it not our duty to love our neighbors?  SOS facilitated my growth as I learned more about my role as a follower of Christ.  I learned more about the nature of Christianity and God in SOS’s doors, in the Purple House, and in the streets, than I ever did in my years at other churches.  For me, I found a greater sense of community and dependence on Christ in these places than in any other places I’ve been in.  My heart is set on Memphis.  It’s the place where I found a new kind of love and friendship, deeper than I imagined.  I found a peace in the midst of tragedy and brokenness.  I found myself, a child of God, living life amongst her brothers in sisters.  I found serendipity.

Summer Staffemily