On a Mission: The Art of Pulling Together

https://pattyschell.com/2017/06/30/on-a-mission-karen-sanchez/

 

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”
Hebrews 10:24 NLT

Karen Sanchez has the unique ability to get people together. . .

to get things done, and her involvement with uniting the community with Hands of Mercy (HoM) is no different. In fact, this agency’s purpose has a special place in her heart. By teaming up with HoM, Karen, whose life’s work as a realtor is to pair families and houses together, has the opportunity to extend this passion to the underserved of Mexico. What’s more, she wants others to get involved and join the fun.

How does helping families in Mexico can make our high desert community a better place to live?

Hands of Mercy works through groups in the US who sponsor the building projects with their resources. They purchase the building materials for a small 12’x12’ loft house and then gather community members to partially assemble the house before delivering it to its permanent place in Mexico. This whole process gives people an opportunity to serve others by giving money, swinging a hammer, or providing a box of household goods to welcome the family to their new home.

But it doesn’t stop there.

It also builds community here through working side-by-side to accomplish the task. What is even more exciting about Hands of Mercy is they have made the entire process family-friendly. Young and old can come together to provide a family with a basic structure that will give them security and raise their standard of living. Relationships are built as neighbors serve together. It empowers them to think beyond their front door, giving them a much larger worldview.

Karen serves as a catalyst in this endeavor. She has organized fundraisers and has spread the word through her various connections, encouraging people to get involved in not only giving money but also in the actual building process. If that’s not enough, she and her husband organize lunch for all who participate. In the end, well over three hundred people have had a hand in making a family’s life better while forming connections in their own community; now multiply that amount times four.

Just this past April. . .

the fourth house made its way down to Baja to its permanent location. The recipient, a woman who had been homeless for ten years, will now have a safe place to call her own. This is much in thanks to Karen Sanchez. She has taken her talent for making connections and used it to bring people together in a significant way. And through that, families, friendships, and communities are strengthened, making the world a better place to live.

Above all, put on love–the perfect bond of unity.
Colossians 3:14 HCSB

 

To contribute financially to the next loft house build and be part of something pretty great, go here.

To learn more about Hands of Mercy and the work they do, go here.

Open Hands

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”

Psalm 68:19


Sometimes I feel like I am my own worst enemy.

Well, maybe more specifically it’s my hand that is the trouble. You see, it has difficultly FC76E085E3when it comes to surrendering my burdens. My heart may know that I need to allow God total access to my troubles but my hand keeps them tightly held in its grip. They’re my responsibly after all. If only I had made better choices. If only I had acted it differently. If only I had seen things more clearly. If only, If Only, IF ONLY… And as the if only’s resonate in my head, I hang on to my burdens and continue to carry them along, firmly grasped in my hand.

Fortunately, this is not how God intended any of us to live. There is a way out and it’s literally at our fingertips. In Psalm 81:6 (NLT) it says,

“Now I will take the load from your shoulders; I will free your hands

from their heavy tasks.”

The Psalmist is speaking of God’s deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in this passage. We, too, have been delivered from a similar tyranny when we made the decision to follow Christ. We’ve been set free. Jesus unloaded that burden of sin from our shoulders and removed from us the heavy task of carrying our shame. He rescued us out of bondage to live in freedom. Galatians 5:1 tells us–

“It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

This verse urges us to stand firm, to persevere, to persist in living free and never be burdened again by our fear, our shame or our shortcomings.

One of my friends pointed out this week that if our hands are full of burdens there will be no room in them to receive blessing. I think this is something to consider. In the New International version of the Bible Psalm 68:19 tells us “God our Savior… daily bears our burdens.” but in the American King James it’s translated in a slightly different way—

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits…”

Daily, He carries our burdens while daily loading us with His benefits. Empty your hands. Pry those fingers open if you need to. Let God take your burdens and get ready to receive all the blessings He’ll put in their place.


Make it personal—

What is that burdensome thing in your life you keep lugging around? Why are you still carrying it? Whether you think you deserve to carry it or you just don’t know who you would be without it, let God take a turn and see what happens. Maybe the two of you can have a little chat and get to know one another a little better as He helps you out.

 ” . . .know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19

For Goodness Sake

 . . . make every effort to add to your faith, goodness. . .

2 Peter 1:5

goodness – the state of being good – pure, moral, conscientious, meritorious, worthy, exemplary, upright, beneficial, having admirable, pleasing qualities


Danny, the leader of the Hands of Mercy building project, teared up as he stood watching his team congratulating the little family on their new home. Handshakes, hugs and comments on the success of the day passed throughout the group. Although dinner was waiting, no one wanted to break the moment.  It had been a good day.

I am so glad I was there to witness this life changing event for a young mother and her children.    At the end of the day, theirs were not the only lives that were altered. A team of twenty individuals had answered the call to do something good and this would have a lasting effect on them as well.  That is the way of things when you put your faith into action by practicing what is good.

The word goodness from the focus verse in 2 Peter, is the Greek word areta which means: moral excellence; a virtuous course of thought, feeling or action. This step of adding goodness to our faith is a strategic one. Now that we have put our faith in God, aligning ourselves with him, Peter says, “Add goodness.”  It makes sense that we would follow God in his ways by choosing to do what he does- do good.  It was his own goodness, after all, that has called us out of a life of “corruption. . .caused by evil desires” and “has given us everything we need for a godly life.” 2 Peter 1:4

Romans 12 gives a Goodness Plan for our lives, calling us to become “a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. . .” by being “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” It gives us a way of seeing things differently by thinking and acting in a way that is good. And in this way, we are “not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

That, my friends, points to a major reason to add goodness to our faith – It overcomes evil. Goodness is something definitely needed when it comes to living a godly life. It also allows us to participate in the divine nature which gives us a deeper knowledge of who God is.

The challenge set before us is to continually choose good in everything we do. We not only will be changed by doing good, but it also has a way of affecting others in the most positive way while bringing attention and glory to the Father. So, for His sake choose goodness.

God’s definition of doing good –

     “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me–put into practice. And the peace of God will be with you.”

Philippians 4:8-9

            ”You are the light of the world…let your light shine among others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify the Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16


Hands of Mercy

            Hands of Mercy, a non-profit based in Redlands, California, whose mission is to strengthen the Body of Christ by discipling families and individuals of all ages to love others in tangible ways through building loft houses. A loft house is prefabricated in church parking lots in the US then assembled in Mexico. Though not luxurious by any definition, a loft house gives some basic protection and shelter from the elements. A loft house is a 12-foot by 12-foot structure with 4 windows, a lockable door and a second story attic loft for sleeping that is reached by interior stairs. The kit-house consists of prefabbed panels made from simple building materials, widely available at most home improvement warehouses: 2x4s, 2x6s, plywood and tar paper roofing. The house has a raised wooden floor, covered with linoleum, built on concrete piers. This speeds construction time by eliminating extra days to pour and cure a cement slab. Work teams can build loft houses on land that would not be suitable for slab construction. For about $4,500.00, these homes exhibit a visible testimony to the love of Jesus to the new home owners and their entire community.

Hands of Mercy Loft House

Hands of Mercy Loft House

This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us.

We should also lay down our lives for our brothers.

1 John 3:16