A servant's heartMay 2018GP0|#c82282c9-ac80-45f6-8913-587c567bdd34;L0|#0c82282c9-ac80-45f6-8913-587c567bdd34|Extending Beyond;GTSet|#bb9274b4-45fe-43f1-8b69-3df0b933cdb0;GPP|#a82c2124-212e-4f7a-b626-9a0c5a3534c2;GPP|#96e4d92c-656e-45f6-9cd5-ab8aed108e3chttps://www.mennonitemission.net/resources/publications/Extending Beyond/436/A servant's heartA servant's heartExtending BeyondStanley W. Green

 

 

<p>"The greatest among you will be your servant." </p><p>—Matthew 23:11<br></p><p><br></p><p>Each year more than 200 young adults serve in cities across North America and around the world through our Christian Service programs. In each program we are intentional about discipleship formation that helps the participants grow in their capacity to follow Jesus and to make a difference for healing and hope in the world. Many young adults are rising to the challenge and accepting the opportunities to prepare for leadership that Christian Service programs offer. In addition, countless young adults have discovered their passion in life, developed important work skills, and learned to live in community.</p><p>One program that seeks to accomplish all these objectives is Service Adventure. A few years ago, in the company of our Service Adventure director, Susan Nisly, I was given the privilege to observe the ways in which young people were being formed for discipleship, leadership, and to become positive contributing members of their communities. We visited the Anchorage, Alaska, Service Adventure unit. In the unit, five young people lived together and shared their lives while they worshiped with the Prince of Peace Mennonite Church and served the community during the week. We observed how they were learning to live together while sharing various tasks. We also joined them in their worship night, which is a regular feature of their life together. Perhaps one of the most inspiring engagements during our time there was visiting these young adults in the places of their service assignments. In each place we were encouraged as we observed them making a difference for good. I wish I could tell you the story of each visit. Space allows for just one.<br></p><p>We visited the Downtown Soup Kitchen Hope Center where Mariah Denlinger served. Susan and I were told to arrive well before noon. We were put to work in food preparation. As Susan and I worked at various tasks, the director hovered around us. After a while, she sauntered over to me and said, "We deeply lament that Mariah's term is coming to an end. She has been such a godsend. I wish we could clone her." We offered our understanding and regret and went back to our work. When lunchtime arrived, the guests started to stream in—more than 200 of them. Serving complete, Susan and I took our meals and joined some guests at the table. Our table mates were happy to share with us their appreciation of Mariah. It was clear that Mariah offered them not only food and welcome, but also love and a regard for their dignity. Mariah was either stretched in her ministry to so many people, or she was being equipped and empowered by God to look beyond surface appearances. Instead of seeing their unkempt dress and un-showered bodies, she saw the human beings whom God loves and who are thus made deserving of our love. </p><p>Mariah completed her work, and with plate in hand, she joined us at the table. As I watched the kindness and care reflected in her face, I began to understand the appreciation of both the administration and the guests. What awed me, however, was seeing the light turn on in the eyes of the guests responding to the company of Mariah at the table. What I realized was the Holy recognition that these guests had looked into her eyes and had seen the face of God filled with love and compassion for them. Mariah offered them dignity and invited them back into the possibilities of full humanity—she was an instrument of healing and hope in their lives.</p><p>I am so honored by the young people, like Mariah, who come to us every year, ready to grow and learn and share their lives. They are an extension of our witness as Mennonites in the world. I am also grateful to you, who, by your sharing, support the transformation in these young people's lives, and allow them to move their world in the direction of healing and hope. Thank you!  <br></p><p><br></p><p>Stanley W. Green</p><p>Executive Director<br></p><p><br></p><p><br><img src="https://assets.mennonites.org/PublishingImages/2018/SusanPhone%20935.jpg?RenditionID=7" alt="" style="width:150px;margin:5px;" /><br></p><p><strong class="ms-rteFontSize-1">Mariah Denlinger does laundry at Downtown Soup Kitchen Hope Center.</strong><strong class="ms-rteFontSize-1">  </strong><strong class="ms-rteFontSize-1">Part of the ministry at this agency is laundering clothing for people who are in a homeless situation, while they shower and get cleaned up.</strong><strong class="ms-rteFontSize-1">  </strong><strong class="ms-rteFontSize-1">Mariah spent part of her time doing laundry, part of her time distributing clothing through the clothing pantry, and part of her time helping prepare and serve food in the kitchen.</strong><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

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A servant's hearthttps://assets.mennonites.org/Downloads/ExTending_May_C18-087_WEB.pdfA servant's heartEnglish

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Shaping servant leaders of the churchhttps://www.mennonitemission.net/extending-beyond/Shaping-servant-leaders-of-the-churchShaping servant leaders of the church

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