A few years ago, an old college friend sent me a text: “Hey, do you still live in Houston? I’m driving through in an hour—want to grab lunch?” Even though it had been nearly twenty years since we had seen one another, we didn’t miss a beat. We ended up getting together several times over the next few months, including on November 1, 2017 to watch the Astros win the World Series.
When he first texted me, I was in the process of healing from some deeply painful trauma in my life. He reminded me of who I was as well as of the person I wanted to be. Amongst the many activities we did together at A&M, we both served at an inner city ministry in Bryan, Texas on a weekly basis. During our time serving together, we forged an unbreakable bond—one that surpasses time.
Last year when I approached Linc about possibly serving with a mission partner, this experience with my friend was at the forefront of my mind. I wanted an opportunity to help others in a way that also linked my past and present. Little did I know how much it would.
Linc mentioned The Forge, a ministry that works with inner city kids in the Third Ward. This was the perfect parallel to my previous experience. So last November I began serving at The Set, a Tuesday night high school youth group at The Forge.
Then something surprising happened. I shared with my older son, Thomas, about it. I was hoping to ease into asking him in a few days if he’d join me one Tuesday evening. But instead, as soon as I brought it up, he enthusiastically asked if he could join me. He loved the experience and asked if he could continue to come back.
Over the next few months, Thomas and I served together. Eventually the driving became a bit much for Thomas’ schedule, but I do believe in that short time we forged a unique bond together. Paradigms changed for both of us.
This is what I knew I needed coming out of trauma: to re-forge bonds with old friends and especially with family. We tend to think of serving as doing good for those whom we serve. And it is. But because of my college experience, I also knew serving would have a far bigger impact on my life than I ever felt I could have on theirs. My experience serving at The Forge has dramatically affected my relationship with myself, with God, and with my boys.
The Center for Action & Contemplation, aptly named because we must often do in order to understand, lists as one of its core principles, “The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better.” Here is my question for you: Do you ever feel like you don’t understand why the world is the way it is—like things will never change? I invite you to consider serving with one of our mission partners like the Forge in order to experience the kind of change we all deeply long for.