Laborers in The Harvest: Traveling With No Purse, No Shoes and No Bag

We have been Dwelling on Luke 10: 1-12 and on Sunday Angie shared her experience at National Night Out this past week came to her as we were Dwelling. She shared how the sentence “Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals and greet no one on the road” reminded her to let go of expectations and that the Going Local journey is about being present not about having something to offer.

National Night Out

National Night Out is a nationwide event held annually on the first Tuesday in August. It is designed to strengthen our neighborhoods through police-community partnerships. The goal is to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, build support and participation in local anti-crime programs and, most importantly, represents the kind of spirit, energy and determination that is helping to make many neighborhoods safer places to live. It’s also the perfect opportunity to get to know your neighbors even better. Livingston held its first National Night Out in August 2009. It was a resounding success and was attended by an estimated 3,500 residents.

What’s Your Story?

Ginger, one of our Going Local Team members informed the Vestry that she was interested in hosting a “Going Local” table at this event. She planned to bring some cookies (food always brings people), some water and bug spray with a sign asking people “What is your story?” She got the go ahead from the Livingston Police Department so she and Angie attended from 4:00pm-8:45pm that night and were amazed at the responses from the many people they met.

Many stories were shared from all ages and all walks of life. An 11-year-old boy approached the table looking for a cookie and said “he didn’t have a story.” Ginger encouraged the boy and sure enough he opened up to her. She encouraged him to think further about his story that night as he was going to sleep that surely he had even more of a story if he thought about it in the quiet of his room. Another man approached the table and asked, “want to hear my miracle?” Of course!!! The man then told a story of an accident he had, which tore his Achilles tendon causing him to need surgery. The night before his surgery he told them he prayed and asked to be healed without surgery. The next day he went to the hospital for the surgery and the doctor told him he no longer needed surgery. He believes he was healed though his prayers. Ginger also got an invitation from someone associated with the League of Women Voters in Livingston to attend and speak at seminar they will be hosting that is focused on immigration. This woman felt that what our Going Local Team was doing was a wonderful tie-in to this seminar. Several people they chatted with also asked for the name of our church and our service schedule.

Angie’s reflection on Sunday centered on her own experience at National Night out. She first felt uncomfortable about attending this event because we had no free giveaways like the other ‘vendors’ in attendance. She was thinking that no one would stop by. “We had no purse, no shoes, no sandals,” she said. When she reached the table, Ginger was beaming with excitement, eager to share about all the folks that had stopped by to tell their story. While Angie was there, several other people came by. Some shared their experiences as listeners themselves and some shared their stories, surprised that someone was interested in just listening.

Never in a million years did Ginger or Angie think that this was something they would have ever been capable of prior to experiencing Going Local. By putting themselves out there, they pushed themselves out of their comfort zones and went out “into His harvest with no purse, no shoes, no bag” and found it plentiful.

— Tara Gieger

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