Getting involved

It’s one thing to sit around and talk about ideas or projects; quite another to do them. I was reminded of that during the past week.

On Saturday, instead of reporting on a mission project, I had a chance to participate with Woodhaven Baptist Church as it observed a day of Operation Inasmuch, a popular missions effort that was pioneered more than a decade ago by David Crocker and Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville, and is now nationwide.

My son Samuel and I joined 40-50 other volunteers in packing meal kits for distribution through schools in developing countries where hunger is a serious issue. Working through an organization called Stop Hunger Now, we packed 13,000 meal kits, each containing a cup each of soy flour and rice, along with dehydrated vegatables, seasonings, and vitamins. Adding water and boiling makes for a nutricious meal that’s actually tasty (seriously — we sampled some for lunch afterward).

Volunteers working through the Raleigh-based organization have packaged more than 94 million meals, and the number rises daily. Churches or other volunteer groups can find information about hosting an event, or individuals wishing to donate to the charitable cause can find further information at the Stop Hunger Now website.

Lacey Davis prepares to dunk the professor as others observe and practice.On Tuesday, I wasn’t doing volunteer work, but had a chance to get my feet wet through a baptism practicum at Campbell University Divinity School. As regular part of the “Life and Work of the Minister” course, we talk about the significance of baptism and the Baptist emphasis on baptism by immersion — then go practice in the school’s natatorium.

I can remember the first time I baptized someone — in an outdoor baptistry and with no previous experience. The candidate was a grown man, considerably larger than me. I had no training at all, so we were lucky that both of us made it out without any untoward events. Campbell Divinity students, though, get tips on technique, then  hands-on experience, practicing on people who are both larger and smaller than they.

A third opportunity for involvement came when I saw that the Agora Scholarship fund, which supports emerging businesses in developing countries, has agreed to sponsor Xochitl Palacios and her young business called DeliMaya. Starting from a room in her home, Xochitl (pronounced “so-cheel”) is building a healthy snack business, drying and packaging local fruit and some vegetables native to El Salvador.

Xochitl Palacios describes her business, from a video on the Agora website.Xochitl is related to friends of mine from Washington, DC, and about 18 months ago she helped host a church group that had come to visit (a series of travelblogs about it begins here). She gave all of us samples of her fare, and most of us bought additional items to bring home. This week I considered it an honor to contribute to the Agora Scholarship fund to help expand Xochitl’s business and provide jobs for more people in El Salvador.

Opportunities for involvement abound … they’re all around … and something about us feels a bit more alive when we get past talking, and get involved.

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