My auto accident has given me some awesome stories to share. One of the best involves two friends from my faith community, Curt & Vi Nissly. They have faithfully given their lives to missions and disaster relief ministry, both internationally and inside the US for over 30 years. They are real hands-on disciples.
They were the first ones I contacted after the ambulance drove me to Hershey Medical Center. I called them from the Trauma unit when I was finally settled into my room. I called Vi’s cell phone, and she answered from New Orleans–She and Curt were down there on their 15th two-week restoration project for a local Assemblies of God church.
These trips are primarily hand-on reconstruction trips, with plumbers, carpenters, electricians, laborers, and clean-up crew members. Over the Christmas holidays, they also take along gifts, toys, and bible-related chilldren’s media for local children.
There’s never much publicity about their trips–no recognition, no sendoff, no cameras, and no press coverage. There’s no PR value or anything particularly glamorous about ordinary manual labor. Curt & Vi just do what they do because they feel the Lord is asking someone to do what needs to be done. So they just step up and do it–over and over again.
The drive to New Orleans is long, labor continues long into the nights, accommodations are spare and communal, and it’s tough work unless the crew members carry a willingness to get down and dirty when they sign up. These are not trips for the work-adverse.
But Curt and Vi, and a growing group of willing volunteers continue to plan, organize, and labor as long as the need for help exists. That’s the kind of real disciples they are!
Anyway, back to the story…
When they were back home, they came to visit me, and then went into “disaster relief overdrive”! They stopped by my apartment to assess what needed to be done there. (My doctor said I could not go back to a home with 22 steps to the front door, and that I needed to stay off my leg, keep it elevated and positively do not drive until he decided I could.) He’s a tough-love kinda Doc.
Once Curt and Vi saw what needed to be done, (laundry, dishes, cleaning, packing, moving, etc) they recruited a team from our community, assigned tasks, and over the course of the next three weeks, found another ground-floor apartment, sent my landlord a notice of early termination, did 7 loads of laundry, cleaned up my apartment, packed and stored all my “stuff” and steam-cleaned the rugs.
By February 20th, they had handed back my keys to the landlord, and stopped by the rehab center to tell me they had finished the first stage of my “relief” project!
These are disciples who don’t know the meaning of “only what’s humanly possible” . . .
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. (Matthew 6:3-5)