Tag Archives: Service

Local Entitlement and Used Toilet Paper

The effects of entitlement are eating away my land.

So, recently the community center in my small rural village raised a flag.  The director made it known that they were running short of toilet paper.  Personal items do not qualify under food stamps, and our local people caught in poverty needed some help. Equipped with an army of students we organized a toilet paper drive.  Week 1: door hangers with instructions to leave tp out one week later. Week 2: drive around and collect it.  Pretty simple, right?

So today my wife, 4 year old daughter, and I drove around and picked up bags of generosity, filled with tp.  While other caravans boasted of greater success, we were struck by a desert of participation.  2 houses in each 30 actually got the tp out on their porches.  My daughter kept asking, “Why isn’t there more?” “People sometimes care more about their own bottoms, darling,” we told her.  And it is true.

At 5.40, with a mountain of tp, a couple hundred dollar’s worth, I get a phone call.  145 East Main. An elderly lady called to let us know we missed her house.  “Keith, this lady is really old,” said my assistant. So, after our community meal, I take Claire and drive over.  I get up to the door. No tp.  I drive around back.  No tp.  When I try the front door, a hand written note greets me,

“Ring bell. If I don’t come, POUND on the door.  Give me time to come.”

This lady clearly gets fed up with making the marathon to her door just after a busy citizen rushes off thinking she’s not home.  She’s always home.

I wait.  In 55 seconds, I see her shadow growing.  She turns the corner from the kitchen, she grunts her walker to the door and opens.  With a laryngeal tremor, she begins to explain.  “Some……body……..al……ready…….came.  I’m………so………sorry………..I………caused………you……another………….trip.”  I’m thinking, “Lady, you’re sorry?! I’m sorry! I am the one that made you get up.  You donated toilet paper today when half the town couldn’t care less.”

As I drove away, half in pity, it came over me: the golden care and concern for neighbor is on a downward spiral. And here, shut in her home is wisdom, humility, and empathy incarnate.  Will the desert of compassion end for our land when her generation fades?  Will we regain a concern for our neighbors, visit shut ins, and take an extra trip to the dollar store to donate tp?  I hope so.  But the spirit of entitlement feels in our day, pardon my speech, a lot like used toilet paper.





Global Community/ Local Service: An Asbury Service Learning Entrée

Global Community Development Mondays: Journal Entry 2.

Monday- June 14th, 2010: Garage Sale

Our next phase in the transformation of the garage included a garage sale to 1. get rid of a number of items that we could no longer use, and 2. make a few dollars in the mean time that will go toward the refurbishing of the garage.

We started with an all-day prep on Friday.  10 volunteers showed up throughout the day, though one intercultural moment particularly caught my eye.  We rented a dumpster (now just about full) for the weekend.  At one point we had four men carrying a monster of an air conditioner long dead to the dumpster.  Two hands belonged to a Kenyan, two to a Zimbabwean, two to a Ugandan, and two to an African American.  As we continue to search for beloved community, I saw a sparkle in that moment and watched the community grow closer as they participated in something as simple yet profound as a shared mission to clean up a garage.

The next day brought about 40 community members to Cox’s in search for treasures and furniture’s we were selling.  We made, in total, $111.00.  Though not our goal of $200, there were a few elements of the day simply priceless.  The sale itself brought together our local community and our global Asbury Community.  Not only were the patrons given a chance to mingle with folks from Korea, Kenya, and Singapore, but the event allowed for peoples from all social classes to connect.  We ate lunch after with the totality of our volunteers (about 8 in total), and again every social class (except of course the wildly rich) were present.  As I will continue to testify, the energy at Cox’s has the power to divide our community and the power to bring us together.  It also contains the most intercultural potential I’ve seen on campus.

One conversation stood out to me the most.   There was a North American, Kenyan, and African American standing together helping oversee a portion of the sale.  Their conversation started in small talk but led to a robust discussion on initiation rites and manhood.  The two North American men lamented about the lack of initiation rites in the US while the Kenyan man reflected on his 2 month wilderness passage and how it laid out the expectations for manhood very clearly.  Though it was just one conversation, it represents hundreds of conversations I’ve heard over the course of five years.  While we can have these conversations over lunch or as we walk together, I have witnessed these intercultural interchanges as a usual circumstance when our global community finds herself in shared local missions.

The Mission Continues: every Monday, including tonight (October 4th) 3.30-5.30pm,   at the Global Community Development Center, next to Cluckers.

Global Community, Local Service: An Asbury Entrée

Global Community Development Mondays: Journal Entry 1.

Monday- May 31st, 2010

This past Monday represented the initial phase of our mission.  27 community members showed up to Cox’s (Future Global Community Development Center) to help prepare its infrastructure for our fall launching.  I was pleased to see the international makeup of our shared missions with diverse representation from Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Europe, and North America. It was truly a global gathering.

Except for next Monday, we will meet every other Monday in the summer to begin gathering our global community in shared local missions.

Last Monday, in particular, we were able to pack up and move all but a few linens, dishes, and cookware over to our Turkington unit.  These items needed a better shelter.  We hauled 5 truckloads of materials.  Next steps include organizing the Turkington unit as a sort of storefront, completing the inventory, setting aside at least 10 household setups worth of items, getting the linens bagged up, organizing the furniture, prepping for our garage sale on June 5, and preparing the west bay for meeting space.  I expect this to take most of the summer, so that the space is ready come September to network the community in shared missions.


Now, in the end of September, I am so happy how this has all gone.  We finished the setup u. 40 came this last week. We helped out a local restaurant owner decorate and get some things in order, we gave away two beds and a washer, we helped a lady who works two full time jobs with housework, a prayer team went out among the city, and (my favorite) we visited 3 widows.  One family visited a beloved 93 year old lady. The young boy that went along gave her a silly band.  Classic.  She had no idea what it was, but she gladly received it. Stoked to get to pioneer this work.

Come every Monday, including tonight (September 27th) 3.30-5.30pm.  At the Global Community Development Center, next to Cluckers.

A Letter to Asbury’s Global Community

A letter I just sent to my beloved global community at Asbury


As you know, we have spent the summer with Cox’s Missions.  We were preparing a space through which the global Asbury community could serve together on a regular basis.  We were creating a center for shared missions.  Many gave time every week to both transform the space and serve our incoming international students with hospitality baskets, airport pickups, household setups, furniture setups, and help with transition details (driving to the bank, social security office, etc.).

I loved this last week where we built a stage.  At one point I was working along side my brother from Uganda tearing out an old and rusted heater.  My brothers from the US and India were carefully crafting a stage.  And we all worked with some new Korean students to get a crib and a table.  By the time lunch rolled around, and we went out to Jose’s Mexican.  At that time there were eleven of us from four continents.  And conversation was flying, from African mannerisms to former jobs as international finance gurus.

Altogether on Monday, I served along side of men and women from England, Uganda, Nigeria, Korea, India, and North America (three had been long-term missionaries in both Tanzania and Papua New Guinea).   I love seeing the miracle of the new creation now and the space to watch my brothers and sisters from every nation exert their glory through using their gifts.  We have a good God!

I pray that the Spirit of Global Community only increases as the year unfolds and that at some point you all can experience the joy of working together to show God’s love to his children.

On Friday (August 27th), at Cox’s Global Community Development Center, we will have a special work day- Come any time between 8 and 3.30.  We will finish up our renovation.

On Monday, August 30th, come join in some local service.  We will gather at the Cox’s Global Community Development Center (next to Cluckers) at 3.30pm.  Some will be helping a Seminary family move, some will be out visiting a few widows who live in Wilmore, and some will stay back and be led in Worship by a Korean brother.  Bring your kids (we have especially attempted to make the first project—moving a family—kid friendly).  Then join the crew for a shared meal in the Student Center Dining Room at 5.30 for a potluck.  We will provide the hot dish and drink. You can bring a side salad, side dish, or dessert.

I am happy to answer any questions and hope to see you and your family there!



Global Community Development

In a wounded and globalized world, our hope rests not on the skills of world leaders but on the heart of its 5.9 billion people. Where it is no longer possible to avoid boundaries of race, ethnicity, class, gender and where the inhabitants of this earth lie bloodied in the ditches of injustice, we need masses of humans who can move beyond a mere respectful lack of engagement to a reverential and intentional willingness to call forth the hidden nobility in every person one meets.

This is my occupation. Right now, I actually get paid to do Global Community Development.  Most days are not so vibrant. But there are moments when the European American woman rocks the small boy from Benin asleep as his parents work side by side serving the local community. And then I know that the future is upon us.

The story of the Samaritan, taken from Jesus’ ancient parable, tells of an integrated heart that exerts compassion and justness, action and peaceability. In fact, as the literature of Early Christianity suggests, the Samaritan’s Heart is Jesus’ heart. The final words of his parable include a call to ‘go and do likewise”. Jesus knew that the future of the world would rest on integrated hearts. If we hope for a world where brown and white skinned brothers and sisters walk hand in hand in the massive parks of our flourishing cities, we their grandparents must open our hearts to become Samaritan Hearts. We need to fill this broken world full of faith, hope, and love. Read on in this blog for some guiding lessons I have learned along the way.