As a Christian, my faith tells me to follow and serve God and to love one another. In that service to God, I believe we should speak up for the oppressed and minister to people in need.
Throughout history, our inability to accept and embrace what makes each other different and unique has caused hardship, resulted in death, and stymied our growth as humankind. God created all of us. However, we treat each other as bitter rivals, not as siblings. We don’t see each other as God sees each of us or we would not treat animals better than our fellow man and woman. The neglect of our fellow American citizens in Puerto Rico in their time of need ignited a call to action; one that started a chain reaction of transformation in my life.
Before I felt powerless to do anything because these problems are so much bigger than 1 person or 1 group. I became depressed or bitter. My heart hardened with each new story of merciless and senseless killings met with inaction or contempt. With Hurricane Maria, God stirred up something in my spirit that cried out “What can I do God? Use me, Lord!” I was tired of complaining. He had already ordered my steps in using a relationship I had maintained with my son’s football friend’s family to find a mission team to channel that zeal to glorify God and help His people.
I have been Blessed to be a part of mission teams who travelled to Puerto Rico to repair homes, donate much needed supplies to local organizations and schools, provide adoption assistance and repairs to the local animal shelters, minister to local residents in distressed areas, donate toys to children in hospitals, and other work in service of Christ.
Out of this experience, I learned that God works through people. Real change is not made on the back of one but on the backs of us all working together as one. Our collective knowledge, experience, and passion to serve our communities, our people, and Christ builds power exponentially.
Instead of using anger to punish, God has worked on me to use grace to love. To reach out and show God’s love and grace in times where things can seem dim. God has put on my spirit the desire to break the silos, the artificial divides that keep us from seeing each other as people. To seek out partnerships to lift up the downtrodden, find common ground to fight common problems (and some too big to tackle on our own).
This ministry is a mission of love. Love for my Father. Love for humankind. Trying to build bridges and mend hearts…one meal at a time.
Raenell “Rae” Shirley
Founder and Executive Director