Written by Allan Mitchell
Connecting Streams hosted its annual Celebration and Volunteer Appreciation Event, on May 26th, 2013.
Once again, Lana Wilkins and her musical team created a celebratory atmosphere of thanksgiving by leading attendees in worship. Ministry stream leaders and volunteers testified of God’s faithfulness, and Connecting Streams’ continuing influence within respective outreach venues and in their personal faith experiences. Every testimony reiterated and affirmed God’s call to ongoing commitment, perseverance, and surrendering self for His kingdom.
Lowell, a Salvation Army addictions residence volunteer, spoke about his inner emptiness and his deep yearning for something beyond the comfort of his own life. Through his volunteer experience, God changed his heart and showed him that laying down his life by serving truly brings life. Carla, an Edmonton Young Offender Centre volunteer, described her experience as the highlight of her week. Inspired for influence, her team reassures young boys that they are valuable and that God has a purpose for their lives. As a result of her team’s “just go and show up” commitment, sixteen young boys committed their lives to Christ.
Other volunteers testified of God’s continual favor, grace, and goodness as he uses willing committed hearts to reach out to the “least of these”: Jane, the widow’s outreach leader, spoke about overcoming her own inadequacies and her initial reluctance to commit: “What if I never bothered?” Sixty-four widows would have missed God’s blessing. She reiterated, “ Watch what God can do with our willingness” She concluded that “There is a cost, but it is worth it.” Correctional center volunteers recounted God’s faithful presence in the midst of unspeakable heartache and sorrow. They testified that many inmates consider prison as the place God rescued them—some portray a tough exterior, but inside, they cry real tears—and every week, many inmates, men and women, commit their lives to Christ.
Donna, Connecting Streams’ Director, introduced new staff member, Carrie Lynn Lund. Carrie described her faith journey and God’s call to serve with Connecting Streams. Donna concluded the evening’s inspiring testimonies by reiterating and affirming God’s call for Connecting Streams’ to connect the under-alive church with the broken and marginalized in our world. She alluded to the Samaritan woman’s story to remind believers of the urgency of selfless serving:
“The fields are already ripe for harvest…What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike!”
The evening’s prominent theme reiterates that there is a never-ending ripple effect when believers embrace the life God intended by willingly and intentionally following Jesus into a hurting world. In reflection, Donna observes:
“The harvest is ripe indeed. If we will “be bothered” to do what He asks, the blessings are innumerable – the perpetual ripple effect of transformed lives!”