Just Being Present

During my freshman year, I went on a missions trip with my church over spring break to Haiti. As I prepared, my team leader, Matt, called me to discuss the logistics and clarify any of my questions. I remember immediately asking, “What does the schedule during the trip look like?” Matt casually replied that we didn’t have a schedule because our main job was to be with the children at the orphanage.

No schedule, no to-do lists, just being.

Uh, excuse me? I signed up for a missions trip. In my mind, this should involve a lot of doing. I was ready to be the hands and feet of Jesus and do some serious serving in Haiti. I didn’t understand how being present with the children equated to the missions part of a missions trip. I wanted to be doing. And just being present did not feel like missions to me.

A few weeks later, my team finally arrived in Haiti. As I surveyed my surroundings at the orphanage, my first impulse was to look around and see what I could do. I saw so many needs and things that could be done. But then I remembered—be intentionally present.

Rather than needs and tasks, I began to see people and their lives. Through broken English and my poor Creole, I was able to listen and know the people I came to serve. Once I knew the children and loved them, I was able to serve them the way that Jesus serves and loves me.

When Jesus began His ministry on earth, He surrounded Himself with people, not tasks or projects. He did not die for the world because He saw a “great need” but because He loved the world.

Choose today to be intentionally present with those you are serving and love them as Jesus has loved us. Make less schedules and more time for people!

Emily Killen is a recent grad and current graduate student of Samford University who loves exploring and tasting all that Birmingham has to offer.





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