Prior to this service, I really had no idea the extent to which poverty existed in our community. We had a comfortable life, both of us working professionals. Our community group did a Bible study called “Opening Your Gifts” in which I found that my gift of administration was strong, but my mercy gift was not. It actually hurt my heart (and my pride!) that mercy was not my strong suit as I was raised in a household where service to others was part of everyday life! I began to pray and ask God to help me become more merciful in my interactions with others.
That opportunity came in 2002 when I went to lunch with three gentlemen from our church who shared that Samaritan House was to become an independent, faith-based non-profit organization, and they thought I would be an ideal person to lead the new entity (aka my strong administration skills/gift). I jumped at the opportunity to leave behind the stress of the business world and to help change the face of NWA for those who lived in poverty!
What I learned those first few years (and still see to this day) is that the real change that needed to happen was IN ME…. I needed to know and understand that wealthy people can still be poor (in spirit or in relationships). I needed to witness that the hurting and hungry were generous and kind, often willing to go without to insure their neighbor had something to eat. I needed to observe that people who in their grief or pain could encourage one another from a point of empathy (not sympathy).
I have always wished I could share the beauty of the relationships that have been formed with people whose lives and experiences are nothing like anything I have ever experienced. Not to mention the humbling things I have been taught through those relationships. And I guess that this blog is a way in which I can do so. And by the way, I recently retook the spiritual gifts inventory and my mercy score is on the rise? LOL
By Debbie Rambo, SCC Executive Director