Welcoming New Life

A Reflection on Resurrection Sunday by Jen Nyago, Director of Hospitality

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I enjoy organizing events with G.O.D. Int’l because they highlight the heart of our people so well. This past Resurrection Sunday morning we had about 50 volunteers offer their time to help organize our celebration event. There were over 550 baked goods, all provided by volunteers. 150 children were gifted with take-home plant-growing kits to plant with their families. All in all, we had over $900 in donated services and supplies, all solicited, gathered and dispersed by volunteers looking to offer a service to our Lord and to one another. This dollar amount doesn’t even include the breakfast spread that was donated!

With any event, I am so thankful for the gifts that come together by so many helpful hands. But it's also the way the services were offered that is inspiring. Together we created a memory centered around this reality that has changed all of us: Jesus’ resurrection power.

Our set-up crew arrived at 6 am. We huddled around in the dark to pray, overlooking the G.O.D. Field. I shared how our gatherings have continued to grow over the years. People are in search of the Lord and because of that, what we see on a day like Resurrection Sunday will expand even more in the years to come. This expansion is local, but also spreads globally into the regions in which we work. The Lord has been so faithful to grow us in numbers, and also in our capacity to love well.

We prayed throughout the morning that the Lord would withhold the rain just long enough for the event. I kept thinking about how our guests needed the opportunity to reflect on the resurrection power of Jesus. The Lord responded, keeping us dry long enough for a powerful message on the way resurrection power should transform how we interact with one another. No one is exempt from this resurrection power. It’s available to the prisoner on the cross next to Jesus. Jesus told him, "Today you'll be with me in paradise," (Lk 23:43). Sickness, brokenness and death are not given the final word—a truly liberating message. After the sermon, just as we joined together for the closing prayer, the clouds opened enough for the sun to peek through again.

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As our clean-up crew was wrapping things up and almost all our guests were gone, I was approached by a gentleman I'd never seen before. “Is it over?” he asked. I told him it was, but welcomed him anyways. We sat and chatted for a while. He explained he was trying to get his life together. He’d just been released from prison, having now spent half his life there. It was difficult to look into his eyes without feeling the weight of time lost. He’s in his forties now and he has already missed so much. But there he sat. Dressed up, ready to connect with people who know the Lord. He couldn’t find a ride to arrive in time. But he had told someone he would come and wanted to keep his word. He wants to be known. He wants to do well. Those of us there gathered around him and prayed for him, reminding him that God sees him and he can do good in the world. Mistakes, imprisonment, suffering, feelings of being “behind” in life - these cannot have the final say. Jesus is extending to this man resurrection power - the opportunity to emerge from his former “tomb” as a powerful sign of all God can do with someone who is willing. 

We were expecting around 250 people for this event. We had more than 300. We had more than enough to receive everyone who came. I wish our new friend had made it for the service. But instead, he was still received and benefitted from some resurrection-themed hospitality. I’m thankful for the faithfulness of the many hands that surrounded me last Sunday. It will be one I won't soon forget. I know we are all most thankful that Jesus is alive. That reality changes everything, and makes a place for everyone.