Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 4, 2012

Caring for Katy 2012

This morning, Kingsland members did not go to church — they were the church. For the fifth time, we closed our doors on a Sunday morning and sent our members into the community to be Jesus with skin on. Our Caring for Katy day is more than an annual event, it is an extension of who we are as followers of Christ and a one-day sampler of the kinds of service initiatives we engage in throughout the year. Last year, more than 3,500 Kingsland members served others through our various local and international missions initiatives. This morning, our army of volunteers clad in their lime green shirts engaged in more than sixty service initiatives in neighborhoods throughout the community.

The weeks leading up to Caring for Katy are exciting as our members identify needs and determine the best way to meet those needs. One of the things that we have learned over the years is that there are lots of needs in Katy that can be easily overlooked. However, because so many of our folks have developed peripheral compassion, we learn about needs by slowing down, being observant, and listening carefully to those around us. When we identify and come alongside those individuals in need, we do more than assist them in practical ways, we also affirm their worth and remind them that they are not forgotten but are indeed loved by God.

Every year I have the opportunity to hear the stories behind our service initiatives. These stories remind me that regardless of who we are and how much we have, there are lots of lonely, hurting, and desperate people who live in the homes along our crepe-myrtle-lined boulevards. This morning I met folks who were overjoyed and others that wept openly — each filled with gratitude that God had sent in-the-nick-of-time kind of help. And I met and saw neighbors who were curious about all of the activity in their respective neighborhoods. In one neighborhood, the police stopped by to see why there were so many cars parked along the street, slowing traffic down to a crawl. These police officers were happy to learn about what was going on.

One thing is certain, there are many people in our community who will rest a little easier tonight and feel a sense of relief they have not felt in a long time because we closed the doors to the church building and showed up in their neighborhoods. And almost two-thousand of our members will think deeply and talk with others throughout the week about what they experienced today. Many of our children learned a little more about what it means to serve others because they had the opportunity to work alongside their parents and made some meaningful memories that will last a lifetime. Most important, I heard both participants and recipients today praising God.

One more thing that encouraged me today was a phone call from my youngest daughter Gina who currently lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Gina participated in over one-hundred service initiatives while at home, including four of our Caring for Katy initiatives. Today was the first time she has been away during Caring for Katy. So, Gina decided this week to mobilize some of the students she works with in Malaysia to have a Caring for Kuala Lumpur initiative. They removed graffiti from signs and also cleaned up a park near her home. They had a great time while setting a good example of serving their community. I’m proud of Gina for dealing with her homesickness because she was unable to be here for Caring for Katy by caring for her own community.

Caring for Katy was a success because the people of Kingsland have taken ownership of our community by identify and meeting needs in Jesus’ name. Our purpose statement says, in part, that we are about loving God and loving people. Today, we lived out our purpose in a meaningful way throughout our community. I am also grateful to Jon Davis, our Missions Ministry Associate, for helping our small groups to prepare for the day. Jon once again did a masterful job of orchestrating our big day of service. Caring for Katy is not over but will continue throughout the year as we continue to love God and to serve the people of our community.

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