Volunteering with Excellence

October 21, 2013 • United States
Samaritan's Purse U.S. Disaster Relief Colorado Flooding

Disaster relief teams ensure that their work always reflects the love of Christ

Nikki Miller, a staff writer, traveled to Colorado to cover the work of our volunteers as they helped victims of the mid-September flooding.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23, ESV).

It’s an interesting sort of mindset you need to have as a volunteer.

Samaritan's Purse U.S. Disaster Relief Colorado Flooding

Volunteers are still working in Colorado to clean up areas that were devastated by flooding.

It’s a couple parts dedication and work ethic mixed with a servant’s heart and love for Christ. But a big ingredient is also flexibility. And boy does that word fly around a lot on job sites. But if you really think about it, “flexibility” is more or less another way to say you need grace in disguise during stressful situations.

We’re blessed here at Samaritan’s Purse with amazing people who are willing to give it their all during our disaster relief efforts. And in Colorado, it is very evident how doing everything with excellence is a priority for all our volunteers.

Just the other day, a team of Colorado flood volunteers went back to a neighborhood they had been working on the day before. This time though, the government and military had closed down the streets so government debris pick-up vehicles could freely roam the roads and remove the tons of soaked belongings and house remnants out of the way.

One of the men approached our group of orange shirts.

“See this pile at this house? It’s perfect,” the man gestured to a mountain of debris that was completely on the street. Then he pointed to our other house where the debris was closer to the curb and still a little ways on the lawn. “But this one over there? Don’t do that. It has to be on the street.”

Samaritan's Purse U.S. Disaster Relief Colorado Flooding

Volunteers in Colorado have spent most of their time mudding out homes and getting rid of debris.

Before leaving he mentioned that it was OK for this time around but politely asked us to keep it in mind for the future.

“Hey guys,” our team leader said as he looked around at the group and smiled. “Let’s move that pile to be perfect.”

One by one and piece by piece, volunteers started shifting the pile of removed drywall, destroyed electronics, and soggy furniture so that it would be the “perfect” pile the government worker needed—even though he said we didn’t need to. No one asked questions. No one grumbled. They were happy to do it.

A person standing nearby said he wondered why the group would even bother to move the pile and felt bad that they were doing it when they didn’t have to.

But honestly, I think that’s the point.

Samaritan's Purse U.S. Disaster Relief Colorado Flooding

Team Leader Carl Martin meets with his team to discuss their plan of action and pray before the day begins.

Anyone could come in and do a half-fast job helping disaster victims. Technically volunteers aren’t required to give of themselves anyway, right?

Samaritan’s Purse volunteers are different. They give of themselves in the way that Christ would. They want everything they do to reflect the love of Christ. Everything they do needs to be done to the best of their abilities—not for themselves or even for the victims.

Would it be easy to get frustrated in any of these disaster zones? Of course. But volunteers have a resilience that can only come from their God-given strength and graceful flexibility no matter what is thrown at them.

Did that government disposal worker say anything about the pile they had worked to move? No. But that’s the beauty of our volunteers. They didn’t need to be thanked in that moment. After all, they’re investing in a different kind of gratitude. And on that day, without a doubt they’ll hear, “Well done, good and faithful servants.”

To find out how you can become a Samaritan’s Pure volunteer, visit the Samaritan’s Purse Volunteer Network.