Love to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self.
I’ll never forget the day our host dad took us to a farm to pick up pet lambs for ourselves. He introduced us to Farmer Bill, and he led us onto a section in his barn where he had a number of two week old lambs that had been rejected by their moms because they were “imperfect.” There were so many! The lambs did not shy away from us, but immediately latch on to us (most likely because we were about to feed them!). I held a very small lamb and my heart instantly melted with immense love for this fragile creature cuddling against my chest. While I held on to this little lamb, the thought occurred to me that this precious animal was a reject; not wanted for whatever reason, yet to me he was perfect. This gave me a better understanding on the love God has for his children. We are by no means perfect, yet in his eyes we are of great value; precious in his sight!
The team has learned valuable lessons during the time spent in New Zealand caring for students at the local public school, the animals in the farm, the neighbors and church members, as well as our Abante family (which includes our host family.) Everything we see, and experience is a constant reminder of how we should love selflessly. We find ourselves at one time or another, going out of our way to show love and to support each other -whether in the team or outside of the team. Showing love in how we cook for people, or how we clean and do our chores truly helps us understand how servant leadership works; we must look for ways to serve others first and foremost, rather than satisfy our own needs before theirs. Through our experience with the pet lambs we see how service and love go hand in hand. We serve because we love, and we never look more like Christ than when we are serving others selflessly.