It was a hot July day, and Brooke and I had been walking around Charlestown for enough time that we were starting to sweat. Going inside a coffee shop or a store was starting to seem more and more appealing.
When Brooke saw a sign in a window for a sale on accessories at a store called Haven, we decided to duck in and have a look. The word “sale” and the prospect of AC have an alluring quality at 3:30pm in July.
As we stepped into the store, a woman at a computer in the back waved to us and said hello. She started asking us about ourselves and telling us about her store, Haven.
We learned that the woman’s name was Lindsay, and she had self-started and run a design company called Lindsay Hill Design for some time. She had started a retail shop on the side some years after that, just for fun. She was busy that day, but told us that she would love for us to come back another time and she could talk more. It was just that soon she would be moving her entire store to another part of Charlestown, and everything was hectic because of the move.
An idea started to form in my mind.
“We are actually in Charlestown for the summer, looking for ways to learn about the community and serve the people here. Maybe, if you needed it, we could help you with some of your move?”
“Seriously?” Lindsay looked skeptical, but also thrilled.
It turned out she needed the help, and we needed some more to do in the community in the upcoming weeks. Brooke and I tentatively planned with Lindsay three days that our team would give her our time and assistance, and said goodbye.
Over the next few weeks, our team helped Lindsay move most of her retail, office supplies, and furniture from one side of Charlestown to the other. As a team, we did things like lift heavy furniture and boxes, run side-walk sales, and place items on Ebay. We cleaned bathrooms, installed shelving, and printed labels. We worked our best to meet every need we could on the days we helped Lindsay. (And Lindsay, because she is fabulous, bought us lunch every single time we helped out.)
We were able to develop friendships with Lindsay and her interns, as well as some other people, through helping her move. We were able to share with many people our purpose in Charlestown and our motivation for being here this summer.
It would be easy to say that chance, or serendipity, brought us to Lindsay and her to us.
But I think that wouldn’t be the truth. At the very least, it wouldn’t be the full story.
One of the things I’ve gotten to learn over and over again this summer is that God is always working. He’s working all day, every day, to bring Himself glory and to save those who are lost. And He accomplishes His work through every-day people like our team, like me, like anyone reading this. God uses us.
And I believe that God brought us to Lindsay so that we could help her out a bit, so that she could provide us with some tangible tasks to accomplish (which can be infinitely encouraging at times), and so that we could hopefully share a little bit of the Gospel with her through our time together this summer.
Now this summer – it’s been difficult, at times. It’s been a challenge for all of us here, I know. But the most best amazingly beautiful thing is that I believe this summer has been worth it. Making no money this summer has been worth it. Coming and staying in a college dorm with strangers in order to go as strangers into new communities with the goals of making friends, serving people, and sharing the Gospel has been worth it, and will continue to be worth it.
It’s worth it because of what I (we) believe. I believe that Jesus Christ really came to earth, lived His whole perfect life here, died on the cross for the sins of the entire world (yours and mine included) and rose again three days later. I believe that eternal life and saving grace are found in that story of Jesus. And I believe that sharing that story with everyone around me is of the utmost importance.
I wouldn’t be here this summer if I didn’t believe that, and neither would the team.
And God has faithfully put in our path people to serve. Some of them, we’ve served in quantifiable ways – like Lindsay. Some of them were people who just needed a friend. Some of them needed (and need) prayer. And this summer, we’ve been available. We’ve been available to help those who have needed it, and we’ve had the time to share the love of Christ with all of the people God has placed in front of us through our actions and our words.
So, that’s why I don’t believe in serendipity – I believe in Jesus Christ, instead.
Here are just a few shots of us helping at Lindsay’s new location.