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The Layers of SOS Memphis

SOS or Service Over Self is a ministry in Memphis that exists to glorify God by proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed through urban home repair camps.  Our family has had exposure to and been somewhat involved with the ministry over the years, but this week, our church, “adopted” SOS114.

Layers is what comes to mind when I think of yesterday.  Service in layers. The word picture of service Over self unfolded for me in a way that expanded across generations, community and races.

Here are a few ways:

1.  High school kids are in town serving middle-aged to elderly home owners in Orange Mound.  College-aged kids intern with SOS to lead the high school kids. Children ranging from ages 5-12 serve the high school kids and leaders by handing them popsicles while they work in the heat.  Layers of generations.

2. Our church signed up to serve the campers at SOS114 this week.  That means, each night, a small group will serve the high school students and leaders in Orange Mound by preparing the food already provided or providing food and cleaning the kitchen. Someone also shows up with popsicles each day for the hot workers and prays for them before their day begins.  Layers of community.

3.  With each home we visited, an SOS leader shared the story behind their work.  Shelley told the kids about the neighborhood and the needs of the people in such a way that I hope is forever imprinted on my mind.  At each stop, we heard the name of the home owner.  Our children prayed for them and their needs.  At the last home, my 7 year old prayed.  Abby prayed for Teddy.  White Abby for African-American Teddy.  How many times has my child seen the broken-down home of a man in Orange Mound and felt moved to pray for restoration, crossing racial barriers that she may not even see? Opportunities of SOS, providing layers of… grace.

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