One thing about churches ... particularly Baptist churches, since those are the ones I'm most familiar with ... is that many have missions.
According to the Great Commission, Christians are to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19, New Internation Version). And many Baptist churches (and other churches) do this in many ways.
One way is to take what's called "mission trips" where a church will send a small group to a place for a period of time to work or perform other activites. Sometimes these mission trips are within the U.S., such as following Hurricane Katrina. Much of the time, though, they are overseas. Or outside the U.S.
Monday night, at the Catfish game, I met a group from Lakewood Baptist Church in Phenix City that had been on a mission trip the previous summer to the Dominican Republic.
A lady from the church sat in front of us (the Wife and me) at the game, and Linda (that's her name, Linda) told us a little about the youth group from the church.
Last summer, 9 youth (plus some adults) went to Santo Domingo, DR, on a mission trip. It's a big deal to the youth, as they don't get to go every year. About every other year is their schedule, and last year was the fourth trip youth from that church went.
Anyway, some of the youth had been on that last trip, but others at the game hadn't been on a mission trip. They did get to participate in a related activity, though.
You see, they found out that the Catfish roster includes four player from the Dominican Republic. Pitchers Mario Alvarez (Yaguatas), Marlon Arias (Bani), Arismendy Castillo (Quisqueya) and Ramon Troncoso (San Jose de Ocoa) are from that nation.
The church group decided to show up and cheer for the DR players that played. They had posters done up with each player's name and number, and made a Dominican flag to hold up.
When they arrived at the game, one of the players from the DR saw the flag, asked what was up, then called the other three Dominicans over. The youth got to meet the players and get autographs. It was a pleasant surprise for the players, having someone recognize and cheer for them specifically ... and for the church youth, meeting the players in person when they had no idea it could happen. You see, there was not a meeting of the youth and the players planned.
The youth had fun cheering for the players that they met prior to the game, and enjoyed holding up the posters when the players came into the game. Although there is the possibility of that being a problem for for those sitting behind them. :)
Church mission trips can bring joy ... or relief ... to those being helped by the missionaries. But the youth at the game showed that mission trips can also be a blessing for the missionaries, too.
This is true for Baptist mission trips. And it's true for everyday life. If you find the opportunity to help someone ... it doesn't have to be someone suffering from a hurricane or a disaster ... it can be someone who just needs a kind word ... be a missionary. Make it your mission to help someone.
Like the youth of Lakewood Baptist Church, you'll find you're the one receiving the blessing.