George and Shannon scanned the faces in the Beijing airport. Their handlers in the U.S. had told them nothing but to look for the man wearing a baseball cap backwards.
George saw him first. Their eyes met, and the man turned and walked away. Trying to remain calm, they followed him into the Asian night.
It was all over in an instant. A car roared up, the couple threw their smuggled goods into the back, and the car was gone.
Their mission complete, now they were just ordinary tourists.
Even after retirement, George Brinkman is always on the lookout for ways to serve the Lord. Smuggling Bibles to China may have been the most dramatic, but it is only one of many volunteer ministries that he and his wife, Shannon, have undertaken.
Though retired, George and Shannon keep a schedule that would wear out most young people. Once a week they hold Good News Clubs through Child Evangelism Fellowship in a rented room at a public elementary school. They minister regularly in a daycare for mentally challenged adults. Once a month they serve food in a kitchen for the homeless. Every year they spend several days volunteering at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, doing whatever work is needed.
George says, “It’s just a way to serve the Lord. That’s how we look at it.”
Each different ministry allows them to serve a different age level and need. The Brinkmans’ work with CEF allows them to reach children who probably don’t hear the gospel anywhere else, and working with the children also gives them access to the parents. Helping the homeless or caring for mentally challenged adults lets the Brinkmans show God’s love in very tangible ways to people who often don’t or can’t show tangible thanks in return. And volunteering at the Creation Museum helps the ministry save on operating costs and increase its outreach. Even volunteering with secular charities provides opportunities to build relationships and share the gospel with other volunteers and participants.
Not everyone has the time to participate in as many volunteer activities as George and Shannon, but most of us can do something, even if it’s only a couple of hours a month. George’s favorite word to describe his volunteer work is rewarding. He says, “It seems like the more you do the more you want to do. It’s all priorities. You have time to do what you enjoy doing.”
There’s certainly plenty to do; all you need is to ask—at your church, homeless shelters, etc., or even search for “volunteer opportunities” on the Internet if you can’t find them another way. Not only will you experience the immediate reward that comes from sharing the love of Jesus with others, you might even enjoy some unforgetable cloak-and-dagger adventures as well!
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