The Name Game



There was a song my sisters and I sang when we were kids called, "The Name Game," by Shirley Ellis. It went something like this:


Come on everybody!
I say now let's play a game
I betcha I can make a rhyme out of anybody's name
The first letter of the name, I treat it like it wasn't there
But a B or an F or an M will appear
And then I say bo add a B then I say the name and Bonana fanna and a
And then I say the name again with an F very plain
and a fee fy and a mo
And then I say the name again with an M this time
and there isn't any name that I can't rhyme


Shirley, Shirley bo Birley

Bonana fanna fo Firley
Fee fy mo Mirley, Shirley!


We would sing it the car on our yearly trips to Tennessee. Later as a preschool teacher I would sing it with my children to help us learn each other's name. It was just fun.  Go ahead and give it a turn.  I'll wait......


Now, let's change it up a little and call it the "BLAME GAME."  All you have to do is use the name of the person you blame for any and all circumstances that have happened to you. Anything that stopped you from being the person you could have been. You can have as many or as few as you like. Go ahead give it a turn. I'll wait.....    When you are done singing you can finish reading about a trip I took in June of 2016.


I was blessed to go with 14 other people on a mission trip to Pikeville, Kentucky through Experience Missions. The only way I can describe it is ...  I had no idea of what to expect... It was nothing what I expected.... And it was more than I expected.  In other words, it was amazing.


We were told by the three leaders from Experience Missions, who were much wiser than their young ages of early twenties, that the most important thing was to build a relationship with the people we were helping.  We were told not to focus on changing them or their circumstances, rather to simply treat them with respect.  This all sounded great and something I should be doing as a Christian anyway, so hard could that be?


We were divided into teams.  I was placed with Daryl & Kathy Meyer, Maxwell Lonard, and a friend of Maxwell's. Maxwell and his friend were in high school, the rest of us were WAY passed high school age. Yet, we soon found out that our age difference only meant we had our own gifts from where we were in our lives that we brought to the job site every day. We looked forward to working with each other.


Our team was to make repairs on a house for a family.  We were the second team to work on this house.  We were to finish what was left from the previous team, start the work assigned to us, finish what we could and what couldn't finish would be left for the next team.


When we first drove up to the house on the tree was a sign "Grandchildren Crossing." Kathy and I being grandmothers felt a connection.  We already had something in common and I couldn't wait to meet the people. However, as soon as I walked into the house all of the words of our leaders of not changing them or their circumstances went right out the window. I no longer was looking to build a relationship, rather I looked around and started organizing things in my head of what needed to be done in this house.  "We need to just scrub this room from ceiling to floor." "We need to fix this window."  "The floor in this room needs repairs." Being the "gopher" for 45 years for my husband, who is a retired carpenter, I thought I knew a few things about construction. All I could see was there was no way we were going to get "my" list done in 4 days. How in the world could we build a relationship with the people and get the work done? We were nothing like any repair shows you see on T.V.  What were our Mission Experience leaders thinking?


I also looked around and thought about how our family could change some of their lifestyles in order to better themselves.  Not in a judging way, but in a loving Christian way. Who knows it may come up in conversation and then we would be building a relationship. Well.... that all sounded really good in my head.


Luckily, God quickly soften my heart to see what HIS purpose was for us on this trip. I'm so glad he did, for if he had not I would have missed out on seeing him work. I couldn't believe all we got done on the house while still being able to do the most important part of the mission trip - letting others see Christ in us by serving. While hanging insulation, hanging drywall, taping drywall, painting the room, trimming out the room, scaping the outside of the house, painting the outside of the house, we actually got to know the people we were helping.  We even met some of their family, friends, and neighbors. They taught us so much because we were able to take the time to know them and let them know us.


One thing that really stood out to me about the family we were helping, was the whole time we were there, not one time did they play the "BLAME GAME."  They never blamed anyone or anything for what happened to them. They had no 'Pity Party" at all -- not even a two-minute one.  All they could see was Christ working through those serving through Experience Missions. They were so thankful. They were proud of their new repairs for now their family could stay with them, especially their grandchildren.  Being a grandmother, I know how important those sleep overs are for everyone! Leaving our new family was hard for all of us. But as we were saying our goodbyes, though laughter, tears and hugs we could feel God right in the middle holding all of us. We knew they would be in good hands.


Those four days changed my life and I don't ever want to lose what God taught me while in Kentucky! But being human I sometimes do yet, all I have to do to get back on the right track is to think of this trip and this family.  I think of the team God assigned me. I think of our leaders from Experience Mission.  I think of my church family that I got to know on a deeper personal level. I think of each evening of the trip where we would come together for a devotional, sharing what we had accomplished and learned from the day. I think of those from other states that I got to know who came to work that week as well.  I think of how my heart felt. I think of how thankful to Lisa Habeeb and Lori Lonard for arranging this trip.  I think of how this family taught me not to blame others or anyone for what is going on in my life.


Remember "THE BLAME GAME" you were just singing? Let's change it up a little. Let's sing another song called the "PRAISE GAME." All you have to do is use the name of the person you want to praise for any and all circumstances in your life. Go ahead, give it a turn. I'll wait.....



Some things to do:

1.      Google the song "I've Got a Mansion" Where is your mansion?

2.      Goggle (youtube) The Name Game

3.      Read: I Timothy 6:5-7

4.      Read: James 2:1-2

5.      Read Genesis 3




"We are who we are because of, or in spite of people and circumstances in our lives. We have the choice."


"Alwaysblaming others for your misfortunes leaves you blinded to the fact that you, yourself, might be the problem." - unknown


©Melinda Sutherland, 9/1/2016


















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