Jason Lopp always liked animals, but he never considered volunteering with them until an opportunity to redesign Carolina Waterfowl Rescue’s website came along.
“Before doing that, they wanted me to volunteer working with the animals so that I would have a better understanding of the rescue and the work they do,” Jason says.
Carolina Waterfowl Rescue rehabilitates and cares for any sick, abandoned, or injured birds with a specialization in waterfowl. The organization rehabilitates injured birds and releases them back into their migratory paths or natural habitats; cares for abused, abandoned, and neglected birds by providing permanent homes at the rescue or with adoptive families; and educates the community about these animals.
What started as a step toward redesigning the website, became much more. Through volunteering, Jason saw a firsthand example of brokenness in God’s creation.
“In the beginning, it was a place to volunteer. However, the first time I walked through the “gimp” yard, it almost brought me to tears. It was a clear picture of God’s design that has been broken,” Jason says. “God clothed each animal in a beauty of their own and to see them without that—without feathers or a beak—is to see something you know looks out of place.”
Jason is convinced Jesus is the one who placed a passion to care for these birds on the director and volunteers’ hearts, whether or not they realize it.
Through his work as a closer penning up the animals at night, Jason has seen God’s creative work and a strong reminder of our great hope.
“One evening I was trying to pen up a swan. I was amazed because I had never seen one, much less up close. This swan was not readily moving . . . it finally moved as I walked along behind it, but it would go so far and stop. It finally came to a point where it stopped getting up and laid its head on the ground.
“I sat next to it petting it. It still would not move after several minutes of petting and an inspiring pep talk, so I knew something was wrong. I carried it to the house and set up a place for it to stay while rehabbers could look at it.
“Next time I was there, I found out it died. The swan had lost its mate and refused to eat.
The director told me this was typical with swans. When they lose a mate, it is extremely difficult to keep the other one alive.
“This hit me in two ways. I was amazed at how God created this creature with such strong relational bonds, but I was sad it chose death like all hope was lost. It was another good picture into the reality of a broken world in contrast to the everlasting hope we have in Jesus.”