Community Unfied & Strengthened Through Service

I really like this video and the message about strengthening communities by serving together and having community-wide “days of service”. Drawing on an invitation by President Eyring, they looked for opportunities to serve in their community and sought inspiration from the Holy Ghost about which opportunities they should pursue. They then got help from families and others in their community to perform the service.

Several religious and other charity groups work together in Oklahoma tornado cleanup effort

There’s a lot to like about this news report. I love how several volunteer groups, including Mormon Helping Hands, the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, Baptist charity groups and other organizations were working together to help the people in Oklahoma after the recent tornado. Also just seeing people care enough to voluntarily give their time and money in service for their neighbors strengthens my faith in society and inspires me to want to do the same. These are people of faith putting their time and money where their prayers are.

From mormonnewsroom.org:

“…an estimated 2,500 Mormon Helping Hands volunteers assisted their neighbors over the Memorial Day weekend, working an estimated 15,000 hours. In several neighborhoods, Church volunteers worked shoulder-to-shoulder with other groups to assist tornado victims in a common effort.

“The focus of who we are in terms of wanting to give service to our fellow man really binds us together as a community,” said local Church leader, Kevin Graves. “You see people of great faith and a lot of love for their fellow being regardless of their religious denomination.”

…volunteer Carlos Coronado said all of the groups were helping together because they believe in following the example of Christ.

..Baptist charity Mercy Chefs served meals to the hungry including Mormon Helping Hands volunteers working in different parts of the devastation. The charity is made up of professional chefs who donate their time to prepare hot gourmet meals for victims and volunteers.

…When around 40 Church missionaries clad in Mormon Helping Hands vests and tee-shirts arrived on their property, Karen Johnston was overwhelmed with relief. “I was like, oh my… the army is here! The army in the yellow shirts!” she said.

A little while later, a group from the Journey Church from Norman, Oklahoma and the Fellowship church out of Dallas, Texas came to help too. Soon the “army of yellow shirts” was mixed with an army of people wearing red tee-shirts, all working together.

Pastor Andy Boyd said there are churches and faith-based groups all working for a greater cause to help people like Mark and Karen. “It’s not telling them the gospel it’s showing it to them,” said Pastor Boyd.”

On a few occasions I’ve heard people say something to the effect of, mormons spend a lot of time and money building temples and doing missionary work, why doesn’t your church do something to help the needy? Resisting the urge to blurt out, “we do!” and pull out a stat sheet, my better response is this, let’s work together and do more to help because there’s a lot of people who are in need, and not just people who are suffering from natural disasters, and not just people who need monetary assistance. All of these groups have given us a tremendous example of how to do it.

As he that serveth

In gospel principles class today at church today we had a really good lesson about service. There were several people in the class who aren’t LDS, there was also a few who had recently joined the church. Yet everyone in the class contributed comments or questions or helped read from the manual or scriptures. I love how we’re all from different backgrounds yet there was a unity in how we felt about the need to serve people around us to make theirs and our lives better and happier.

One of the questions our teacher asked was what are some examples from Jesus’s life where he served other people? One person mentioned the washing of the Apostle’s feet and how this demonstrated his humility doing even seemingly undesirable types of service, another girl brought up the feeding of the five thousand, someone else mentioned how the Savior had went away to be alone after the death of John the Baptist and then people still managed to find him– even though he was in mourning and probably had preferred to be alone he still helped the people that came to him.

I thought of when the Savior was on the cross, in his moment of greatest agony he was still thinking of other people. He told the man on the cross next to him (I’m paraphrasing) “today you’ll be with me in paradise”. This was no doubt a huge comfort to a man who had acknowledged he was guilty and deserved to be punished but that Jesus was innocent, yet the Savior wanted him to know there was forgiveness available to him. Also while on the cross the Savior thought of his mother and he told John who was standing near her, “behold thy mother”, in effect giving John the responsibility to care for her since he no longer could. In everything he did, Christ was our perfect example of an unselfish servant of God and of the people around him. He was not concerned with being inconvenienced or with his own suffering or pain, everything he did was to reduce and eliminate the suffering of others and bring light into their lives. He said in Luke:

“…I am among you as he that serveth.” (Luke 22:27)

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