Growing up in a large church gave me many opportunities to serve others. My first mission trip occurred while I was in seventh grade and took place only a few hours away from where I lived. My youth group and I helped an elderly lady fix her house. We got rid of all trash and weeds in her yard, we cleaned the inside of her house, and we washed her laundry. I was in charge of washing her clothes. I will never forget picking up a towel that had a huge hole in it, then looking around realizing all of her towels had holes in them. These were not her rags but her bath towel and wash cloths. Her clothes even had holes in them. I remember coming back to her house and seeing it clean. Her floors, yellowish-brown from years of dirt, were now white, her front yard covered in trash and weeds was presentable, and her bathroom, which was so disgusting we had to wear masks to even clean in there, was now livable. The smile on her face as she looked about her clean house and the tears in her eyes are something I will never forget. Since then I have loved to help people.
To believe is to know something is true. To truly believe something the person must have confidence in what they believe. I think Coke is better than Pepsi and Macy’s is better than Dillard’s. But the belief I try to live by everyday is to love others. I believe in serving others but not just serving them but loving them and putting them before myself.
My church has held event each year for as long as I can remember called the Feast of Plenty. Once a year we provide services to lower income and homeless families. The city will shut down one of the busiest streets, a restaurant will donate food, and doctors will give their time to look at the people, all for free. People can get their nails done and their hair cut and we provide entertainment for their children. The Feast of Plenty is my favorite event that the church puts on because this is a chance to help people in my own community. The hugs and smiles are priceless and it makes me happy to see them happy.
Serving others can also be an everyday occurrence as well. I realized those in need are the people who are around me daily. If my friend is unable to pick up dinner then I am more than willing to get it for them. When a person needs more to drink, I will refill their cup. If they need trash thrown away then I will do that too. My cousin is an example of how to serve others. I had two flat tires and a dead battery in one week and he came to help me every time. Even when I called for the third time and told him he did not need to come, he still was more than willing to assist me. He was not selfish and did not ask for anything in return.
One day at dinner, I called my friend to ask if he had eaten. I offered to bring him food but my friends with me gave me a hard time about it. They were worried that people would take advantage of me because I am so willing to help. Why is it that the world thinks it is weak and foolish to serve others? If a person wants to take advantage of me then they are weak and not me. People consider the golden rule to be “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If I was a homeless person I would want people to help me, so by serving others I am living out the golden rule.
Serving others means putting people before oneself. Any time I serve someone there is a sacrifice. It can be as small as loss of time to less spending money. I traveled to Russia during my spring break with my church. I went there to teach English to high school students and to assist in an orphanage. Traveling to Russia is not cheap. I saved everything I had earned over the summer and school year to pay for the trip. This means I was short on funds so I was not able to do the things I liked with my friends, like go to the movies and all the dinners. I had to pick and choose. I had to spend my money wisely. Sacrifice does not always have to be a big gesture like spending all of one’s savings; it can be as simple as giving away old clothing. When I traveled to Russia for the first time I had to buy winter boots. I decided that the boots were better served in Russia so I left them there. It does not seem like a big deal but I only had a worn down pair of sneakers to wear for the rest of the trip. Letting my feet freeze for a week was a small sacrifice I needed to make so a child would have shoes to keep their feet warm for years.
There is so more to serving than meets the eye. I have learned over the years that it takes loving others and willing to make sacrifices for people so that they can have a better life. Service does not have to be a big commotion it can be little, everyday things like picking up something someone dropped. I believe that it is all about making someone else happy by being there to help them. It is about looking past my own needs and looking to the needs of others. I believe in serving.