Learning to Serve: Serving to Learn

Despite the gorgeous scenery and higher elevation, the sun’s rays were beating down mercilessly on our team of 9 youth and 5 adults working at a house in Weed this past Saturday. We were there as volunteers with the Bowles Fire Recovery Program, a group who have been working to rebuild the homes destroyed in a fire 3 years ago in this Northern California community.

Our task was to fix a gutter system that had been incorrectly installed, spread topsoil piles in the front and the back, cement in fence posts and attach rails along one side of the house, and reorganize a huge pile of “stuff” so the materials in it would be more assessable and useable. We arrived filled with energy and excitement and were warmly welcomed by Ken, a paraplegic who lived there and has been helping his neighborhood recover for the past 3 years.  Ken faced many challenges, but his spirit and inner strength really impacted the kids.

Every year, our Youth ask for opportunities to serve. Giving our young people these experiences is a primary focus of our youth program. Not only do they get to go to different places, but they learn about different circumstances and challenges that people face.  AND…. we learn a lot about ourselves: how to be uncomfortable; to be inconvenienced; to overcome our own limitations; to work together to find solutions; to engage in constructive collaboration. While we often make service opportunities available and of high importance for our young people, each of us can continue to enrich our spiritual lives by serving as we age.  It turns out we are never too old to be open to serving God because acts of service that transform lives come in all sizes and commitment levels!

First Church’s OPEN HOUSE on September 10th is a great opportunity to check out all kinds of opportunities to be God’s hands and feet in the world! Please consider Inviting a friend, neighbor, or co-worker!!! I’m looking forward to serving alongside you this coming year!

—Peggy