Registered: September 2012
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Finding Our Purpose Through Service
My name is Ashley. I am eighteen years old and have just begun my first year of community college. I have just graduated from Cascade Christian High School. I have been raised as a Christian my whole life, learning the importance of values and sincere actions. I was baptized Catholic when I was in the second grade and attended Catholic school throughout my entire childhood. Both my life at home and my life at school were surrounded by the same value system and important lessons.
I was taught at a very young age the important of community service. Ever since I was old enough to remember, I have been involved in my church. I am a member of a program called Religious Experience (REX). REX is a community of individuals possessing both physical and mental disabilities. The group would gather every other Sunday to sing songs, have snacks, and learn about Jesus together. I have volunteered in this wonderful community ever since I was seven years old.
I have also been an altar server for my church since I was in the sixth grade. During the services I assist the priest by holding candles, towels, bowls, books, and the cross, as well as perform any other duties I am asked to do. I am also currently a volunteer in Childrenís Liturgy of the Word ministry. During the service on Sunday mornings I will lead the young children into a smaller chapel and simplify certain Bible lessons so they will gain a better understanding. I ask them questions, read from Scripture, and answer questions they have for me.
I have also done lots of homeless ministry throughout my life. Ever since I was baptized I would drive up to the Tacoma Nativity House with either my church or school community and serve hot meals to the hundreds of homeless men and women. In January of 2011, I was called to go on a mission trip to Las Vegas with my high school. While we were there we spent a week ministering to homeless individuals and feeding them hot meals. We would go door-to-door in slum areas throughout the city, inviting children to come learn about Jesus with us. We would play games, dance, and love on them.
In March of 2012 I went to New Orleans with another school group. While we were there we spent a week helping rebuild homes that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina many years ago. I could see the huge difference we made during that week, but I can also see the major difference community service overall makes.
Serving others is one of the most important things we can do. There is nothing more humbling and genuine. The definition of service is ďan act of helpful activity.Ē Nowhere does it say that we are going to be paid for our service. Helping others is something we do out of love from our hearts. By serving we are not only helping others; we are helping ourselves grow as well. Service humbles us so that we may open our hearts and realize that there is so much more to life than just ourselves. Itís so easy to get tied up in the busyness of our day-to-day activities. When we make the choice to give up a just brief moment in our lives, we change the world. Other people will be grateful for our acts, and in turn bless someone else. Chain reactions are started when several people try to brighten the lives of others by serving them.
There are so many ways we can do this as well. Not everyone has enough money to donate to all the poor people they see. Not everyone can afford a mission trip, and itís not always easy to go and volunteer at homeless shelters if youíre not part of a church or school group. The good news is that service comes in so many different forms. There is not one act of service that is better than another.
Each individual person has a purpose in this world. They may be a globe-traveling minister or even someone whose random acts of kindness enlighten people who need it daily. We must never feel insignificant, small, or unworthy of acts of service. Taking the time to smile at someone who looks unhappy can make a huge difference. Service means helpful actions. Holding the door for someone in a wheel chair or helping an older person load up their groceries are the simplest things that can change a whole community.
I am very passionate about changing communities. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing genuine kindness being reflected onto people who need it. There is love in the world, and there is also brokenness. By humbling ourselves and demonstrating self-sacrificial love, we can more clearly see our unique purpose in this world.