This weekend for me, and for many others, was centered on the Super bowl. For my friends, this weekend has always been a party weekend with lots of food, friends, and a great time for those watching the game as well as those who aren’t into the game. Althought this weekend wasn’t lacking in the food, friends, and fun department, this year was a little different for me.
This time around I really threw myself into a service project called the Souper Bowl of Caring. Along with about five thousand other groups across the country, I worked to try to make a difference this weekend for those who possibly weren’t able to enjoy a weekend the way that many of us are accustom to.
It started on Saturday when I went with six teenagers to Ms. Maylee’s house. She is a widow in her 90’s who lives alone. Looking at her house it was obvious that it was in need of some repairs and when we arrived there, smoke billowing out of one of her windows. Ms. Maylee had been without heat the past few days because her chimney was clogged and because the power outlets in her room weren’t working. So we split up and joined the others who were already there helping make a difference for Ms. Maylee. Together we cleaned out her chimney, cleaned up and mulched around her place, cleaned her kitchen and bathroom, and got her heater and wood burning stove back to working. I got to spend some time talking to her about the past few days, her dog Blister, and how thankful she was that people were there to help her during this difficult time. As we were leaving to head over to the Rescue Mission, people from her church showed up as well to check on her and continue the good work. When we got over to the Rescue Mission, we lead a small chapel service and then ate with those who were there for a nice warm meal.
On Sunday, we had been encouraging our church members to bring a can and a donation to give to IAM and the Rescue Mission. In the past we had raised as much as $700 and 300 cans. This year the response was amazing. Our church and community responded by giving $1742 and 542 cans. Whether it was because we had an article in the local paper about this service opportunity, or because people are very aware of the needs in the current economic situation, the giving to those less fortunate was really inspirational.
I think that this weekend was such a meaningful time for me because over the past year I’ve really been struggling with what my faith means to me. Like I’ve said before, I don’t think that it’s me losing my faith, but me rethinking my faith. During this time I’ve repeatedly remembered the words of Pastor Rich Pagan who always says “You will get more happiness from helping others than you will ever get trying to make yourself happy.” I fell as though I’m on a journey to become a different kind of person, someone who truly looks to take care of those around me, not just look out for myself.
What if everyone committed to having only what we need rather then everything we want, and then gave the surplus to the needy amongst us? – Scott Phillips
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
– James 1:27 (NAS)