It has been a fall to remember here in St. Louis….our Cardinals played in the World Series, the fall colors were better than anyone could remember, and at The Fellowship we came together for a number of book discussion groups, as well as hosting pastor from a Dallas church for a weekend seminar.
But one of the most memorable Saturdays to me was the morning I spent helping out our local community along with 5300 other volunteers.
Serve St. Louis’ purpose is “to unite Christ-following churches, organizations and individuals for practical acts of service, making the St. Louis region a better place to live.” Each October, churches lead volunteers out into the community for the day. This year, there were 453 projects, ranging from making blankets for the elderly, to baking cookies for firemen, collecting items for a food drive, and making cards for people in hospice care.
The number of interesting and worthwhile projects made it hard to choose one. But I felt led to help Rooftop Community Church go to a neighborhood in South City and help out Nepalese refugees.
I have learned that community service requires flexibility because things change quickly. It turned out that our project was instead going to be clearing brush from the backyard of an elderly woman’s home in South City. Rooftop partners with New City Fellowship and once a month, both congregations send members out on a Saturday morning of service. One of the beneficiaries of this effort is “Miss Nadine.” She has lived in her home for many years, but is disabled and cannot access her backyard area. It had suffered from neglect for quite some time. About a dozen of us from Rooftop as well as a nearby LDS Ward spent the morning chopping, mowing, and raking brush, as well as moving debris and cleaning gutters.
Our project leader also felt it was important for us to spend time with Miss Nadine in her home, listening to her story. Miss Nadine was full of grace and love and it truly was an honor to meet her and help lighten her load just a bit.
At the end of our morning at Miss Nadine’s, the yard was clear and didn’t even look like the same place as when we started. We said good-bye to Miss Nadine and as she waved to us from her porch, I felt that we as volunteers were the ones blessed beyond measure by this opportunity to be the “hand, feet, and smile” of God in our community.
I look forward to serving again in October 2014. Please consider joining me on Serve St. Louis Saturday!
In the meantime, the planning team for Serve St. Louis welcomes your prayers for the planning efforts, for those churches and organizations developing service projects, for those who volunteer, and for those who serve.