Periodically I haunt the website https://www.justserve.org/ just to see what is happening. And what happens is that I find fabulous opportunities for myself and my family to step outside of ourselves and into a story. Life is the stories you can tell, yes?
Our most recent JustServe story started a month or so ago and culminated this weekend. I found an Ogden Pioneer Days announcement that offered 9 people the chance to clean trash from the rodeo arena. Those willing to show up at 6:30 a.m. July 21 and spend two hours removing debris from the stadium seats would be given complimentary tickets the the evening’s rodeo. YAHOO! A chance to participate in a service project AND get free rodeo tickets…… Cowboy up partner!
A month ago the family willingly agreed to participate. When I awoke them at 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning they were not so willing. In fact, several of them were downright hostile. As with most worthwhile things, it was difficult to get started. In all honesty, I was not thrilled about leaving the house at 6:00 a.m. to go pick up empty beer containers either. But I had promised that five of us would show up. And five of us did.
And all five of us had a good experience. There is something about removing trash from outdoor stadium seats in the cooler morning hours with like-minded individuals that is intrinsically rewarding. Volunteering is generally that way---yes? It gets us outside ourselves for a moment. And being outside one’s self is a peaceful place to be.
Saturday’s experience was not our first JustServe adventure. We’ve had many.
- The Community Christmas event (https://www.lifeisthestoriesyoucantell.com/life-is-the-stories-you-can-tell/just-serve ) where we ran carnival games for the children of econonically challenged families while their parents “shopped” for gifts from donated items was a JustServe gem.
- Grace, Miles and I spent a Monday evening at a Catholic Community Services food pantry filling boxes with canned goods for low income, homebound elderly people. It was almost like assembly line work--three cans of soup, a box of granola, two cans of veggies, three cans of fruit, a box of Sun chips in each box--but much, much more rewarding. It was a JustServe FHE for us.
- Lance, Cooper, Chick and I manned a water stop at and Miles ran in a World Vision Global 6K for Water event sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church of Ogden. http://www.standard.net/Faith/2018/05/05/Church-hoping-to-help-third-world-with-6K-race, another Hislop adventure found on JustServe. It was the friendliest and funkiest road race we’ve ever been associated with. Friendliest because they repeatedly and very graciously thanked us for volunteering, they invited us to pot luck luncheon afterwards and they laughed at Lance’s jokes. Funkiest because the race had clearly been organized by non-runners. The 6K race started at 10 a.m. and was scheduled the same day as the Ogden Marathon. The starting “gun” was a participant who said “Okay, let’s go”, the inner city course had 25 90 degree turns, the event was not timed, and race ended where the line for the food at the potluck started. Miles won the race--at least he was the first person to cross the non-existent finish line--and was given a half-full bag of salt water taffy as his prize.
- The Roy 14th ward Young Women are sponsoring a baby shower on August 8 and have invited all the women in our congregation. All gifts brought to the shower will be donated to St. Martha’s Baby Project and will be given to disadvantaged mothers. Where did the YW get the idea? Yep….JustServe. (If you would like to donate a new or homemade baby item, please let me know.)
- For his Eagle project Miles is organizing a thank you card campaign associated with Operation Gratitude and Davis County RSVP. On Veterans Day Observed (November 12, 2018) the students at his school will be invited to write Thank You cards to veterans and servicemen and women, Where did he find out about Operation Gratitude? Yep….JustServe.
JustServe is not just a Utah thing. (I think it was started in California…..) It is not a just a Mormon thing either. It is, however, a good thing. A great thing actually.
Just serve! Just do it!!