The Heart of Service

I am sorry that I haven't gotten a post out recently.  I have been busy with different after-school activities, such as the play we put on a little bit ago, a track meet, and a few other things.

But besides the after-school activities, every year HOPAC has one special week called SEW.  It stands for Service Emphasis Week. Basically, it's a week where we get to serve others. In the weeks leading up to SEW, you sign up for a certain service group.  They gave options for residential trips, multiple different orphanages, some groups that taught art and science at our school, a group that went out to build dog houses for a pound, and a ton more. 

When SEW started, we had all of Monday to plan with our group on what we would do.  I was in a group with five other girls, and we went out to an orphanage called Maunga.   Our job was to paint this one room, so we would paint for about three hours and then we would play with the kids and do crafts with them. 

It was quite the learning experience for our entire group.  The orphanage was run by a Muslim lady that had founded it seven years ago, and she only spoke Swahili.  I couldn't understand a word she was saying, so my group acted as translators.  It got to 120 degrees a couple of day, and there was no electricity or airflow.  But we had a blast with the kids.  We did crafts, songs, games, dancing, and so much more.   The kids were absolutely amazing, and we grew so much closer as friends during that week. 
         These were some of the kids at the orphanage.  Please excuse how awful I look in the photo, I had just spent three hours painting in a room with no fan at 120 degrees fahrenheit.

It was probably one of my favorite things that HOPAC has done so far, and I learned so much about service.  I learned that you can give gifts until you are bankrupt, but if you spend a half an hour with that person and don't give them a single thing, they will enjoy the latter so much more. 

Once when we were in South Africa, when I was five years old, my parents took my sister and I out to the rural area to visit a group of ladies that they had been working with.  All of these ladies had HIV, and were still suspicious of foreigners. What happens so often in Africa with foreigners is that they come to the area, give gifts, promise to help, and then leave.  There was this one lady that was very critical of my parents, and she happened to be the leader of the group.  When we entered the room, it went quiet.  These ladies were astounded at the fact that my parents brought their children to a group of ladies that were HIV+.

But what I did next shocked them even more.  I went straight up to the lady that didn't like my parents, climbed into her lap, and said: "I can sing a Zulu song!"  Now, for those of you who know me, my singing skills were not what they are today!  They were sorely lacking.   But as I kept singing, other ladies started joining it.  When the meeting ended, my sister and I went to all the ladies and started hugging each and every one of them.  This shocked them the most.  These ladies had gone for years with grown adults scared to touch them for fear of getting AIDS.  And yet, these little girls were going around and hugging them like nothing was amiss.  After that, all of the ladies accepted my parents and trusted them.

My point for this was to show you that caring can mean so much more than gifts.  When my parents took us out to meet the ladies, they saw that my parents really cared.  They saw that for all the time and love that my parents put into this group, they weren't just going to leave.  They saw true love and compassion in my parents' hearts.

That's what I learned during SEW.  Instead of just going out and giving gifts, HOPAC made sure that we learned what service is really about- the heart! It's the heart of service that matters.

My challenge to you this week is to do an act of service that requires you to give up time to talk to someone and to pray for them if they are having a hard time.  You don't have to go out and give food to the poor, I want you to encourage someone and give what you have in your heart.

Mathew 23:11~ The greatest among you shall be your servant.


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