I’ve had a lot of thoughts about service lately that I’m writing up for a blog post next week. But for now, let’s go back to this last summer for a minute.
When we got back home to the heat of the desert we were able to be involved with an event to reach out to new refugees who have come from war-torn, troubled areas and help them get on their feet as they work to make new homes here in the desert.
This is something our stake (group of church congregations) does every summer in conjunction with Catholic Charities and an organization called The Welcome to America Project, and there is something I love about that: different organizations working together for a common good.
We welcomed each family as they came in and got to hear their stories as we took them around to different stations to gather piles upon piles of donated things including laundry soap, backpacks, toiletries, diapers, etc.
As the parents gathered the youth kept busy with games:
Oh and stuffed animals too 😉
I was asked to take pictures. Everyone signed photo release forms, so I share these pictures with permission, but I am trying to be somewhat discreet in what I share because I want to.
But there are a few I want to share because look at Dave’s aunt:
Who wouldn’t feel “welcomed to America” with that woman?
There were rooms filled with clothes:
And of course, these helpers too:
Service can be tricky sometimes, but I loved that this day seemed to embody all the goodness of reaching out and was such a good way to connect and welcome those who are coming from such tragic circumstances to a new life and a new beginning.
I do want to share this particular photo since the women were so willing to have it taken and I love that picture on the wall behind them.
Because isn’t that what it’s all about? I do believe there is a God in Heaven who wants us to connect and “mourn with those who mourn,” and “strengthen the feeble knees,” and that Christ provided the ultimate example of that.
I felt so inspired by these people from the Catholic Charities team:
And these ones from The Welcome to America Project (they do some pretty amazing things if you check out their website!):
Here’s the people heading up this whole thing all together:
I LOVED getting to know them all and hearing their stories.
And of course, have to include a little family picture.
Sure love my people up there.
As long as we’re on the top of “reaching out,” a few months ago we received pictures from Yapay, the organization in Bolivia raised money for in our Children for Children concert last year (more info.on that back HERE).
The money we raised went toward school bags filled with books for all these kids:
They look pretty exited about those puppies, don’t you think?
So grateful for all the kids who performed in the concert, and the parents who generously donated to hear those kids perform, raising enough money to help those kids with something that hopefully will make a difference for them.
Our kids are meeting up with our neighbors on Sunday to gear up for our fifth annual Children for Children Concert. They will be deciding which charity they want to raise money for (they have a few good choices to pick from) but if anyone has tips or ideas to send their way, by all means, they’d love to have them! And if anyone wants to do a Children for Children project in their own neighborhoods, let me know and I think my niece wrote up a pretty great list of instructions to get that ball rolling and we can send it your way!