Early this year, I had this thought: “I want to be of more service.” I was doing the occasional outreach, but I felt I needed to be more consistent. I wanted to be face to face with the people I wanted to serve, not just reading about them or blogging about them–I wanted to interact with them! But who were these mystery people that I wanted to serve, and what could I do for them? I didn’t have the answers just yet, but all I knew was that I wanted to do more.
I guess God heard my prayers at that time, because He brought me face to face to a bunch of teenagers that I would be able to help, and eventually grow to love, and it just worked out that what I had to offer–life skills and personality development training–was exactly what they needed.
So if you find yourself in the same place where I was, start by asking yourself these questions:
1) Is there a person or a group of people (or a species!) that you’d like to serve?
Try to be specific. Do you have a heart for orphans? Abused teenagers? Children from marginalized areas? Malnourished families? Drug addicts? People with disabilities? Couples with marital problems? Street children? Animals? Trees? Whales? The options are endless.
For instance, I have a heart for people who are confused, lack confidence, and need direction–specifically people of all ages who don’t believe in themselves, and don’t know how to get passion and purpose back in their lives. I used to think I only had a burden for teenagers with this problem, but I also see it a lot in people my age, and I also see it developing early in young children who feel ignored or forgotten.
Be sensitive to the people around you. Don’t ignore the moments when you felt moved to tears because of something you saw, something you heard about, or someone you talked to. That could be your heart giving you a little nudge in the right direction!
2) If time, money, or resources weren’t an issue, to what cause would you devote yourself?
The options are, once again, endless: abortion, animal protection, alcoholism, child abuse, crime and corruption, disabilities, domestic violence, drug addiction, educational issues, environmental issues, family issues, health issues, homelessness, human rights, human trafficking, hunger, justice system, physical abuse, poverty, spiritual apathy, etc.
Right now, I have a deep desire to help educate the Filipino youth. Not necessarily in the typical school setting, but I have a desire to get people to love learning, and find ways to help them learn important foundations and life skills. It can be through a training program in their community or church, or through a mentoring or life coaching program. Or in the case of RepubLIKHA, it can even be done through music! ;)
Don’t think about what you need yet…just focus on discovering what’s in your heart. :)
3) What do you have to offer? Time, talent, or treasure? (If you have free time, how much time do you have? If you have certain skills or talents that you could offer, what are they? If you have cash or other resources that you can donate, take note of that, too!)
Some people get bogged down by thinking, “I don’t have much to offer!” But that’s so untrue! For some people, they have more time on their hands, so it would be practical for them to spend several hours weekly cheering up and taking care of patients in a cancer ward.
Some people may not have a lot of time, but they have certain talents or skills that they could ‘donate’ to other people or groups who could use their services for free or for a discounted rate. For instance, today, I’m looking for a scriptwriter who can help out a friend of mine who’s working on a benefit concert. Or maybe you don’t have to DO something, because in some cases, it would actually be better if you TEACH something. This Saturday, my friend, Camille, is going to teach scholars from the Smokey Mountain area how to bake. And the baking class isn’t just for fun; the students can learn how to bake certain pastries that they can sell in their community so that they can earn money, too.
But for some people, they know that they don’t have enough time to spare at all, but in this case, they know they have some extra resources that they can channel to others who are available to serve. Whether it’s supporting non-profit organizations or missionaries with cash donations, or simply blessing people who are in need–whatever small amount you give could make a huge difference! In many instances, you don’t even have to give cash. You can donate books, clothes, food, etc. Just last week, I have another friend, Karlo, who donated his guitar! It may be random to some people, but I know a group of teenage guys that live in a center/shelter, and all these guys happen to be musically gifted. I also happen to know that they’ve been praying for an acoustic guitar to call their own, so I know their faces will light up when we give them this guitar next week. :)
There you go! Start answering those questions, think about them, and pray about the answers! Tomorrow, I’ll talk more about concrete ideas and action steps you can take. :)
If you have some thoughts about this post–especially if you have some realizations about yourself and how (or who) you’d like to help, leave a comment! I’d love to hear about it! :)
Artwork courtesy of http://www.greenobin.com, 3rd image courtesy of Anson Yu
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