Tag Archive | serve

Ill Loved Ones

Courtesy of Mzayat.com

Have you ever had a sick loved one? This week a close family friend endured a heart valve transplant operation.  It has been a roller coaster ride and I’d like to share three ways we found to help.

1. Pray – We’ve been praying asking God to guide the physician’s hands and for a quick recovery.

They set up a group chat to keep us posted on progress. It’s a very helpful way to communicate.

2. Visit – If your loved one invites you for a visit to the hospital or their home, it is an encouraging way to help him/her.

I must reiterate being invited, because I learned as a teen that you never just show up. I thought I would stop by to see how my coworker was doing at the hospital and, to my surprise, she became agitated and told me to leave.

3. Serve – We ask folks how we can help; even if it is picking up some milk at the grocery store.  In this instance, our friend asked us to coordinate some meals so they don’t have to cook when they return home.

I set up a meal schedule using Meal Train that allows folks to pick a day and time to drop off a meal they prepared.

Another successful program we have used is Sonshine at church wherein volunteers make a meal and drop it off at the person’s home. We benefited from it when my second child was born. It was helpful feeding our family of mom, dad, toddler and newborn.

Another cool program my husband was a part of as a volunteer firefighter was the women’s auxiliary wherein wives cooked meals, stored them at the firehouse and after a fire call, the guys would chow down.

So, these are just some of the ways we help ill loved ones. Of course, there are little things we do to nurse minor sickness such as make them comfortable, serve soup, read to them, give a card or dispense meds to get them back on their feet.

What are some ways you help ill loved ones?

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Club Dust

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I believe it’s important that children learn to help others. One way is to volunteer. Last week, I shared about a time our family served out of state. This week, I would like to share with you about a time we served out of country. Next week, my plan it to share about a time we serve locally. I hope you enjoy it!

Blessings, Rebecca

During the Christmas break, my family and I rode on our church bus to Mexico from Central California. It was our first family mission’s trip together. My husband Randy had gone once before. Our task was to build housing for the villagers of Tecate. “Kids, are you excited?”

Our youngest, who was five at the time, thought about it a moment, “Yes Mama.”

I was both excited and nervous. I didn’t know what to expect being in a foreign country with two young children. Would we be safe? Would the kids eat the food?  I’d heard some amazing stories from other families who’d helped in the past. They told me it was safe and American food was available. Our pastor also encouraged us all ages to join. After all, his three-year-old daughter went.

Three weeks prior, we met with the other volunteers to discuss plans. “Randy and Rebecca, does everyone in your family have a valid passport?”

“No, but we’ll order them ASAP.” Hmm, the last time I went to Mexico I didn’t need a passport. Unbeknownst to me, the law had changed requiring US citizens to carry a passport into Mexico and Canada.

I scheduled an appointment with our local post office immediately. We completed the comprehensive applications and snapped our photos.

“Okay folks, do you want these expedited? If so, they should arrive within three weeks.”

“Three weeks? We need them in less than two. Is there any way to speed up the process?”

“Sorry Ma’am, three weeks is the earliest.”

I turned to my husband, “Randy, what are we going to do? We’ll miss our trip.”

That night, we prayed, “Lord, you know our heart’s desire is to help the people of Tecate. We need our passports before we leave and trust you they’ll arrive in time.”

Five days later, the kids’ passports arrived. Woo hoo!

Two days later, Randy’s arrived. Is my family going without me?

One day before our scheduled departure, mine arrived. Thank you God!

The next day, we met the crew at 6:30am and headed south.

Eight hours later, we crossed the border and headed straight to our lodge. The rustic Paloma Blanca Ranch was a welcoming site for our weary bodies. We unpacked and settled in.

sandwhic

The next morning, Randy said his good-byes, hopped on the work bus and headed to the job site. The kids and I stayed behind to work in the kitchen. We’d been tasked with making lunch for three hundred hungry workers.

“Hi, we’re here to help.”

“Welcome. You guys can help us make sandwiches. Jump in the assembly line.”

“I want to put the pickles on,” Alicia said.

“I’ll help pack the lunch bags,” Austin chimed.

As I placed mayo on the turkey and cheese creations, I looked over at my kids diligently working and smiled. I’m so proud of them!  It warmed my heart  to see their enthuasism.

The highlight of our day came while delivering the food to the construction site. The crowd cheered as we arrived.

I slipped away to peek at the portable houses. I was impressed how fast they were assembled. It amazed me they were collapsible as to allow the roaming brick layers the ability to set up wherever they worked.

shoes

I grabbed Austin, Alicia and Randy and went up to the church building. My jaw dropped when I saw hundreds of people standing out front. “Why are all these people standing here?”

“That’s the line for new shoes.”

We entered the rear door and I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were boxes of shoes everywhere. I saw church members washing the local’s feet and placing a clean pair of socks and shoes on them.  I was convicted as I reflected on how many pairs of shoes I owned and this was a first pair for many.

“Dad, can you show us your house,” Austin asked.

Randy took us to his job site. I looked inside and noticed the floors were made of cement. Also, the latrine was separate from the house. I couldn’t imagine the inconvenience of exiting your home to use the restroom. I turned around and saw my children playing soccer with other boys and girls. It made me smile. They didn’t speak each other’s language. Yet, they shared the universal passion of sports and playing.

At the end of three days, the foreman announced that the team of 200 had built 6 temporary houses and 5 portable houses. Wow, that’s amazing! Each team handed the new home owners their key, a bible, a loaf of bread and salt. Then, their pastor said a prayer blessing their new dwelling. The new tenants were overfilled with gratitude, because they were transitioning from a cardboard hut with dirt floors to a beautiful new home.

The time came for us to return home. We loaded up the bus and were off.

Eight hours later, we arrived safe and sound.

I’m grateful my family and I were able to serve together at Club Dust. We worked side-by-side with some great folks with a common purpose to help people.

Do you and your family volunteer? I’d love to hear where you serve. Please share with us!

Camp Attitude

camp attitude

We live on a Christian Conference ground where hundreds of folks visit each week to camp. Lots of people love to camp during the summer. So, this week, I’d like to share with you a personal story of time we camped in 2009.

Blessings, Rebecca

On a crisp winter evening, I sat down with my family at our dinner table and posed the question to my six-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son, “Kids, where would you like to go this year for our mission trip?”

Our youngest thought about it and suggested we help the disabled children at Camp Attitude.

“Great idea Alicia! What are your thoughts Austin?”

“Okay, Mom.”

Our church trip the prior year to Tecate, Mexico building homes for the community was rewarding. I couldn’t wait to see what was in store this summer. I’d heard some amazing stories from other families who helped at Camp Attitude in the past.

Two weeks prior, all the volunteers met at our pastor’s house along to discuss plans. “Randy and Rebecca, your family will help the OI children next week. Don’t worry,  there will be a full time nurse and physician on site.” What’s OI?

I learned OI is the acronym for Osteogenesis Imperfecta a.k.a. Brittle Bones Disease. These children’s have extremely fragile bones. Evidently, the year before, a young boy was rushed to the emergency room for a broken arm from falling off a picnic bench. Fortunately, the doctors placed a cast on his shattered bones and he returned to camp the same day ready to play. Intense!

The best part of camp is the campers attended for free. Also, most medical foundations paid for their travel expenses. For many parents and siblings, it is the only free to participate in extracurricular activities all year long. Otherwise, they are caring for their special needs child 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Each family is a “Buddy” assigned to shadow their special needs child. This allows Mom, Dad, brothers and sisters freedom to raft, hike, fish, swim or simply rest.

The time arrived to head north. We scheduled two weeks to travel from our home in central California to Oregon which allowed for a visit with extended family before camp.

After six hours on the road, we settled in Medford to see my mother-in-law Dianna. We enjoyed chatting with Grandma poolside on a sweltering summer’s day while the kids splashed.

Two days later, we drove to West Linn to visit my brother-in-law and his young family. The cousins had a blast playing together. Their uncle from Woodinville, Washington joined us as well and a good time was had by all.

Three days later, we headed south to Foster. I didn’t know what to expect at camp, because we’d never been around children with disabilities before. We had open minds and willing hands.

Upon our arrival, we set up a ten person tent we borrowed from our friends. We left our twenty-six-foot trailer, complete with kitchenette and bathroom, behind this time. Sleeping in bags on the ground  posed another a new experience for us. The kitchen chef discovered our rocky circumstance and offered her air mattresses. Ah, much better!

As we walked to the meeting barn, we noticed a chartered bus arriving with families. They came from the United States, Canada and Europe. The counselors welcomed them with shouts of cheer.

We joined the camp Director and she assigned our team’s daily chores which included cleaning the mess hall tables before and after meals, scraping plates, washing dishes and scrubbing bathrooms. Austin jumped up, “I’ll scrape the plates, Mom.”

“I’ll help you wash the dishes, Mommy,” chimed Alicia.

The Director then asked if anyone would be willing to haul the trash using their four wheel drive quad runner.

I sheepishly raised my hand, “I have a motorcycle license.”

“The job is yours,” she smiled.

I grabbed the keys, stepped outside and found a heap of waste and recycle.

We pitched the trash in the modified trailer. I fired it up and revved the engine. “Jump in family. We’re going for a ride.”

With Austin on my right fender, Alicia on my left and Randy sharing my seat, we made our rounds. Who knew collecting garbage could be so much fun!

The next day, while clearing tables, I saw Alicia pushing a little girl in a wheel chair on a special swing. She ran up to me, “Mom, I helped Rachel. She needed a push.”

“That’s awesome. Good job honey.”

On the last night of camp, we watched the children’s talent show. Tears filled my eyes as I delighted in watching the children perform and seeing my kids cheer on their new found friends.

When camp ended, the campers were bused to the nearest airport. Our team of eight volunteers was assigned one final task; to clean all the cabins and restrooms which had just accommodated 120 campers.

Five hours later, I emerged from the last cabin exhausted. It was painful, but well worth it.

I’m grateful my family and I were able to serve together at Camp Attitude. We met a lot nice people, learned about various disabilities and gave family members respite.

By serving as a family, I hope it will instill a core values to help others and they will continue the family tradition with their kids.

Does your family enjoy camping or serving? I’d love to hear about your adventures! Please share with us.

 

6 Ways to Grow Closer to God (and each other)

god

Through our life journey, there are some things my family and I have learned along the way. This week, I’d like to share with you six ways our family draws closer to the Lord and (as a result) each other.

Blessings, Rebecca

worship

Worship

In addition to worshipping together at church, we carve out special time where we gather to choose favorite worship song and sing together; usually before we study God’s word or journal. I hope you do or try this with your own family.

pray

Pray

We pray throughout our day such as before meals, at bedtime and when we need His help. If you struggle with what to pray, you can use a simple formula PRAY (Praise, Repent, Ask and Yield). For instance, you could pray something like, “Praise you God for you are worthy to be praised. I ask to forgive me for ____. I ask that you help me in this area and I submit to your will. Amen.”

Twin Lakes Church Aptos

Twin Lakes Church Aptos

Attend Church (Regularly)

We go to church together every week. It gives us an opportunity to worship corporately, learn God’s word, fellowship with Christians, and serve others. In addition, we often join small group Bible studies, family camps, mission trips, etc. I hope you attend or find a Bible based church where your family grows as well.

bible

Read the Bible

We read the Bible every day. It’s a great way to get to know God, gain wisdom and learn to live like Christ. One way to do it is to read one proverb each day as there are 31 of them, or one Psalm. Another way, is to get a study book on a particular topic and answer the questions together, or look up the topic in the concordance and read all the passages that pertain to it. If you find reading the Bible difficult, there are many translations available to help you understand such as the New Living Translation Study Bible, New American Standard, Amplified Bible and The Message. Also, I recommend Bible Gateway app if you prefer using your device. I hope you find one that works best for you and yours.

Krusees Serving at Camp Attitude

Krusees Serving at Camp Attitude

Serve

We enjoy serving the Lord and others. Our family traveled to Mexico to build houses for brick layers. We went to Foster, Oregon to help families with disabled children enjoy camping activies. We’ve hosted Kidz Korner clothing exchange for thirteen years which helps familes in need. We hosted Project Warmth for twleve years which helped supply homeless men and women with winter supplies such as sleeping bags, coats, tarps, socks, beanies, etc. I say all this not to brag, but share some of the things we enjoy doing to serve God and our community. I hope you find something your family can do in your neighborhood.

journal

Journal

We find a quiet place such as our living room or a park to journal. Each of us bring our journals and pens/pencils, and simply ask the Lord to share with us whatever He would like to. It is a great time of quality time with God, and it’s fun to share afterwards what we learned. Sometimes, it is an encouraging word. Other times, He may give us direction or answers to our questions. I hope you and your family enjoy your time spent with the Lord.

Another way we journal is to capture answered payer throughout the year, and read it together at Thanksgiving. It’s a perfect time to give thanks to God for all he has done!

These are some things we do together to grow closer to God and each other. I’d love to hear what you and your family do. Please comment below.