A Step Towards Service

Making a difference is not possible without a step in the right direction


As students in a Christian school, we are expected to use our God-given gifts and abilities to serve in our school, our churches, and our communities. Many of us are required to fulfill a certain number of hours for various teams or organizations we are a part of, but as Christians and teenagers with bold visions for inspiring change in the world, many of us have an innate desire to serve, give back, and choose to be a part of something greater than ourselves.

Our visions and dreams for change are powerful, but they often are forgotten before ever being put in motion because they seem improbable and unrealistic or because we have no idea where to start. However, one way to “make a difference,” as many people have the desire to do, is by taking one step in the right direction by choosing to make one event, one holiday, or even one moment about someone or something other than yourself.

About a month before Christmas, I received a text from my close friend, Hannah Stevenson, sophomore, asking both me and another friend, Sydney Moore, sophomore, if we were willing to help her make Christmas more memorable to both us and others by participating in a simple service project. Hannah’s motive was not service hours, compensation, or even recognition, but instead a desire to bring love and joy back to the Christmas season by overwhelming people with God’s grace.

“I just thought about how we have been blessed by God with so much. God has given us everything we have, and we should be willing to try to bless others with the resources he has given us,” said Stevenson.

With a strong motivation and two eager friends on board, Stevenson set out to find the perfect project. She considered participating in an international organization through donations, but she decided that the numerous unfilled needs in St. Louis were the best place to start.

“My mom suggested the Missouri Veterans Home, and I knew it would be the perfect place. I feel like veterans are often overlooked, and they have already served our country and been so selfless that I felt they at least deserved a kind gesture,” said Stevenson.

After the organization was chosen, the three of us gathered together for a day of Christmas card-making for the 252 veterans at the home. Although it took longer than expected, it was an eye-opening and meaningful experience.

“It felt good to do something for someone else on Christmas for a change. It’s the season of giving after all, and it’s important to sacrifice your time for others. Despite it being more hours than expected, I would never want to take back the experience. Even if only one veteran smiled at our effort, then it was definitely worth it,” said Moore.

We gave up just one day of our long Christmas break, but our small sacrifice made a world of difference to a group of veterans who often feel forgotten and alone.

“Making the cards brought joy to us and the veterans. We knew that even though our act was small, we were doing something good for others and honoring the Lord because he has called us to serve. Hopefully I can make service a year round thing instead of only serving at Christmas time,” said Stevenson.

Service often seems like a towering wall looming over us, discouraging us by showing the never ending needs of the world. However, a poor situation will not change or improve if someone does not take the first step, no matter how small. Serving others does not have to be a burden. Instead, it should be viewed as an opportunity to begin a change in not only others’ lives but also your own.

“There is no feeling like serving others. Working for yourself doesn’t give you the same satisfaction as working for others. Knowing that my effort could make someone’s day is the best feeling. Any act we do can influence other people. It doesn’t take that much to put a little joy into someone’s life, so you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity. I hope my experience writing letters to veterans can motivate someone else to serve,” said Moore.