We had one of my favorite missions completed a few weeks ago and unfortunately I have just gotten around to blogging about it. Loopchange user Lt. Dan completed 21 days of volunteering for some cause or another. It wasn't 21 days in a row, but it was 21 days total (completed in less than two months, so still quite a commitment)!
Dan did not have a history of volunteer work. In fact, he had already ever volunteered for anything before, but he took the bull by the horns and poured himself into this mission. He spread his time around a bit, spending an evening or two with a young man in the foster care system who needed a couple of rides around town; spending some time doing clerical work for a local Christian group and bringing his young children to hand out cookies at Halloween at a local retirement home.
But it turned out that most of his days were spent befriending a lonely World War II veteran at an assisted living facility. Over the course of his mission, Dan spent a number of hours forming a friendship and building a bond with his new 90 year old friend. They talked about life and death. They talked about family and hobbies. They talked about Jesus and God; repentance and forgiveness.
I think Dan summed it up well when he said, "I believe it really is true what people say, when you put yourself out there in an effort to help other people, you actually end up helping yourself."
I know that as I was reading through this mission over the course of 21 days, I was struck by how many opportunities there are out there to help. It could be helping people directly, or it could be helping at an organization where they help people directly. It could be lending a hand to a neighbor. It could be a passing word of encouragement to a working person that you cross paths with. It could be donating blood or money or old clothes or old toys. Speaking only for myself, I know that I get incredibly wrapped up in ME. Often times there is not an ounce of room for anyone in my brain who is not ME. That's just the wrong way to live.
Dan is on to something here. Imagine what could be accomplished if even 1/4 of US citizens found ways to volunteer? We could change the world!