Service With a Smile

Today's post comes to you from our dear friend Tom, who just over a year ago had three beautiful daughters with his incredible (!) wife, Missy. They are close friends of ours and we're so glad that today you get to meet them! Below is a photo of us having fun together (pre-triplets).

We all grow up learning that it is nice to help others. We share, we let guests choose the first piece of cake, and we donate food to families who have none. Along the way we actually start to feel good {hopefully} about giving and serving and want to do it more and more. It was so amazing to me growing up and still is today that Jesus, the Savior of the world, was the ultimate servant. He washed the dirty feet of his disciples to show how much he loved them…to teach them that everyone deserves to be loved and taken care of.

When my wife, Missy, and I got married, we knew that God was not only calling us to serve each other, but to faithfully serve others as well. So we started off slow: donating clothes, participating in food drives and volunteering at our church. We led small groups of high school Ignition students in discussions, worship and even on some cool trips to some pretty awesome places (and made some rad friends along the way…like Kelsey and Eric ;-)). We loved working with those high school students and wanted to find other opportunities to serve.

In the summer of 2008, my wife and I found ourselves blessed enough to be going on a mission trip to Ghana, a small country on the west coast of Africa. Missy’s parents travel there about two times a year and actually helped to start the mission; her dad helps to develop and run a farm there while her mother assists with medical outreach programs. They really wanted the rest of the family to experience this mission work, so we traveled with them (as well as a group of about 20 other missionaries from Lutheran Church of Hope) all the way from West Des Moines, Iowa, to a village called Ho in central Ghana. From there, for two weeks we lead medical missions, built water filtration systems, helped on the farm during harvest, and saw water wells (that were funded by the church though fundraising efforts) installed and blessed (dedicated).

During this trip, we learned so much as individuals, but even more about the kind of life we wanted to live as a couple. Seeing people in intense poverty, yet still being completely happy brought a reality-check slap to our faces in the form of gratefulness: grateful for each other, grateful for our health, grateful for our blessings. Suddenly our goals for what our perfect life together would look like just changed. It helped us to focus on God’s purpose for our life instead of what we thought our purpose might have been.

Now, we don’t want anyone to think you have to go to Africa to serve and perform mission work...we wouldn't have been able to go if not for the generous financial gifts we had received to help fund the trip. There are all sorts of missions in every town across the world that need help. From mowing your elderly neighbor’s lawn, to stocking someone’s pantry who wonders what they will eat from day to day...there is no act of kindness that goes unnoticed in God’s eyes and serving together with your spouse will do nothing but strengthen your marriage. We promise. :-)

"God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another." --1 Peter 4:10