Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Self Makeover

Here is the second story for the day!

In a world where some are absorbed with themselves, members of the BYU 2nd Stake seem to have found a cure — lose yourself in service.

Each week there is at least one service project happening in the stake, but more often there are two or three opportunities of service to choose from.

Stake President Robert H. Todd has made a promise that if members of the stake are faithful home and visiting teachers, learning to love the people they have been called to serve, Heavenly Father will bless their efforts in finding sweethearts and spouses.

Thus far there is no statistical evidence as to how many have found eternal mates, but they are learning patterns and principles of service, Todd said.

“We are eager to set a pattern [of service] with these wonderful young people of our stake,” he said. “There is a metaphor, ‘When you help your brother across the street you will find yourself there also.’ ”

Two members of the high council, Ben Hill and Dean Dickerson, have been assigned to find service opportunities for the stake. Because the stake pulls leadership from four different stakes in Utah County, Hill and Dickerson contacted all the bishops from these feeder stakes, specifically asking if there were any needs the students could assist in.

The most recent project began last weekend on a 100-year old home in Orem. This home makeover will continue July 31 and Aug. 7, culminating with a barn dance held in the Wilkinson Student Center on Aug. 7.

More than 55 students showed up for the work project, ready to tackle the day’s assignment of chest–high weeds, overgrown vegetation and decades of layered wallpaper. People in the neighborhood have considered this home a fire hazard not only because of the yard situation but also because of interior problems.

Siblings from Hong Kong and LDS members have lived in the home for more than three years. Their parents bought the home so they could receive an American education, but left them on their own, unprepared for the language and culture barriers.

Son Lee, former home teacher to the siblings, understands the culture barriers these young people have faced. He, too, came to America, fleeing communist Vietnam as part of the boat people in 1975. He understands the complexities of coming to a new world.

Lee, also a member of the stake high council, said he feels the service being offered will help break down barriers and build relationships with these wonderful young people.

Benefits and blessings of this service extend far beyond the family for whom the service is rendered. Part of the process is learning patience, diligence and developing a hard work ethic, said Liz Blomquist, a stake member from Santa Cruz, Calif.

“We learn more about teamwork and we get to spend time with a lot of great people who like to do the same things,” Blomquist said.

Royce Herbst, bishop of BYU 3rd Ward, noticed a difference in his ward members as they learned to serve together. He said there is a greater love for each other as they observe each other outside of a student environment.

The stake provides numerous types of service, such as a service “sit-in.” Stake members came together with their laptops and did Family Search indexing together.

“It is the best video game in town,” Todd said.

This month, the stake was involved in a beta-testing program for the LDS Church to determine whether a new website could handle large amounts of traffic. Many students gathered in the WSC with their laptops to log-on to the new website:

When others sense your willingness to serve, others then are willing to serve you, said Josh Epperson, a stake member from Murray.

“I have suggested that if you want to have a really neat date, invite somebody out and go find somebody to serve,” Todd said.

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