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Boomerang Blessings

by as told to Esther Bailey

Doing good deeds has a surprising aftereffect.

    I was open to doing almost anything to earn money for a mission trip to Mexico, so I included babysitting, housework, and cooking on my list of possible jobs. While wondering what results I might get, I received a call.    “Amber, I don’t have any jobs for you, but I do have a proposal. If I give you a check for $100, would you like to work it out by doing good deeds for people who can’t afford to pay?”
    Cool, I thought as an idea immediately began forming in my mind. “I’ll get started on that right away,” I replied.
When I asked how much work I should do, my sponsor said, “I’ll leave that entirely up to you.”
    Through contacts in my church, I knew about a family that really needed help. The husband, paralyzed from the waist down, suffered from poor health. His wife works outside the home, in addition to caring for their three children.  On three occasions I volunteered my services to watch the kids and tidy up their house.
    One time I worked for 11 hours straight. The job was quite challenging at times, especially when the kids got really wild. Some of those hours seemed to crawl! Each time I finished a task, though, I felt fulfilled and good about myself. Their expressions of appreciation really touched my heart.
    By this time I figured I had more than earned the $100 at the normal babysitting rate. I wanted to go the extra mile, though, so I was open to yet another opportunity for community service.
    Through an outreach ministry of our youth group, I spent a morning painting over graffiti on the walls of a local residential area. I didn’t find the job to be taxing at all. Having my friends working with me, it was almost fun! The families were so appreciative of our help that it made up for the clothes I ruined, which was my fault anyway—I should’ve worn old clothes.
In my blood
    After I returned from the mission trip to Mexico, I think the desire to do community service was in my blood. Through the Christian school I attend, I volunteered to help with a party for impoverished children. A lot of planning went into the event, such as calling for donations, ordering items, last-minute shopping, and working out many little details that had to be taken care of.
    At the party I was in charge of a little girl named Kylee. We played games, decorated cookies, ate pizza, and had some very interesting talks. We really clicked, and people even told us we looked like sisters. This experience was so rewarding for me. Watching the joy on the children’s faces and their excitement over the littlest things humbled me. I cherish the time I spent with the kids. I’ve kept Kylee’s name tag in my room, and I pray for her often.
    When my school planned a service trip to a poor church in Mexico, I volunteered to go along. We took food, money, household goods, and basic supplies to them. During the weekend our group conducted two church services, prepared two meals for members of the congregation, chopped fire-wood, painted one of the buildings, and drove their trash to the dump. Any sacrifice I made was more than made up through fellowship with the other students and with members of the congregation. It truly amazed me to see how happy they are with so little.
    All of these experiences (and others) have helped me to make a commitment to expand my time in service to the community. I truly enjoy helping people, but it seems I get the best deal. The blessings I hope to bring to others always bounce back to me.

Esther Bailey writes from Scottsdale, Arizona.

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