Guest post by Caitlin Lambert and Celina McGowan (11th-grade Greyfriars students)
After school on November 19, the GCA honor society spent an hour and a half raking leaves for two older people. The ten Greyfriars students first headed over to Mr. Johnson’s house (we had asked him beforehand if he would let us rake). Forty-five minutes and eleven trash bags later, we were finished raking his yard. Two students went to talk to him to let him know we were done, and to make sure he was OK with us leaving the bags by the street. He kindly thanked us, asking how much he owed our group.
“Nothing,” we said, “we’re not charging anything.” Hardly believing us, he asked if there was something else he could do to pay us, but we let him know that we were part of our school’s honor society and were raking leaves as a service project.
“Oh,” he said, as he kind of shrugged his shoulders and said, “that explains it. There are kids who get credit with their honor society for [activities such as] working at Bi-Lo.”
We assured him, “Oh, no, sir, our honor society is smaller and more focused on our service projects. We don’t count up points. And we wouldn’t charge you even if this weren’t for our honor society.” After this he brightened and asked what other service projects we had planned, making us promise to come back to collect canned goods from him the next time we conducted a food drive [the October project for our group].
The second home we visited belonged to eighty-something-year-old Mrs. Birch, a widow of two years. As we crossed the street into her yard, we were all informed that she did not know we were coming; it was a surprise. On top of that, Mrs. Birch was out of the house at the dentist when we arrived. Glancing around at each other for a short moment, we all shrugged, “Okay,” and with that we set to work. Imagine Mrs. Birch’s reaction when she pulled into her driveway and found ten teenage strangers raking leaves in her yard! We told her that we were doing a leaf-raking service project and her face softened and she laughed a little.
“So how much do I owe you?”
“Nothing at all,” we said.
“Well, is there some kind of organization I can donate to?” she persisted.
“No, ma’am. We are doing this as a service to bless you.”
She was shocked. Putting a hand over her heart, she expressed how a thing like this never happened to someone like her—someone who could not do the work herself. We all introduced ourselves to her, and she told us about her son and his work. She then said that every morning to come, when she drank her coffee and had her quiet time with the Lord, she would pray for our little group. Her disbelief in a free service paired with her promise to pray for us every morning nearly brought tears to some of our eyes. We realized that when you do a service like that for someone, it is never about yourself but about glorifying God. Not only are they blessed, but you are as well. As one of the Honor Society members said afterwards, “It makes me want to do more free stuff!” There are many people who cannot do things for themselves, but we can do it for them.