They came! They came without callings, without assignments, or nagging. They came without paperwork, signatures or dragging… They came just the same.
It wasn’t even organized by the church or run by the relief society. It is amazing how much you can do when you are not waiting to be assigned to do it. My heart is full of gratitude for people willing to just act. In the last year being back in this valley, I’ve had many angels help me just because they saw a need. One day my roof was leaking and my husband was out of town. I was so distraught I could not get out of bed. I was worried that my air conditioner would fall right down from the roof due to the water damage around it. Then, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to find an Angel from the Valley. He said, “I’m here to fix your roof.” And that is just what he did. He wouldn’t accept payment, so I was grateful he accepted some baked goods instead.
We live in a time when it has become scary to help. You never know when you are going to offend someone or step on someones toes. I know I would feel so much more comfortable if I had a signed permission slip from God before I ventured out into the unknown to serve. To that, God says to me, “Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.” D&C 6:33
The hard part comes when we don’t know who or how to serve. So here are some tips and tricks I picked up from my own Alamo Angels.
1. Keep an eye out for your neighbor on social media. I found out someone needed help from a meme they posted really late one night. After reviewing her older posts, I was able to do the math and figure out what was wrong and how I could help. The nice man who fixed my roof found out I needed help from a post I made, asking for roofer recommendations.
2. Keep it simple – We are all really good at smiling and waving at each other when we pass. We can never underestimate the power of a smile. It can change everything for someone having a bad day and give faith to those who have lost theirs for the moment. Most of all don’t forget to pray. Prayer is a powerful thing. Pray for the person. Pray that you will know what to do to help them. Pray that you will not judge. Pray for our Valley. Pray for those here that have offended you hurt you or made your life difficult. Just Pray. It brings you closer to God and it helps others at the same time. People make fun and say that prayer is not enough, and yet sometimes, praying is the only thing you can do for someone. It only takes a second but it makes a world of difference.
3. Enlist a friend – Maybe it is your visiting teaching companion, a good friend or even your husband or one of your children. It is so much easier to have the courage to do good things when you have someone who is willing to support you in it.
4. Be very observant – When Traci Poulsen adopted her boys, I’m sure she didn’t have any idea how that was going to drastically affect dinner. But someone else did. Sandy Lytle, brought dinner weekly to this family. She anticipated a need and was a great blessing.
5. Lift where you are standing – My first reaction, when I heard that people were going to come to help Amber with her house, was to put together a “barn raising” kind of event of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers proportions – minus the fight scene. Don’t laugh. I could imagine all of us ladies at the Ball Park, in our fancy dresses and pretty hats, with baskets of freshly made rolls, jars of jelly and fruit pies, visiting and carrying on while we watched our little ones play together, and our sons and husbands worked on the house. Then, I woke up. I have a serious problem with wanting to do so much more than I can actually do or should do. Luckily for me, I decided to lift where I stand. You see, I may not be good at a lot of things but I love being with and caring for children. So, I was honored with the privilege of caring for this sweet little guy and his darling sister on Saturday while all the otherwise talented people made soups and breads for the workers, organized the work, made floors where there were none, dug trenches for plumbing, and rewired the entire home. It was a lovely day. The children and I had a lot of fun together.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf told a story in the October, 2008 General Conference. He said,
“Some years ago in our meetinghouse in Darmstadt, Germany, a group of brethren was asked to move a grand piano from the chapel to the adjoining cultural hall, where it was needed for a musical event. None were professional movers, and the task of getting that gravity-friendly instrument through the chapel and into the cultural hall seemed nearly impossible. Everybody knew that this task required not only physical strength but also careful coordination. There were plenty of ideas, but not one could keep the piano balanced correctly. They repositioned the brethren by strength, height, and age over and over again—nothing worked.
As they stood around the piano, uncertain of what to do next, a good friend of mine, Brother Hanno Luschin, spoke up. He said, “Brethren, stand close together and lift where you stand.”
It seemed too simple. Nevertheless, each lifted where he stood, and the piano rose from the ground and moved into the cultural hall as if on its own power. That was the answer to the challenge. They merely needed to stand close together and lift where they stood.”
Taking an inventory of your own skills, resources, and even limitations is a great way to be prepared for the call when it comes. Being prepared to serve is half the battle. It brings me so much joy to be able to give back to a community that has given us so much.