Youth Makes Service Part of Everyday Life
By Marianne Holman, Church News staff writer
For many years Andrew Baker has been the only active member of his ward in his age group. He served as the deacons quorum president, later as the teachers quorum president, and is now one of two priests—the other being a new member—in the Lawrence 1st Ward, Topeka Kansas Stake.
“He is kind of a trailblazer,” said his mother, Penne Baker. “He goes out of his way to help the younger boys to learn the ropes.”
From the looks of his schedule, one can tell he is a busy 17-year-old junior in high school. He wakes up at 5:20 a.m. every weekday to attend seminary. He runs the 100 meter and 400 meter on the track team. He likes to play basketball, so on Tuesday nights he gets together with family members and friends to play. On Saturdays he works at the local pool.
In addition to his various extracurricular activities, service is a part of his everyday life.
As an infant his father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, making him more dependent on others to take care of his daily needs.
“I help him out of bed and get him up in the morning. I help feed him. I really just try to help [my mom] out when she needs it,” Andrew said. “It has definitely taught me lessons about responsibility and gives me a broader perspective on life. I also think it has helped me be a little bit more caring and understanding of people.”
He says his family and the gospel help with his perspective in everyday life.
“It has helped me through school and taught me what to do and not to do,” he said. “Some of my friends have made some wrong decisions, and [the gospel] has sort of helped me to set a path for life.”
When Andrew was first assigned to be a home teacher he remembered being a little nervous to go to homes of people he didn’t know.
“I was kind of a shy individual,” he said. “My leaders helped by giving me responsibility, and I am not very shy anymore.”
He said that the help of leaders—and responsibility—have helped him to look outside of himself, and that outlook has gone beyond just his family.
“He is very kind,” said Sister Baker. “He is one of those kids that a lot of the youth will come and tell him things that are going on in their lives. He keeps confidences and has many friends, both in and out of the Church.”
No matter how big or small the act of service, Andrew is a wonderful example of youth serving others in their everyday, oftentimes very busy, lives.