Thomas Moore joined the Church in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, when he was 83 years old. Brother Moore is a baker, and he enjoys inviting the missionaries into his home “for whatever food they would like. Most of the time, I see them living on sandwiches,” he says. Brother Moore loves to serve the missionaries because he sees them making time “for people like me, whom they don’t even know. What a privilege to help them even just a little!” Brother Moore has discovered for himself the joy that comes from serving others with love (see Mosiah 2:17; Gal. 5:13).
There are many ways we can serve others, even if we have little ourselves. Brother Natalio Virazapia lives alone in Córdoba, Argentina. He has little of this world’s goods, but his battered bicycle outside the home of a member who needs attention or next to a garden he has planted is an unmistakable indication of Brother Virazapia’s service. Even though he doesn’t have any land of his own, he always seems to find space to plant seeds, and the Lord blesses him with abundant harvests. His small gardens feed more than one family. “I can give service with this small body that takes me from one place to another,” he says.
From around the world comes story after story of Saints who sacrifice time and effort in the service of their fellow beings. For example, 282 members of the Ciudad Victoria Mexico Stake met on a cold February morning to clean and beautify a 2.5-kilometer highway. The members carefully cut and fertilized the lawn, cleaned sidewalks, whitewashed tree trunks and curbs, made gutters for the sidewalks, swept the street, and picked up truckloads of garbage. “We were called to serve the community by the Lord’s servants,” Santa Verónica Reyes de Muñoz says, offering a simple and profound explanation for the members’ work.
Sometimes service requires long periods of time and much patience and faith. Sister Craet of the St. Niklaas Branch, Antwerp Belgium Stake, suffered a brain hemorrhage and fell into a coma. Sister Poula Buyse, the Relief Society president, immediately arranged for people to take turns staying with Sister Craet. As the weeks went by, some visitors became discouraged, thinking Sister Craet would never recover. So Sister Buyse began to stay longer and longer with Sister Craet, talking to her, reading to her, and singing hymns.
Sister Craet did eventually regain consciousness—but she was partially paralyzed and could not speak clearly. Her road to recovery was slow and painful. Sister Buyse cared for her when nursing personnel were absent, giving her company, love, and hope. Sister Buyse did more than talk about charity in Relief Society; she lived it.
Service comes in many forms: helping those in need, smiling at a stranger, sharing the gospel, fulfilling a Church calling, visiting the sick, and giving of time, talents, and material possessions. It is sharing with our Heavenly Father’s children a part of what he has given to us.
Contributing authors: Elizabeth VanDenBerghe, Nancy R. Re de Cifuentes, Santa Verónica Reyes de Muñoz, and Ruys Freddy.