Often times I forget what it means to serve others. To truely serve someone, selflessly without any gain. Frequently when it comes to helping others out, I have the"I help you, you help me" attitude or I do it because it looks good or because I feel like its obligation. I'm a volunteer. Its part of my job description. Not only that, but God calls us to love one another and serve each other. Unfortunately, it's a lot easier said then done.
Since coming to Namibia, I have struggled A LOT with this. I'm not sure exactly why, but there is probably a long list of influencing factors that I do not care to get into right now. But regardless, it is something that I struggle with on a daily basis. It's very easy to become apathetic, especially when you do not have a set job or when you come up with ideas and people keep telling you they are fantastic, but they won't work or the community won't like it.
However, my heart was opened to what it meant to truely serve others by the means of a little girl named Stephanie.
It was a typical saturday afternoon and I was doing my laundry in the shower room. Now, doing laundry is quite a challenging task. It usually is a few hours process and it involves soaking, scrubbing, risning, more soaking...it just takes forever. And I'm not very good at it! So I was in the middle of this long process when this little girl, who is about 11 pops her head in to see what I was doing. She asks me how I was and then asked if she could help me.
I very enthusiastically agreed to let her help. Without hesistation, she sits down in front of my soapy laundry bucket and starts scrubbing away. I take charge of the rinsing and she starts telling me about her life. She is in grade 6 and lives with her grandma. Her parents and older brother died when she was very young and her grandmother struggles to make ends meet. She goes on to tell me how she can never pay for the full school fees and how she does her neighbors laundry for a little cash.
I think I can see where this is going. Being a foreigner, people frequently think I have a lot of money and constantly ask for it. I explain the best I can that I would love to help, and if I had something to give I would, but since I'm a volunteer I don't make any money and what what what. At the end of my little speech she just looks up at me and says "Miss! No no no I do not want anything. I just wanted to help, that's all!"
It broke my heart. Here is this girl who has hardly anything and all she wants to do is help someone out who clearly is struggling with her laundry. That's what serving people is all about. You want nothing back--you just want to help. Stephanie opened my mind and heart to this and it was a good (and much needed) reminder to why I am here.