Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Believe In A Thing Called Love: Service Boot Camp for Japan

We live at an amazing time in the history of the world.  Widespread access to the internet has brought cultures together and made it easier for God's children to communicate, feel compassion for, and serve one another.  In many ways, the internet has helped us participate in the great family of man that stretches across oceans and continents.  It has also helped us to perceive needs, believe it or not, in our own back yard.

About mid-afternoon yesterday I received an email from The Sleepy Time Gal telling us about an opportunity to help children affected by the tsunami in Japan.  I was excited to finally discover a way for my kids and me to pitch in and help in a way that feels right and meaningful for us--helping other children!

I hope that you will hop over to read more about this service project for Japan!

All you need to do is gather items that you already have
and ship them to Japan.

A teacher there will distribute the items to her students who have lost families in the tsunami and other children in the town.

Now, I'll share our experience with you.

After reading about this project, I picked my kids up from Preschool and explained that there are children in Japan who went to school on the day of the earthquake, and their parents never picked them up.  They no longer have a home or parents.  

Upon hearing this news, my children were eager to make something happen for them as well.  Scarlett suggested that I could "be their Mommy."

So my mommy heart, my kids, and I went to work.  I immediately felt that as a "surrogate Mommy", I'd want each of "my children" to have something special to keep their personal items in.  I decided to make backpacks for the children with items inside that they could take with them where ever life might take them.  

Using fabric left over from other projects, I made enough nap sacks for ten children, and then filled them with small hygiene kits, school supplies, socks, hair accessories, and small treats.

Scarlett and Guy drew pictures and helped me gather and assemble the backpacks.

This morning, Guy asked me if we could give the children the "Bare Books" comic books that I had given him, which was a very generous gesture.  I gave one to Guy just yesterday to create his own comic book, and he LOVES it.  So for him to give his 9 remaining books away is quite a selfless act.  I also thought it would be pretty great therapy for the children to be able to write out their experiences in this way.

I thought I'd need to tell them what this funny-looking book was to be used for, but how?

I also thought, wouldn't it be fun to strike up a friendship with these children?
We wrote some notes using Google Translate and included them in the back packs.

What did I say?  Technology can be so awesome.

The Sleepy Time Gal is going to be posting photos from the children 
that they'll take when they receive their items.  

A friendship is born!!

At this point, I have to say.  I love to serve others, but it's because I am selfish, not saint-like. It makes me feel good inside when I am helping others.  It helps me take my mind off of my own concerns.  It makes me feel useful, allows me to be creative and inventive.  It makes me feel like God is smiling down on me and my family as we follow in the Savior's footsteps.  It allows me to put a figurative arm around the children who I cannot physically reach out to.  

Some day, I hope to serve in a more selfless way, in a purely charitable way, but for now, I serve and enjoy the way that it makes me feel first and foremost.

So don't leave me any comments telling me how nice I am...because I'm just normal.

But there is hope for us just normal, flawed-types...and there is so much good that we can do.


  1. This is the true beauty of service; Perhaps We feel more joy and love than those we are actually serving. Service is Food for the soul

  2. I LOVE google translate-what an awesome gift to the world that piece of software is.

  3. incredible. simply incredible. can i share this sometime on my blog?

    the sleepy time gal

  4. I love it. What pattern did you use for the backpacks?

  5. Thanks for sharing! What a great chance to teach children compassion and service. Thanks for sharing the info. and link!!...You are nice though-but not just because of this. :)

  6. I love that Scarlett offered you up to "be their mommy." And the fact that your son wanted to give those Bare Books is really neat, too.

    What a great teacher you are for your children.


  7. I want to do something for the children[ and include my family].

    I am thinking.

    Thanks for the post.

  8. That's so cool! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  10. What a great way to serve! I'd love to do something like this for them as well. And thanks for the link to Bare Books! Those are awesome!!!