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Why I Serve

Hi.  My name is Dawn and I volunteer for WePartner.  I’m writing because I think some of you are like me. Have you been wondering why the folks who are coming on this trip are going?  Is it the excitement of an exotic locale, a chance to meet other people, a love of service – what?  My own motives started long ago.  I have always been interested in Egypt.  When I was a kid I used to wrap up my stuffed animals like mummies and would check out books about archeology by the armload.  When I was looking at colleges, I applied to a couple of schools with great archeology programs on the off chance my passion would impress them.  It didn’t, so when I had the opportunity to visit Egypt a few years ago, I jumped at the chance.  The dreams of my childhood were going to come true!  It was great, the Pyramids, the Red Sea, the Egyptian Antiquities Museum filled with all the treasures I had only seen in books or on TV.  But my knowledge didn’t prepare me for a change in my heart. We went off the “regular” tourist path and rode a bus to see St. Simon the Tanner Coptic Orthodox Church in the Mokattam garbage village.  We drove through this place, a village within a city where people earned a living by collecting garbage from city apartments for a small tip.  They take the garbage and separate and sell the recyclables.  The thing that struck me was not the extreme poverty, but the hope.  As we sat in traffic, I could see people working with each other, talking, laughing.  Little kids were coming home from school around that time and they were goofing around just like little kids anywhere do.  In a situation where I would have been weeping and wringing my hands, these people were ok.  When we got to the church I was struck from my feet by a “whisper” in my ear – these people were only ok because of the church and the teaching of God’s word. This was what I was supposed to see. The church was like the hub of a wheel, with the hope of God radiating from it into the lives of people.  I believe that the local church is the hope of the world, but I had never seen it so clearly before.  This divine moment of clarity is why I volunteer.  I want to do everything I can to ensure that people who serve God are sustained and “transformed by the renewing of their minds” (Rom 12:2).  The GLS does this so well, and I’m privileged to be a small part of it.

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