Monday, April 17, 2006

Families forming faith (Part 13)
Model service and serve with them

Forty days of not blogging was refreshing to my soul and life-giving to focus more on the experience of Lent, Passover, Easter. I'll share some of those experiences in later posts.

Picking up on the theme of sharing faith with our children, today I want to tell you a story about my parents that happened in 1975.

Sharing faith with our children involves showing them service to others and serving with them. This is a story of serving strangers in need that formed faith in me.

I was seven years old when Saigon fell.

I’ve never been to Vietnam; but in 1975, at Christmas, Saigon came to me and my family in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Someone encouraged Dad to take a Vietnamese family in and help them get jobs. The family had lived in a refugee camp in Arkansas, but they moved to my town in 1975.

I remember the faces of the Vu family. I remember their faces didn’t look like mine. Their eyes were slanted. Or were my eyes slanted? Their skin was a different color. They spoke a language I didn’t understand. But they didn’t understand my language, either. The Vus were the first Asian family I’d ever met, that Christmas of 1975. I remember going to the Vu’s downtown apartment. That’s where I ate my first egg roll.

During those turbulent years my family loved a Vietnamese family. And they loved us. They kept feeding us egg rolls. Our two very different families treated one another with respect and concern and love. Many of the Vu family still live in the United States and on occasion we'll get a Christmas card from them and hear they are doing well.

I wrecked a motorcycle that my family owned that same year and caused damage that I regretted and remember crying next to our Christmas tree. But my father reminded me that it was just metal and rubber and people are more important. He did this by welcoming the Vus to sit by our Christmas tree with us. That’s where I looked at their eyes and watched them open the presents our family had given them.

And those early childhood memories of my father’s and mother's service stick with me.

I hope one day my three children will remember something I did to serve a Ugandan or Tulsan or anyone desperately in need or in need of kindness that will put them back on their feet again. My parents inspired my siblings and me to serve in these ways:
1. Served us.
2. Modeled service to others for us.
3. Called us to serve in our home and outside.
4. Served beside us.
Each day we have chores for our children to help the family. We also look for ways we can serve the community and our neighbors. Together we visit with and give to the poor as a family, and this is an important part of how we share our faith in Christ. Our children are watching us.

We're constantly looking for ideas and trying to be aware of ways we can serve together . . . what ideas can you share with Jill and me about serving as families?

2 Comments:

At 7:35 AM, Blogger David U said...

Great story of service and love, Greg! We missed your posts while you were away. Glad I got to see you in Tulsa.

DU

 
At 8:39 PM, Blogger Robert said...

Every other Tuesday for the past three years my children and I have been working with a group of “special scouts”. These scouts are really adults with developmental disabilities.

The Scout Crew we serve provides an opportunity for these special people to interact with one another and with their world.

I have learned a lot about adults and kids with development disabilities these past few years.

Working with these special scouts, and their caretakers, has been very enlightening on many levels.

My kids have gained a new perspective about life. They have learned what it means to serve without receiving anything back; no glory, no thanks, and no money –but plenty of smiles and hugs.

They have cultivated friendships with older adults (many of these scouts are in their 60’ & 70’s).

They have learned to appreciate, enjoy, and share the blessing we have been showered with.

They have learned what it’s like to be depended upon: even if it is just to show up and smile and say hi, because some nights that’s all these precious people need, and often all they look forward to.

****

I'm glad to see your back online!

 

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