Four years and running, here we were at Rochester Servant Event again. After a difficult school year, I’m going to be honest, my head just wasn’t all into RSE at the beginning of the week. This is why it’s interesting to me that my outlook on RSE did a complete 360 flip, due to not actually completing much physical labor.
RSE’s a four day event, from Sunday to Wednesday, and it wasn’t until Tuesday (over half-way done with the event) that I finally began to really enjoy it, and the reason may surprise you. From our first work site, Indian Heights, we were told at that our services couldn’t be completed due to improper work attire. The task at hand? To pull and pick garlic mustard, a prickly, skin-irritating, and cannibalistic plant. Since our group wasn’t wearing long pants, boots, and sweatshirts we were turned away.
However, our morning took a different turn when the Wildlife Correspondent at Indian Heights decided to take my group on a two and a half hour hike, overlooking all of God’s beautiful creation. Learning and admiring the plants and animals and learning about the conservation processes in place was a real eye-opener that most people take for granted.
Later in the day, we stopped for lunch at Silver Lake park, where another opportunity arose that most people take for granted. We decided to invite random park-goers to sit down, and pray and do devotions with us. While some politely declined, others were delighted to see people so comfortable in their faith to go invite others, they couldn’t help but say yes. Doing this opened a door to talking to strangers about personal faith journeys and their own beliefs.
Our last work site for the day was at a nursing home, where our assignment was to clean up their gardens in the back–a job that took only a half hour. Once again, feeling as though our job had fallen through, we decided to pray, asking for another opportunity to come. Not even two minutes later, we were invited to talk with residents of the nursing home and even play B-I-N-G-O with them. We used this opportunity to also hand out cookies and listen to people’s lifelong stories and testimonies, which was extremely eye-opening.
We decided to use our new outreach skills we had been blessed with that day to deliver plates of cookies and toys to children in a trailer park and a teenage rehabilitation center, touching others and our own lives.
So, what started off as a sort of downer day with most of our jobs falling through, turning out to be one of my best RSE memories ever. My group and myself got to go and do outreach, and serve our Lord in a way we never saw coming. And what a better way to be the salt of the earth and light of the world for him (which was the basis for our theme verse that week). All I know for sure, is that God was looking out for us that day, and using us to open our eyes and our faith to spread his word and change us as Christians.