Bearing one another’s burdens. Mourning with those who mourn. Making a tradition of service and fellowship across generations of family.
Labor of Love St George embodied all of these and more.
A remarkable number of people new to Labor of Love, and a remarkable number of families with younger children chose to join forces over spring break to serve in the southern Utah community of St George. In two days, despite an unusual downpour, we kept our spirits high and pressed forward.
The first recipient of our efforts was The Dove Center – a shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence or sexual assault. At a private and secure facility, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to update a children’s playroom, replacing carpeting with new flooring and cleaning all of the toys. Various other wood trim projects were completed by men with skills, and a ton of rubber playground mulch was placed beneath the playground equipment. A depleted sand box was refurbished, a playhouse re-roofed, and an area that had been over-run with thick red desert clay from a flood was cleared in favor of neatly planted flowerbeds.
One new Labor of Love volunteer, a young woman from Utah County, took on a project to gather supplies for Dove Center in her neighborhood, and had the opportunity to deliver them to the Dove Center director.
The second recipient of Labor of Love St George was Switchpoint – a shelter and job training center taking a holistic and innovative approach to solving the challenges of its homeless. Labor of Love had the opportunity to host a ‘Thankful Dinner’, complete with dutch oven cobbler cooked on site. Generous portions of ham and turkey, a wide assortment of home cooked side dishes and soups, served with a smile and as many helpings as one would want.
Our favorite part of this portion of our weekend was the fact that many Labor of Love volunteers came to the shelter wet and muddy from working in the rain, and we were indistinguishable from the people living there. We shared a meal together, and learned a little about their journey and they about ours.
Because so many Labor of Love people came to St George as families, our hearts were particularly touched by the story of one family whose burden of grief we came to lift, even if just for a moment. Their young daughter taken from them too soon, fallen ill during a family walk several months before. Siblings, parents and extended family and community devastated by the loss. We came to assist them in establishing a place to make new memories together, and to walk with them to their daughter’s resting place in a nearby cemetery and listen to her story. We can bear one another’s burdens and simultaneously seek joy together as we serve.
No person is too small to serve. No contribution too insignificant to make a difference. Won’t you consider bringing your family to our next Labor of Love? Your hearts and ours will be knit together in love.