“White Footprints,” New Era, Mar. 1988, 11
At first, I was embarrassed and ashamed.
I mean, how would you like it if you were always the object of the ward service projects? I came from a single-parent home, and we were considered “underprivileged.” All that service was a little hard to accept.
But when I started noticing the joy in the faces of the kids in my ward, my feelings began to change. It wasn’t right for me to deny them the joy of service just because I was a little ashamed. They weren’t there to embarrass me and my family. They were there because they loved us and were aware of my mom’s struggles, and wanted to offer their time and labor.
And would you believe that participating in a ward service project at my own house made one of the best days of my life? The youth of the ward came to spend an entire Saturday sanding and painting our house. The brushes were set out; paint had been bought; razor blades, sandpaper, and ladders were all ready for action. Before we knew it, there was paint everywhere, with extra amounts splattered on the advisers.
By the end of the day, we were all tired and thirsty, but no one could wipe the smiles off our faces or wipe away the friendships we had just cemented. My heart filled with warmth and my eyes stung from the oncoming tears as I looked at the newly painted house that was our little home.
Now, every time I look at our house the memory of hitting the advisers with paint brings on a smile, but I also see something else. One of the deacons walked across the roof with paint on the bottom of his shoes. It was the funniest thing to look up and see white footprints across the roof.
With time, the footprints have faded, but what the youth and the ward have done will never fade. The love they extended to us through service means so much to me, and my mom said that she will always be grateful to those who have taken time out for us.
So my advice to you, if you ever get the chance to be charitable, is to enjoy it. The blessings will be great. But if you get the chance to receive, do it, knowing that people’s motives are pure. They love you and want to serve you.