Here is our intern Melanie Yong’s reflection on last week’s Micah 6:8 Launch:
On a cold Sunday morning in March, the Boston Faith & Justice Organization launched our first Service Learning program in partnership with Salvation Army in Malden, MA. It has been a project that we have talked about for months and deliberated over with the board, consultants, service site and project coordinators. So it was an exciting feeling to finally see it happening. While the idea of a service learning project was not new to me, what was new is the Christian centered approach and economic discipleship model that BFJN stands for.
And so it began – What better way to start the long day but with coffee and muffins? At 9:45am participants from various ages, ethnicities and occupations walked in. I was surprised to see how committed people were even with the cold and early Sunday morning start. In my mind, weekends are rest days and certainly a voluntary event like this is last on people’s minds. But I was wrong.
In fact I was very energized by the enthusiasm that the participants had throughout the teaching sessions and in the physical service part of the program that stretched for 3 hours! Initially when the teaching started I had doubts as to whether people would be open to the idea of looking at Christianity as a justice calling faith. Growing up in the church, I have rarely heard of the call to be part of society and the need for us to do something long term for the needs around us. So I was skeptical. In my heart I wondered, are people here because they were our friends and board members? Because they had to fulfil their service hours? Would the reflections on biblical passages and discussions on the service we did make any impression on them?
At the end of the day I had my answers. Not only did I come out of the sessions and service feeling refreshed, fulfilled and positive, I was also reminded that in the midst of the doubts and pessimism that I had about justice work (after being involved for a couple of years), that every little effort that we put in, still matters. I used to theorize and debate about how short term service may not be that much of a solution to the world’s problems. But I realize now that it can still make a difference. Even if not for the receiver of that service, at least it still does something for those who gave the service. I had the chance to speak to a participant after the event and found out that she was searching for a way to merge her faith and passion for justice work. Through this event and the conversations she had with fellow participants, she found out that there is indeed tangible ways out there for her to do this!
During the service portion, we were also informed that what we did would benefit 150 people coming for the weekly meal program. It may seem like a small number but if 15 people putting in just 3 hours of their Sunday could make that happen then I am happy to be part of that. If spending a day of teaching others to live simply and give generously could produce 15 hearts that will go out and change their daily habits, give to charities and think of their consumption choices, then yes, sign me up for it!