My winter service trip: a reminder of why we serve

By Murphy Obershaw, Staff Writer

At Newman University, there is a great deal of importance placed on serving others.  Some students have scholarships that require service hours, Traditions and Transitions classes complete service projects and there are always emails about upcoming service opportunities.

Recently, I took advantage of one of these opportunities by attending the winter service trip organized by campus ministry.  Twenty-one students and 2 faculty chaperones took the 15 hour road trip to Gallup, New Mexico to assist the Little Sisters of the Poor, who care for low income elderly individuals, and the Missionaries of Charity, who run a food kitchen and men’s shelter.  

We split our time between the two religious orders and completed a variety of tasks including preparing meals, serving food, washing dishes, doing laundry, sewing, packing up Christmas decorations, painting and even putting on a talent show.  However, what seemed to be the overall favorite activity of the week was spending time with the people living with the Little Sisters of the Poor and those who came to the Missionaries of Charity for food and shelter.  

The night before we left Gallup, we were going around saying goodbyes to the residents and sisters we had come to know.  While we were doing that, some people were crying.  Creating bonds with the people we were serving and knowing that we were making a difference in their lives caused some students to get emotional when they realized it was time to leave.  

The point of going on service trips like this is obviously to help people who are in need but being with the people you serve does something to us too.  Clare Morgan, campus ministry’s retreat coordination, mentioned that there is something about seeing the fruits of the work you do for others.  I think this feeling is why so many people enjoyed the service trip.  

In one of his parables, Jesus reveals that “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).  As Christians, we are called to serve those who are in need, but there is still something about serving others that matters and affects us regardless of whether it is a part of our religion or not.  Being truly present to those in need and trying to fulfill those needs gives us a joy that we can only get by serving.

PHOTO: TWENTY-ONE STUDENTS went on a service trip to Gallup, New Mexico over Christmas break. Courtesy photo, Steven Nguyen