When I was 21, I went on a mission for my church. I committed 18 months of my life to teaching people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was SO excited to serve. However, just 5 months into my mission I got sick (eating disorders will do that to you) and had to come home. I was embarrassed. I felt like a failure. I was scared to go back to church in fear of judgment from others, but somehow I went anyway.
The first Sunday I went back was testimony meeting – a special meeting we have once a month where people from the congregation are invited to stand at the pulpit to talk about their faith in Christ. I purposely snuck in a few minutes late and sat in the very back corner. No way was I getting up there. However, with just a few minutes left to spare in the meeting, my heart began to pound and my hands began to shake. The Spirit lifted me out of my seat and up to the pulpit. I say ‘the Spirit’ because there was no way I walked up there by my own free will. As I stood there, I saw the shock and confusion on people’s faces. After all, wasn’t I supposed to be on the other side of the country?
A special thanks to @kensiekate for providing this beautiful free download!
I bore a simple testimony of Jesus Christ and sat down.
I immediately felt regret.
“Why did you do that? You’re so stupid, Ali, you should have just stayed seated. Now people are going to ask questions, judge you, and think of you differently because you couldn’t stay out on your mission. Stupid, stupid move.” Those words played in my mind all day.
That evening I received a phone call from a woman in my church. “I just wanted to call and tell you how much your testimony meant to me,” she said. I could hear the emotion in her voice. “I felt such power and feeling behind your words. You’re right, Christ does live. You’re a brave girl, Ali. And Heavenly Father is very aware of you.” I was immediately filled with peace.
It was that small act of compassion that helped me go back to church the next Sunday, and the Sunday after that, and the Sunday after that. All it took of this woman was a 2-minute phone call, yet it became the catalyst for so much of my healing and recovery from my eating disorder, and an example of the kind of woman I wanted to become. The compassion she showed me will affect me forever, and it has brought more peace into my life than I can put into words.
Compassion can be found just about everywhere, both in grand gestures and small ones too. Donating a few dollars to help pay for a friend’s chemotherapy, writing a thank-you card, sending flowers to someone mourning the loss of a loved one, a quick phone call, or even organizing a race to honor a young boy who has passed on from this life. Our ultimate example of compassion is our Savior Jesus Christ, the prince of peace. When He heard the cries of Martha and Mary, he had compassion on them and raised their brother from the dead. He healed the leper, restored sight to the blind, and made the made the lame walk. When Christ suffered for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane, He showed compassion for you and for me.
Why not follow Christ’s example? In addition to the few ideas talked about already, I want to share 8 specific ways we can show more compassion today. If you’d like, post a picture of what you’re doing and tag us! You may just get a shout out before the day is through. Remember, these are just a few quick examples and we’d love to see what else you come up with.
- “Preemptive Love is a global movement of peacemakers changing the way we engage in the world’s most polarizing conflicts by confronting fear with acts of love.” They’re currently focusing their efforts on helping those affected by the recent bombing in Syria. You can help by donating once, or making a monthly donation as a sponsor. They even use PayPal so it’s super easy! Preemptive Love
- Lifting Hands International provides aide for refugees, both home and abroad. This is super easy because you can buy items right on Amazon, and they will ship those items directly to countries in need! Find them on the web here: Lifting Hands International
- For all those living in my home state of Utah, Refugee Utah is a great way to help refugees who have resettled in Utah. With just a few clicks, you can donate money, goods, volunteer your time and skills, or help internationally.
- Talk to your local school system! They always have a list of ways to help kids right in your area. The best thing to do is look up the number for your local school district and when they answer, tell them you’d like to help the school by paying for a low income child’s school lunch, donating time, books, etc., and they will help direct your efforts.
- In my hometown of St. George, Utah, we have a wonderful shelter for women called the Dove Center. They help people who have suffered from domestic and sexual violence by providing counseling, food, shelter, and a chance at a better life. If you’re in the area you can find them, or a simple Google search for a women’s shelter or family crisis center will likely help you find one too.
- Gofundme.com is a wonderful way to show compassion! There are thousands of accounts on there, including one for Brittney Obrey, my childhood friend and the young mother of 6 kids who is enduring chemotherapy for a rare form of cancer. Brit’s Gofundme
- Share Africa supplies books, shoes, toys, toiletries, and other school supplies to children in Africa who have very little. Make sure to follow the directions on the site when sending a package here. Write “DONATIONS” on the outside of your box or the staff in Kenya will not be able to distribute them. Share Africa
I can’t help but think of Christ’s words when He said, “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.” (John 14:18) This Easter, let’s honor the #PrinceofPeace by being His hands. Let’s share His peace. Let’s comfort those in need of comfort. I know that if we do, this Easter will be one that is treasured and impacts each of us in big and small ways.
A special thanks to @kensiekate for providing the free print that you can download below!