Yesterday was a powerfully spiritual day for me centered around feeding the streets with Legacy Initiative. So instead of posting my presumptive plethora of pictures, I want to post just a few, and write a little more. I don’t have the eloquence of Stephan Heard, but it is important to me. I did a little less hiding behind the lens yesterday and more interaction with the people, seeing the sunburned, bruised, dirty, and scabbed faces and hands close-up. I heard their mouths pronounce blessing upon me for giving them a simple orange or banana; asking for more for themselves and their friends or family. I left there with strong emotions and gratitude for what I have been given, with humility that those who have so little would bless us for sharing what would be a trifle for us but a treat for them. And being able to connect personally with some of the choicest people on this earth. These are the very meek that we are told will one day inherit the earth.
Then on my drive home I listened to Elder Jeffrey Holland’s talk on “There is Sunshine in My Soul Today” where he said these words:
“I struggle with songs that I cannot sing that should be sung. When I see the staggering inequality in the world, I feel guilty singing […] ‘of blessing which God gives me now, or joys laid up above.’ That chorus cannot be fully faithfully sung until we have honorably cared for the poor. Economic deprivation is a curse which keeps on cursing year after year and generation after generation. It damages bodies, maims spirits, harms families, and destroys dreams. If we could do more to alleviate poverty as Jesus repeatedly commands us to do, maybe some of the less fortunate in the world could hum a few notes of “There is sunshine in my soul today,” perhaps for the first time in their lives.”
“My love is richer than my tongue. I cannot heave my heart into my mouth.”
I felt a wash of love come over me because I felt that I had, at least in some small measure “honorably cared for the poor” around me. Did I do enough? No! But did I at least do something? Yes! And it has blessed my soul beyond words to describe it.
So my other photos today will highlight other experiences where I saw lasting good that came from that service.
This is a two weeks old baby on the streets with her parents. (next picture) We asked if we could share this photo. She was 4 lbs 1 oz at birth. It reminds me of two years ago in March when I met four women and and a six year old in Pioneer Park. I asked if they needed anything, the six year old said, “Do you have a blanket?” I said, I don’t but I can get one for you. When I came back with the blanket, the little girl was off playing and one of the women asked, “If she doesn’t want it can I keep it?” Right next to her in a bassinette that I hadn’t noticed before was a 3 month old baby. It gets cold out there at night. This never should be.
Rachel Santizo asked if I could get a picture of this small family with the baby. She wanted to have positive pictures. As we visited with them for the moments before and after the picture, they were just proud to show off their new baby and were flattered by the concern shown over them. My God bless them and their child. — with Rachel Santizo.
Here a mother is teaching her daughter and her daughter’s friend about selfless service by setting the example. She is taking them along with her so they can experience it themselves.
Here is a typical scene from the streets where others are filled with sunshine and food on a beautiful day.
A typical street scene. I wonder how his hand was injured? I also saw a man a few yards from there with a profoundly swollen and painful foot and ankle, largely untreated.
I remember about six months ago I met a man sitting along the fence with a leg swollen three times its normal size. I remarked that it looked quite painful and asked how he was doing. His friend quickly replied, “It’s a lot better than it was yesterday,” to which he agreed. It is hard to imagine living under such conditions in full health, but adding the burden of illness and injury must make it nigh unbearable. Yet they seem to bear it.
Here a sister and her brother grow closer as they share this time of service together. — with Chelsey Bergmann.