Written by: Noori Mallaji, Orange Ride, Communications Intern
Today was a build day—my favorite kind of day—in Craig, Colorado. This morning, after having breakfast with my brothers and sisters in Christ and talking with Henry Downes about how tasty Honey Buzzers are (the generic brand of cereal that gives Honeycombs a run for their money), and after Anne Frey told those gathered at our breakfast table how bees swarm and how she wanted to build the things the boys did in Boy Scouts, instead of making craft bunnies out of old egg cartons and cotton balls, because she was a “tomboy brainiac” as a child, and after Sherry Dire told me that one really can live in Hawaii without being into the touristy commercialism and fit in just fine, since the interior of Hawaii is generally down-to-earth, laid-back, and lives simply, we divided into our service teams. One team was responsible for putting plasterboard on walls; another group was responsible for cleaning windows; another team was in charge of chopping wood, and another team, the team I was in, was responsible for weeding and painting a house.
One thing that really impacted me was how everyone at our build site had a positive spirit, as well as a spirit of service and giving. I could really tell that everyone truly wanted to be there, and that I am surrounded by wonderful people who, like myself, are passionate about making a positive difference in the world and the lives of others. I couldn’t help but remember what my English teacher, who made a profound difference in my life, once told my class years ago: “Pity is feeling sorry for someone; compassion is doing something about it.” Everyone at the build sites was demonstrating compassion, the love Jesus wants us to show to all of His children, and for that, I know He is very proud—which brings me to another point I’d like to make: Jesus’s presence in each of our lives, and how awesome His unfailing love is.
Several months ago, I was really depressed and feeling down, because some loved ones and friends of mine had moved away, and I was feeling very lonely. It was then that I remembered what I had learned years prior through some mission work I had the privilege of being a part of: Helping others not only helps them, but it also helps oneself. I began talking to God about sending an opportunity to help others my way, so I could not only help others in need, but also help myself to get out of my funk. Not long after that, I found out about The Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure, and I applied for the summer photojournalistic internship opening. I was really hoping that I would have the chance to serve others, but I was fearful that it might not work out, because riding across America and taking photographs and writing and editing are really awesome job descriptors, and such a position would have to have a high demand, which would make my chance of getting the internship that much more difficult.
One day, when I was feeling exceptionally down, I remember my soul crying out to Jesus, my Abba Father, and telling Him that having the opportunity to help others and myself and get to see one of His many masterpieces, America, firsthand would be a dream come true. I remember Him tenderly whispering into my heart something along the following lines: “Don’t worry; you’ve already received it.” I remember tearing up at this, because it meant so much to me, and I desperately needed the opportunity to think about someone other than myself and my problems. The next day, Connor Ciment and Ryan Iafigliola told me I had the job! And, what a wonderful adventure and journey it has been! I have made great new friends, seen America, and have had the privilege of serving other people! I have also made friends along the way that have battled the same kinds of battles I have battled, which has encouraged and reminded me that I am not alone, and for all of this, I am very, very honored, humbled, and grateful to The Fuller Center for Housing, Connor, Ryan, all of the people I’ve met and friends I’ve made, and most of all, I am infinitely grateful to Abba Father, from whom “every good and perfect gift comes,” including The Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure—an adventure of a lifetime.