We are nearing the end of another Canadian winter and looking forward to a change of seasons. Some of you may already be making plans for your summer vacation. Some may have plans for renovation projects, while others are planning time to relax by the lake or in the backyard. Maybe your plans include a road trip near or far to visit family or take in the many activities or natural wonders of North America. A rest is good for the soul, a time to refresh and gain new energy to take on the day-to-day events of life.
It just might be that you are considering doing something different this summer. Something even more rejuvenating than a getaway. Something more engaging. Something more . . . generous. If you are one of those looking for ideas for a more others-focused summer, consider some of these options:
- From home: If you enjoy gardening, plant extra this year and bring the produce to a local food project or soup kitchen. Impact local children by volunteering in a Vacation Bible School program. Volunteer at a youth drop-in centre. Visit a seniors centre and enjoy time with the residents. Spend some time helping at a thrift store or food bank. Offer to do that much-needed painting job in the church.
- Nearby: Bible camps are always on the lookout for cabin leaders, cooks, lifeguards, nurses, or other support po-sitions. There may be a building project or mission agency that could benefit greatly from your labour or skills as a tradesperson.
- Farther afield: Connect with missionaries you know and offer to assist them on a project or just encourage them and get a better understanding of the ministry they are doing.
Go on your own or encourage others to join you in whatever ministry you decide to get involved in. You will feel good that you had an opportunity to help others and perhaps see someone decide to follow Jesus because you were willing to serve. If you include your children, you will impact them as they see your example and experience the blessing of serving others.
Some of these ideas work only in the summer, but most are possibilities any time of the year. If you have additional ideas, share them with others at church, with your neighbours or co-workers, or share them with other Canadians by writing a letter to the editor of this magazine.
Whatever you choose to do on your vacation, may you be blessed, refreshed and encouraged to continue living faithful, joyful and generous lives.
Harold Penner is a stewardship consultant at the Winnipeg office of the Mennonite Foundation of Canada (MFC). For stewardship education and estate and charitable gift planning, contact your nearest MFC office or visit MennoFoundation.ca.