Sharon Eubank teaches ‘If we change our perspective so that caring for the poor and the needy is less about giving stuff away and more about filling the hunger for human contact, providing meaningful conversation, and creating rich and positive relationships, then the Lord can send us someplace. ‘
‘Sister Burton asked us each to think about the strangers among us. Is there anyone who doesn’t participate in society for some reason? Somebody who is on the periphery? Somebody who—because of language, background, disability, religion, family status, life choices, or anything else—is not fully participating within the circle? And can we think of them as brothers and sisters? Can we serve them?’
She asks us to give of ourselves, our love and ears. Ask questions, put effort in with those around you and see everyone as someone always worth getting to know. I spoke with 2 of my fellow byu students about this concept in a few conversations whilst in Livingstone. We discussed how difficult it is sometimes to put ourselves out there and to just do what in our minds we know we should do. But we have come to know that almost all good things in life come from human connections, meeting new people and putting ourselves out there.
During my time in Zambia, I quickly realized how open people were to speak, but how I needed to show my openness by being friendly. As soon as I began to show appreciation, use names, be polite and ask questions when I could, and be vulnerable, I saw a difference in the way people interacted with me. I realised everyone really wants appreciating and to feel as though they are noticed. To know this principle of giving of myself helped me not think too much of all I wish I could give them physically.
I quickly realized how much I wanted to apply these similar principles at home. Usually experiences abroad are a bit like a reset button on life, giving you a new perspective and you come away with so many incredible memories and experiences because we were consistently out of our comfort zone, and forced to make friends being by ourselves. However, what if I applied these same principles of being curious of others and giving of my time and effort to reach the one and get to know those around me just where i am? What if I made sure to be out of my comfort zone consistently at home too?