Seeking Stories about Service

I’ve been thinking lately about one of our purposes in life which is to be of service to humanity. I know there are many wonderful and inspiring examples out there to be shared of how individuals are arising to make a difference in society.  So I was inspired to collect some of these stories and I need your help and collaboration.  The purpose is to encourage and acknowledge those who have given service to others even in the smallest way. Send in a story of anyone you know who has rendered some meaningful service that you think should be shared (it can be as short or as long as you like). Please submit them in the comment section below of my blog.  My family and I will choose our favorite ones and we will give a copy of the Birds of Love gift set to the individuals whose service have touched us the most. Kindly spread the word so your friends can send in submissions too.


    Marilyn August 7, 2011Reply

    The International School that was part of the Gymnasium in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk for about 10 years from 1991 had “Service” among the virtues that were woven into the curriculum. The lessons started with teaching the children to clean the classroom each day. When they got better at it, they made a bit of competition to recognize which class had the cleanest room. Then they expanded their awareness by having the classes clean each others’ rooms – and recognizing jobs well done. The next step was having children clean the school grounds. The usual litter disappeared and the children began to take pride in the difference they were making. Then they were challenged to provide the service of cleaning the streets between the school and their homes. And the town was beginning to get a new look! Not long after that some parents were asking the school, “What are you doing to our children? They are beginning to pick up around the house and cleaning their rooms without being asked!”

    Sarmad August 7, 2011Reply

    Awesome story!!! 🙂

    Elika August 8, 2011Reply

    Thanks for sharing this amazing story dear Marilyn. It’s lovely to read about such transformations. I have just reworded and clarified the blog as we are looking for stories of service where we can acknowledge individuals who have meaningful stories so we can encourage them further. So its not about collecting stories per se but about rewarding the individual who has been doing some sort of service. So whoever sends in a story would need to know the individual mentioned (who is engaged in service) so that we can send them a gift if their story is one of the ones picked. Do you know the person who was inspired to create the project for the children at this school?

    Mozhdeh Foo August 9, 2011Reply

    I think one of the most sacrifical stories that has touched my heart is that of my brother Dr. Sohayl Mohajer. he has been living in India since 1977, serving the people in the villages and towns with great detachment and dedication. One of the things he does is to encourage Baha’i inspired village level schools. He identifies potential Baha’i youth in the villages who are educated but are unable to secure a job, to start their own schools. while he does not provide any financial assistance, he visits them and talks to them and consults on possible ways of starting a school, with one class initially and adding on one class each year. He is currently developing a curriculum to help teach these children deep concepts to make them good thinkers and virtuous personages. In my last visit to India I visited 2 such schools. One of them had over 250 students and 8 teachers and the other had over a 100 students with 5 grades, both self-sufficient. The schools are bilingual and children learn both English and Hindi.

    Prema Krish August 9, 2011Reply

    There are so many individuals whom I can identify for such a story but one who has touched my heart and affected my mindset about service is a Mrs. Jaysie Bani from Malaysia. She was my children’s class teacher and at a time when I was a junior youth, she was my spiritual guide. That was more than 15 years ago when we didn’t have the privilege of being part of the junior youth spiritual empowerment program yet. She was the person who inspired me to be the kind of teacher who cares for each one of her children or students. It was through her efforts that I realized that education starts from being personally involved in the lives of those we care about. It wasn’t so much about what she did, but rather how she did it – with humility, detachment and love. She has continued to serve selflessly, the kind that often goes unnoticed. I large part of the service I have been engaged in is affected by her example and encouragement.

    Charles Boyle August 10, 2011Reply

    Our local Council invited our little Baha’i community as a “community organisation” to support their celebration of “Railway Heritage” in the community, offering us the chance to raise funds by providing a service on the day. Being summer, we opted to run a lemonade stall, door-knocking the neighbours to invite contributions of lemons, then establishing a brightly bannered stall to make and sell the lemonade which was extremely welcome on a hot day: the Town Crier advertising that ‘The finest lemonade in the land was available at the Baha’i stall’. The money raised was donated to a local school to support their moral education programme. This has built new links for us in the community, helped form new friendships and and service credibility, and is catalyising further neighbourhood activities in support of Teachers Appreciation Day, the environment and other service projects.

    Kurt Hein August 10, 2011Reply

    Adrienne Carter, Shawnigan Lake, BC, Canada, is an amazing soul. She understands suffering…remarkably…she is a counselor for the BC govt. for women and children suffering PTSD. The BC government has granted her paid release time to enable her to serve as a PTSD counselor for Doctors w/out Borders in Kosovo, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Malaysa – to name a few. She is in Kenya right now helping counsel refugees from Somalia.
    Adrienne was a teen-age refugee from Hungary in the ’50s…learned she was Jewish after the family arrived safely Halifax. She became a Baha’i and met another Baha’i youth, Barrie, who came from a prominent SDA family (founders/leaders of the SDA in Canada), all of whom were self-selected exiles to Canada from the U.S. — African-American – freed slave families!
    Amazing, eh?
    Delane and Adrienne and I were on the Baha’i LSA together for 10 years in Shawnigan Lake and Adrienne helped Kurt after his traumatic ‘exile’ from Guinea because of a relapse of MS that I suffered there.

    weareone August 10, 2011Reply

    here is an excerpt from the South African newsletter recently: it is a story of Linda Somni, a 15 year old Baha’i who started children’s classes, Devotions & a jr. youth group on his own in an area with no Baha’is…
    A few weeks ago I had
    been asked by the institute
    coordinator to go
    to one of the townships on
    the outskirts of Cape Town
    and tutor a book 3 for
    Linda, who had started a
    children’s class but had not
    yet finished book 3.
    We arrived in truly one of
    the poorest townships I
    have been to in the Cape-­
    Town area. Entire families
    live in tiny one room
    houses and there is no run-­
    ning water and in general
    people have very few, if
    any, possessions in their
    homes. Of course, as we
    arrived, despite the rain, at
    least twenty children came
    out excitedly to great us.
    already knew it! When we re-­
    joined them, it was so moving
    to see all these children sing-­
    ing the name of Baha’u’llah (at
    the top of their lungs!). What
    moved me most was that
    Linda, was so focused, so
    completely dedicated and has
    a sense of clarity, intention
    and insight that honestly left
    me feeling like I was in the
    presence of a spiritual warrior
    -­ someone who alone, and
    truly unaided, had come to a
    new community and is now
    establishing a community. And
    he is only 14!! When we asked
    him if we could assist him in
    any way, he asked if next
    week we could please bring
    with us 15 copies of breezes
    of confirmation!!!
    Yas Samadi

    Verne Larson August 11, 2011Reply

    I don’t have a service story, but I do have a poem that sums up my idea of service, because there are a thousands ways to serve, not only humanity, but fellow Baha’is too…
    From piney woods lush
    Of dogwood and thrush
    To steamy Delta cottonland
    Of magnolia and jazz band
    I’d like to proclaim
    The Greatest Name –
    From the Smokies regal
    Of hidden coves and eagle
    To the Rockies grand and icy
    To the wild Pacific
    I’d like to proclaim
    The Greatest Name –
    In letters bold and neon bright
    Ninety-nine feet in height
    With laser lights and bells
    Sirens and whistles too
    I’d like to proclaim
    The Greatest Name –
    Ah! But the Master said –
    “Little by little”
    So, day by day
    In Ruhi prayer-filled ways
    Little by little in service
    I proclaim to great and small
    The Greatest Name to one and all!
    Verne Larson – August 2011

    Elika August 11, 2011Reply

    I’m posting this on behalf of a friend, Joerg Wuttke, who emailed me this story:
    I was always inspired by my friend Sabriye Tenberken, at age 12 she became blind. She studied Central Asian Sciences at Bonn University. In addition to Mongolian and modern Chinese, she studied modern and classical Tibetan in combination with sociology and philosophy. As no blind student had ever before ventured to enroll in these kind of studies, she could not fall back on the experiences of anyone else – and had to develop her own methods in order to follow her course of studies. She moved to Lahasa. Out of this need, Sabriye developed the Tibetan Braille Script. Sabriye initiated the project for the blind in Tibet and is the co-founder and co-director of Braille Without Borders. Next to fundraising and communication with official and sponsor organisations she is responsible for the development of the curricula, training of teachers and trainers and initially she also taught blind children herself.

    Elika August 11, 2011Reply

    Thanks to all of you who have posted a story so far. We’ve also received a lovely poem on service by Verne Larson. Thank you!

    Darrell Elmer Rodgers August 14, 2011Reply

    Moro Baruk is an artist. He was born in Egypt in 1947…. In 1979, Moro and his wife Paule, responding to a calling to serve their Faith, traveled to Haiti. … Today, the Baruks live in a house they built in their adopted hometown, Jacmel. They employ many artisans whom they train in artistic crafts. And as Baha’i pioneers they are very busy helping to establish the principles of race unity, the equality of men and women, the elimination of prejudice of all kind; all principles brought by Baha’u’llah the Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith.
    When the terrible earthquake struck Haiti, much of their town of Jacmel was severely damaged. But unlike many foreigners who fled for the safety of their homelands, Moro Baruk & his wife Paule stayed in Jacmel to help rebuild. Leaving never crossed their minds because after 30 years of working with, living with, and loving the people of Haiti, it had truly become their home.
    Recently, their demonstrated perseverance paid off, as they were singled out for a visit by the new President of Haiti. Moro wrote:
    Today, Paule and I enjoyed a special day.
    Haiti’s new President Michel Joseph Martelly came to our town on a special occasion to boost Jacmel’s tourist business. The Bahá’í prayer for Unity was originally on the welcoming program but someone not so friendly with the Faith removed it.
    In the mean time we had prepared a special package containing a poster of that prayer, the prayer book, the Hidden Words and an introduction to the Faith. We had planned to find a moment during the day to offer it to him with dignity. Parallel to that we decided to offer him a substantial gift of a pen & Ink drawing made by me along with a quote from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá about the education of girls.
    Today at the airport, while waiting for his plane to land, we showed the package to a senator who happens to be a very close friend to him and to us. The Senator contacted the lady who removed the prayer to put it in the program. At first she refused. He insisted with force and she accepted.
    After the initial welcoming reception at the airport, the President was to visit the historic quarters of Jacmel (in which our house, our boutique/factory and our rental apartments are situated) as this district will become the next focal point in Jacmel’s tourism development.
    As he approached our boutique with over 40 people walking with him, the president spotted me on the sidewalk. Although we never met face to face before, somehow he recognized me or someone may have told him who I was, but his face beamed and he left the cortege to come and shake my hand and he entered our store.
    He walked straight to the fan to cool off. At that moment I gave him both his gifts one after the other.
    He loved the drawing and the quote of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá which I read out loud to him. He was very moved then said that he appreciated the subject as education was number One on his agenda, then while receiving the books, he opened every single one and addressing the protocol lady nearby, told her he will read this books and get inspired by them. He was told by someone that the prayer was going to be offered in his honor.
    After visiting us, we all went to a hotel where the speeches and the reception cocktail were going to be.
    After the National Hymn, Paule was invited to recite the prayer for unity. [The President bowed] his head and closed his eyes, then, at the end of the prayer he turned toward me and smiled.
    We are very happy to have been the instruments to share with the Head of State spiritual material that may influence one day his decisions.
    Loving greetings

    jaleh August 30, 2011Reply

    Now that the competition is over i can tell you a story of a young man who decided to please the House of Justice by having ALL of the Core Activities in place by himself! Every Friday he either holds a Devotional meeting or a Fireside, he has 2 study circles going on and a children class every week. The only thing lacking was the Junior youth group where he decides to seek them in a park. After some “Remover of difficulties” prayers a group is attracted to him and so he starts a junior youth group… At the time he also worked for McKinsey with 18 hour job a day at times! can you guess who?!

    RonPrice September 1, 2011Reply

    I guess the service story I sent in must have not connected so I’ll send it in again. You can add it to your list of sewrvice stories if you so desire. Leave it with you.-RonPrice, Tasmania
    I have joined over 100 mental health, depression, bipolar disorder, and health sites and participate, as circumstances permit, in the discussions on relevant topics: mental health, bipolar disorder, depression and personality disorders among other topics in the field of psychiatry. I have posted my own account of bipolar disorder in whole or in part at these and other locations in cyberspace because: (a)it is part of my own effort to de-stigmatize the field of mental illness and (b) imy story, my experience, provides a useful longitudinal account of BPD for those who are interested.
    My own somewhat account at these sites on the world wide web provides mental health sufferers, clients or consumers, as they are variously called these days, with: (i) a more adequate information base to make some comparisons and contrasts with their own situation, their own predicament, whatever it may be, (ii) some helpful general knowledge and understanding, (iii) some useful techniques in assisting them to cope with and sort out problems associated with their particular form of mental health problem or some other traumatized disorder that affects their body, their spirit, their soul and their everyday life and (iv) some detailed instructions on how to manage their lives more successfully despite the negative consequences of their BPD or whatever trauma or illness affects their lives.

    Anonymous September 2, 2011Reply

    I just sent the following emails, Erika, to 2 dozen of my email correspondents:
    I send you the following link: The link was sent to me from a Baha’i friend in the USA in relation to a very active cyberpsace-internet lady. Her name is Elika Mahony and you can google her name and come up with many listings for her music and her various forms of Baha’i/service work. In this post she is collecting “service stories.” This link begins with the following paragraph. I leave this to you to do with as you so wish.-Ron
    I have just discovered you and your internet work, Erika, and it is indeed, a form of service. If you want to pat yourself on the back by including my post in your list of service stories do so. And if you want to assume a more overtly humble posture—“no worries,” as they say Downunder.-Ron Price, Tasmania

    RonPrice September 2, 2011Reply

    I just sent the following emails, Erika, to 2 dozen of my email correspondents:
    I send you the following link: The link was sent to me from a Baha’i friend in the USA in relation to a very active cyberpsace-internet lady. Her name is Elika Mahony and you can google her name and come up with many listings for her music and her various forms of Baha’i/service work. In this post she is collecting “service stories.” This link begins with the following paragraph. I leave this to you to do with as you so wish.-Ron
    I have just discovered you and your internet work, Erika, and it is indeed, a form of service. If you want to pat yourself on the back by including my post in your list of service stories do so. And if you want to assume a more overtly humble posture—“no worries,” as they say Downunder.-Ron Price, Tasmania

    Graham Nicholson September 2, 2011Reply

    Dear friends,
    Some years ago I decided to take early retirement from a well-paid professional job and do something more personally rewarding. I tried various things, part time lecturing, travelling, gardening etc, but did not find any of them satisfying nor did I feel that I was contributing to others in the positive way I would have liked. So my wife and I moved into the world heritage rainforest hills in north Queensland to a small, simple house which we renovated. I had accumulated a large library so it was necessary to rent a shop in the quaint rainforest village Kuranda, to house the books. I decided to use this shop front as a means of service, so it became not only my library and office but also the Baha’i Information Centre and a drop in place, with tea and coffee and other facilities and activities. Meditation meetings were commenced weekly.
    Upon consultation later on, it was felt that the shopfront could attract more people if it became a bookshop, with books on religions and spirituality and on other topics for thoughtful readers. It became the Hidden Words Bookshop in early 2010.
    The Bookshop has in fact become an important means of service to others. Selling books is now a very difficult commercial business, but having a bookshop allows me to provide a range of services. This includes various kinds of material assistance, assistance with private documentation, research into a variety of topics on request, searching for books and other written material, encouraging the acquisition of knowledge on many subjects, engaging in various literary activities, encouraging the literary activities of others, providing support to indigenous people and helping to promote reconciliation and the abandonment of prejudice, promoting tolerance and respect for difference, providing a forum for discussions and meditations on important subjects including on spirituality, religious harmony, peace and related topics, providing light refreshments as appropriate, as well as pursuing my own interests. This includes, but is not limited to, providing information to the public that is relevant to the Baha’i Faith.
    The Bookshop is small and boutique style, but still with a wide range of books, new and used, at reasonable prices on a range of topics such as history, biography, science, philosophy, psychology, the environment, politics, religion and spirituality, international issues, human rights and justice, Aboriginals, arts and culture, feminism, classics ancient and modern, self help and gift books. I feel it is providing a real service and I enjoy the constructive interchange with visitors from all over the world.

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