Being single provides opportunities for service.
Single people are in an incredible position to follow God’s call to service, wherever it may lead.
In my single years, I had less roots and commitments, so I usually jumped at opportunities to travel on service trips or provide overnight leadership like being a camp counselor at my district’s outdoor ministry center. I find it more heart wrenching to be away now, even though the experiences themselves are still valuable.
During college, I worked for a whole summer at our church camp. It was a demanding job with very little “off” time, perfect for that stage of my life. I relished in the Christian fellowship and immersion in God’s creation. This job also gave me practice being a leader in a worship setting, like leading Bible Study, songs, and planning campfire reflections.
I imagine that if I had been in a romantic relationship at the time, I wouldn’t have applied for the job, preferring instead to stay closer to home. I’m so glad I did. I have relationships with adults and youth from that summer that still endure today.
A few years later, I traveled to Los Angeles with our youth group for a service trip. We spent a week with youth from other churches, serving the homeless of Skid Row. Skid Row is a designated area in downtown L.A. that contains one of the largest stable populations of homeless people in the United States. Estimates of the number of homeless people vary by source, but all estimates are in the thousands. It’s appalling.
Tents and temporary structures line the sidewalks and trash litters the streets. Our eyes opened wide and our hearts broke open, just driving through. During the week, we worked with various organizations in the community, like soup kitchens and shelters.
Each day we returned to our host church and shared our personal experiences and interactions, reflecting and praying as a group. The service experiences were eye-opening for adults and youth alike.
The last evening of our trip, we visited Skid Row to pray with the homeless, one-on-one. We were told by our leader to approach a person and simply ask him or her if we could pray with them.
This was way out of my comfort zone, as I’d only led prayers before with a group of people I knew and trusted, like my family or Christian peers. However, I stepped out in faith, approaching an older woman, whose name I learned was Rosa, and asking if I could pray for her.
In a shaky voice, I prayed out loud, asking God to protect her and guide her path, keeping her safe from harm. It was not my most eloquent prayer, but the words rang true and my heart hummed afterward as I walked back to the church van. I thought about Rosa and what would happen to her. The homeless now had a face, and it was hers.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/HeroImages