Community Service Project
Posted June 24, 2004
This morning (Thursday June 10th) about 100 youth and adults (including President Olsen, and his first counselor) from the Orem Cherry Hill Stake (Latter Day Saints) came to do service at the temple. Our special friend Ron Clark, who is in Europe at present, had given the inspiration, which was evident in their eagerness and positive attitude.
Initially, using the microphone and speakers, I gave the largest single tour of all time and answered questions for about half an hour. Then Vaibhavi took over with the distribution of duties: painting columns and back stairs, painting the llama obstacle course, mowing, mopping and scrubbing the downstairs floors, cleaning the chandeliers, shearing llamas, repairing and replacing fences, weed wacking, trenching around trees for watering, cleaning out the pond, dusting, arranging and cleaning in the gift shop, killing thistles, cleaning the kitchen, and others. Everybody threw themselves into their tasks with a strong will.
Halfway through a rainstorm forced everyone inside. We decided to take lunch while waiting for the brief storm to pass. Everyone seemed to enjoy the buffet of spiced potatoes, saffron rice with peas and cranberries, spaghetti, upma, hallava, nachos, salad, pudding, bread, fudge, and mango drinks. Many of the kids inquired about the meat like TVP (soy by product) in the spaghetti. The parrots, Jai (African Grey) and Peaches (Cockatoo), were a big hit with the youngsters and were continually passed from hand to hand.
When everyone had eaten and the rain passed, the projects were continued. In a single morning, with such a large competent, and enthusiastic group, all the uncompleted tasks that have haunted Vai and I for weeks were completed to perfection. I joked that "we're going to worry now that we're not worried."
Prior to departure, so many wonderful people were coming up to thank us that I jumped up on a bench to announce to everybody that it was we who needed to thank them for coming out in such numbers and in such a selfless spirit! When Moana Wilcox pressed into my hands a check as a donation, I vehemently protested, saying, "This is way, way over the top. We should be giving you the donation." She was not to be dissuaded, so I reluctantly tucked the check into my shirt pocket. Later, seeing the amount was for a whopping $ 500.00 I was stunned.
Last night Vai and I had attended the annual dinner for clergy and Utah Valley Leaders hosted by the President of Brigham Young University, at present Cecil Samuelson. In his introduction, President Samuelson said to the leaders of various (non LDS) denominations, "We appreciate you. We are honored by your presence. We are privileged to serve you." These were not idle words, but have been proven true to us time and time again. We hope never to take such generosity of spirit for granted, but to always strive in giving back to the community as much as we receive.
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Caru das and Vaibhavi