In our town of Alamosa, Colorado, we are set in the San Luis Valley, surrounded by purple, majestic mountains and green fields where the farmers raise alfalfa, barley, oats and potatoes. Along with the landscape, there is a community where people look out, take care of and serve each other.
Our church, Alamosa Christian Reformed Church, also noticed that there was a huge population of residents that needed an extra hand. The San Luis Valley is the home of two of the poorest counties in the nation, so with willing hands and hearts, Christian Community Service Projects (CCSP) was formed.
The mission for CCSP is to address the physical and spiritual needs of people in the San Luis Valley Community in the name of Christ by helping them to rebuild and improve their lives. We do this by hosting groups that go into our community to do home improvements for residents who do not have the resources to help themselves. As manager, I’m able to see every aspect of the operations and guide the process relationally. My favorite part is calling the residents to let them know a group is being coming to meet their need. My second favorite part is seeing the look of satisfaction on the volunteers’ faces when they make a difference through their selfless hearts and attitudes. Galatians 5:13b comes to mind – “serve one another in love”!
My husband, Keith, is also making a difference in the lives of others in Haiti, Honduras and Peru. His talents in woodworking and innovation with limited resources are a real gift to those looking to use what little they have efficiently and effectively. While Keith goes to teach skills he has also learned so many life and spiritual lessons. The best part of serving in other parts of the world is realizing that even thousands of miles away from home we all serve the one, true and Almighty God.
Our church enjoys hosting Serve with Youth Unlimited every other year and we wish it could happen every week, all year around. That’s why we’ve tried to integrate service principles into the life of our church and families.
Whenever we talk about what inspires us to serve and to host Serve for our community, we have to mention Keith’s sister, Christine Tolsma, Christine was tragically killed in 2008 when she was just 17 years old. This terrible loss was only eclipsed by the blessed assurance of seeing her again one day in Heaven. Her faith was strengthened by attending Youth Unlimited’s Serve which definitely created milestones in her walk with the Lord. At those experiences she made lasting relationships with other students, friends from her own community and with Jesus Christ. She also made lasting commitments that caused her to serve the Lord the other 51 weeks of the year, so we are inspired through the legacy she left to serve the other 51 as well.