It’s been said that when March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb. The saying may hold true for weather, but the spring of 2020 has proven that’s exactly where the pithy expression ends. As the COVID19 pandemic swept across the planet, critical decisions were made in every corner of the globe. Of course, for Valor Discovery that meant the cancellation of all spring trips – grounding students on teams and forcing their focus to change.
When they would otherwise have been building homes and schools, feeding the poor, sharing the gospel or teaching VBS, exploring far off places they never dreamed they’d see, students instead found themselves at home. Stuck, like so many of us, with little to do and a void they’d find themselves struggling to fill.
Accommodations were soon made, ushering in big changes to learning, worship and work. As the new became the norm, students found their needs met in different ways. Still, their hearts for service remained, prompting them to make changes to the ways they’d originally planned to serve – moving their perspective from far-off countries to the service that could happen within the walls of their own home.
“God is teaching me to embrace the free time of the pandemic and use it to grow closer to Him and to bless others,” remarked Valor student Camille P. recently. In the midst of adjusting to remote learning, the junior carved out time to write letters to the staff and residents of a senior living facility in her community. “One thing that God put on my heart as I was writing letters was gratitude. In my notes, I included that I was thankful for this time of isolation. I want to be able to hopefully inspire others to also shift their perspective about the inconveniences of COVID-19 and become grateful for the hidden blessings as well as the little things this virus has allowed us to enjoy.”
Camille’s efforts aren’t that different from the efforts of so many across the country – and certainly across Valor.
“I was able to make a blanket to keep someone in need warm and comfortable in a rough time in their lives,” shared senior Kathryn T. “I’m learning that I can help other people so easily, I just have to give a few hours to make someone’s year. I think that we need to think less of ourselves and think more about other people.”
In the months since Colorado schools closed their doors against COVID-19, Valor students have logged hundreds of service hours from home. They’re reaching out to neighbors, serving family members and encouraging doctors, nurses, patients and nursing home staff and residents. One family even paired up with friends and Valor Boys Basketball to raise over a thousand dollars to help provide snacks for staff at three area hospitals.
“Doctors and nurses risk their health and safety to help others, so showing your appreciation for their hard work is very important,” explained Emily J., a sophomore who wrote letters to the nurses and doctors at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital. Freshman Sarah S. also reached out to healthcare workers, providing treats for the staff at the hospital where her dad works.
“I realized that not everyone is stuck at home in this quarantine,” Sarah reflected recently. “Some people are having to work super hard to keep people safe and healthy. God taught me how important it is to realize that other people can be going through hard things and I should seek to support them.” Kate M. also gave time to encourage doctors and nurses by way of handwritten cards.
“They are putting their greatest efforts into helping those in need, especially in a scary time like this. I know that God is encouraging me to be selfless like them and do selfless acts, big or small, each day.”
Some students, like Emily B. and Annie C. have started making face-masks for neighbors and family, while others are serving families through yardwork, cooking and cleaning.
“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, serving others is limited,” Emily J. continued. “I have learned to adjust to the craziness and make something out of it. Everything was just cancelled all of a sudden, but God wasn’t. He wants us to focus on our families and Himself. Baking cookies doesn’t really seem like a service act, but it is making me closer to my family, which is a God-given gift during the pandemic.”
Students are gaining new perspectives, understanding, for example, the work their parents do. “[Cooking for my family] made me realize how thankful I am that every time I would come home from softball, my mom had a hot meal waiting for me without any hesitation,” shared Jada R.
“I was able to spend time doing nice things for my grandparents,” echoed Annie C. “God is teaching me the importance of family. I would encourage people not to take their family members for granted and to be kind to them.”
Of course, the lessons to be learned in the midst of the COVID19 crisis are both important and unpredictable. Lessons about social norms, health and safety abound. But so do the lessons first taught by Christ, lessons of love, humility and service. These are perhaps the most surprising lessons of all – but they may be the most impactful.
“I think that moving forward, I will create space to read scripture and serve others rather than wait for the free time to fall into my lap,” concluded Camille P.
For more information on how Valor is serving from home, click here.