“Transporters” Transform Lives
By Carol Norris Vincent of Independence, MO, USA
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. —Romans 12:1–5 NRSV
My congregation at The Groves Retirement Community has no deacons. Our members and those who attend are elderly, many with significant mobility problems. About 15% of those who attend services in the chapel come from their rooms in the extended care building.
The way they get to services is beautiful. There is a compassionate deacon ministry here. Volunteers who do not live on this campus come every Sunday to guide, push wheelchairs, and “love” those who want to attend services. We call them “transporters.” Let me tell you about them.
One is a woman who volunteers full time on the campus. She is an elder, and she matches those who want to come to church with those who will get them here. She knows everyone by name, knows their needs, and acts to meet those needs.
Another transporter is a young man who is on several Special Olympics teams. When he began, he wasn’t sure if he could help, but he quickly grew into the task. He has affection for the elderly, is alert to their every need, touches them gently so they know he cares, and speaks to them so they can hear him.
A woman from another congregation comes every Sunday and loves to give hugs. Recently I saw her give cash to one of the women she transported, because the woman didn’t want to come to church without money to put in the offering. The woman beamed at her with appreciation.
The other team member is a young woman who works in a hospital. She is friendly and attentive to the residents’ needs. She sits at the back of the chapel, as do the others unless needed in the service, watching to see the special needs of these individuals during the service.
The compassionate transporters bless our congregation, who feel God’s love through the love of people who serve them.
Prayer for Peace
Some of us are thankful, God, for devices which make our lives easier: hearing aids and wheelchairs, eye-glasses and large print books, dentures and vitamins, but most of all for people who care and take time to show it.
Spiritual Practice: Experience Congregations in Mission
Read and reflect on Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a–d. Reread the sentence, “If you truly would be Community of Christ, then embody and live the concerns and passion of Christ.” Make a list of the issues you feel mattered most to Christ. Make another list of issues that matter to your congregation. Reflect on the likenesses and differences. How can you help align the lists? Throughout the day, as issues arise, ask yourself, “Would this matter to Christ?”
Today, God, I will help someone do something which is difficult for them, but which I take for granted.