Kathleen Childers 2016-08-12 16:19:33
PLANTING THE SEEDS OF SERVICE' This member goes the extra mile to help her kids discover the rewards of helping others. Amy Gutierrez was looking for inspiration. She wanted to do something last summer with her 10-year-old daughter, Kayla, that would be fun and show her the value of being generous. Inspiration turned out to be next door for this Thrivent member from San Jose, California. A neighbor who does night ministry at a mission in San Francisco frequently brings dinner for others when she goes. Amy decided she could teach Kayla how to make soup and take it to the mission, providing a meal for homeless people and a perfect opportunity for Kayla to see service in action. Amy knows the value of such work. As a former high school guidance counselor, Amy told her students that service helps you find your role in the world. “Right now it’s easy for kids to lose themselves,” she says, “with the news often scary and the focus on materialism. But I try to show that when you pause and give of yourself to others, it actually helps you as much or more than others.” Amy’s views on generosity are shared by her husband, Val. For them, generosity is a family effort that includes Kayla and their 8-year-old twin sons, Mateo and Ethan. And it’s not just talk for them. They walk the talk. For the mission, Amy and her daughter invited some of Kayla’s friends to help. They spent a day shopping and cooking. The next day, they helped serve their soup to the mission visitors. “Seeing how a simple bowl of soup can mean so much to someone who’s hungry had a big impact on the girls,” says Amy. On another occasion, the family participated in a fundraiser to walk 4 miles, which is the typical distance that someone has to go in a developing country for clean water. They promoted the event at their church—including putting on a skit about it—to get people to join them. Next up: “I’m looking for ways to bring in community and encourage reading,” says Amy. So the family plans to work with their neighbors to build Little Free Library kiosks to put in front of their house and others in their neighborhood. For Amy, there are no limits for how you can express generosity. 3 QUESTIONS FOR AMY GUTIERREZ Is there an adage you live your life by? Life is an adventure. I see life as being full of amazing opportunities every day. What hobbies do you enjoy? I love going for long walks, swimming, yoga, reading books, meeting new people and traveling. How do you live your faith? It serves as my moral compass. I strive to act in a nonjudgmental manner and approach people in the way I believe Jesus would act. TAKING ACTION Watch a video of Amy and Kayla’s Thrivent Action Team project serving soup at Open Cathedral-Mission at Thrivent.com/soup. Kathleen Childers is assistant editor of Thrivent magazine.
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