When you are willing to serve, God provides you opportunities to do so. Don Proeschel, a fellow Chase Oaker, not only answers the call to serve, but creates opportunities for others to serve as well. Upon joining Chase Oaks five years ago, Don quickly entrenched himself in the youth ministry with the goal of role modeling to teenage boys authentic Christian masculinity combining all the attributes of Christ, including strength, endurance, and moral courage as well as humility, surrender, and compassion. Of course, that means whipping butts at the ping pong table every week, but one does what one is called to do and Don is up for the challenge.
When the church-wide call went out for participation in a Love Where You Live project his first year as a Chase Oaker, Don answered the call again, joining a group already committed to a project. After three years of serving on projects led by others, he volunteered to be a project leader in 2015. The leadership role suited him, so he took on the role again this year. He began by selecting a project from the Love Where You Live list posted online by the City of Plano. The projects are submitted by residents who live in the chosen Plano neighborhood and have home repair needs.
“I searched for a project within the scope of my goals.” Don recounted. “I wanted to find a project that was big enough to bring youth and adults together working side by side without stepping on each other, but not so big that it was undoable.”
He chose the home of Al and Beverly, a retired couple who are long-time Plano residents. Beverly has lived in the house for 50 years. It is where she raised her children and when she married Al 25 years ago, he joined her there. “It is conveniently located and more importantly, paid for,” Al stated. “We were going to buy a house together, but decided that two people very close to retirement did not need to acquire a house payment.” Although the two are still active, outdoor home repair projects had become too labor-intensive for the older couple and thus, wear and tear and overgrowth were taking their toll on their home.
So when the City of Plano sent them a letter offering potential assistance through the Love Where You Live campaign by simply submitting a home repair wish list in 2015, they responded promptly and found themselves on a waiting list of potential candidates for a makeover. A year later, Al and Beverly were pleasantly surprised to receive a phone call from Don this past May. They had no idea they were still on the list. As agreed, Don visited their home to inspect the work that needed to be done, making sure the job was doable and would accommodate all the volunteers.
“If you just get the painting done, the rest is icing on the cake,” Beverly informed Don, meaning a fresh coat of paint on the house was all they really wanted.
Yes, the house indeed needed paint, but it also needed new guttering, the replacement of a rotted garage door, a dilapidated shed removed, the fence stained, and some trees pruned and others removed from the yard. The scope of the project would definitely accommodate Don’s target groups, and it was doable—just not in one weekend. Although several of the jobs were not on the wish list, they were desperately needed and Don felt led to deliver. Over the course of five weekends, Don and 36 volunteers from two Chase Oaks LifeGroups, along with several students from Chase Oaks who accounted for half of the volunteers, tackled the projects with relentless hard work. Not only did the volunteers give of their time, they donated $900 toward needed materials. The homeowners were delighted and so very grateful to have received much more than they anticipated.
Taking no credit for the good deed, Don matter-of-factly states, “What I do is for the glory of God.”
For both Don and the homeowners, one youth volunteer in particular stood out from the rest—a ninth grader named Matt Clark. Matt was noted to be a quiet member of the youth group. His interactions were limited and he tended to sit by himself. However, this project revealed his potential and set him into action. He was the only youth who participated three of the five weekends, and he did jobs no one else wanted like pulling weeds between the alley and the fence to prep it for staining a week before the scheduled day of service. Then when the stain ran out on the day of service, he returned the following weekend to finish the job. Since then, he has volunteered to work in the sound booth and interacts weekly with peers and the youth ministry leaders.
So, what does your answer look like? Maybe it is staining a fence. Maybe it is crocheting blankets for patients in the hospital. Maybe it is engaging preschoolers in singing worship songs. Just maybe it is providing an opportunity for someone else to serve. Whatever God has called you to do, do your best—for His glory!