Our Season of Service

Inspired by some friends of our family, the Marshall family has decided to try a new way of exchanging Christmas gifts in 2012. We hope it will become a wonderful family tradition.
For years, the four Marshall children, their spouses, and their parents exchanged gifts every Christmas, but in 2011, we decided the gift-giving tradition may need a change since we are all so blessed and in need of truly nothing. We decided we needed to find a better way to celebrate the true Christmas spirit.

We suggested that we each perform acts of service in the name of the sibling whose name we were assigned at random. Our service will be kept a secret until Christmas Day.

Our friend drew the names for us and notified each of us privately of the person who should inspire our service. On Christmas Day, we reveal who we were given and how we chose to serve by posting our stories on The Marshall Family Season of Service blog.

We hope this tradition will help us focus on serving our communities and each other during the annual celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

We invite you to come back to our blog on Christmas morning to read this year's service.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

2017 Owen Christmas Service

Ok. Sorry for being late, but better late than never.  This year I have probably watched more YOUTUBE than I should have, but several of the creators I follow got involved with in helping others this year so I joined in to help.  The first was Casey Neistat joined with a friend of his to help out the drought victims in Samolia.  Through YOUTUBE they were able to garner $2.7 million which was then used to buy food and water for the people in need.

Then another creator named Matt Caraker has a couple channels called “Vet Ranch” & “Demolition Ranch”.  Vet Ranch is funded by an organization called the abandoned pet project and they do very costly surgery’s on animals who would not otherwise get any help.  For this cause i purchased a T-shirt in which part of the proceeds goes to the abandoned pet project.

Lastly Demolition Ranch helped out another fellow YOUTUBER whom was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer.  They sold T-shirts who’s proceeds went directly to the family in need.  Below are the pictures of the items.

Monday, December 25, 2017

2017 Craig & Heidi Marshall Family Service

This year we had a number of service opportunities some planned and some fell into our laps. One of the things we did as a family was to participate in a coat drive for refugees. We took the kids a local thrift store and each child picked out a coat that they thought a cold child would like to have. They made some great finds and we came away with some really nice coats to donate to a good cause. Unfortunately I realized after I left that may own kids need new coats aw well. HaHa we will have to save that for another trip.

The next service that fell not fell into our laps this year, literally, was the rescue of a starving cat. The kids found her int he backyard so emaciated you could feel all her bones. We started to feed her and then a few weeks later our rescue once cat became 4 when she brought 3 kittens into the garage. The kids had a great time taking care of them and in the end earned $10 apiece for raising their kittens and now we have a new fuzzy member of our family.

For Heidi's service we decided to spruce up the mothers lounge at church. There is no clock, mirror, or privacy curtain in our lounge. So, we have purchased the items and plan to install them soon. We also donated to the medical fund of our friends brother who was recently diagnosed with colon cancer.

Merry Christmas!  I am grateful for the teachings of Jesus Christ in my life. I am grateful that they guide us to find greater meaning on our life as we serve others an make the world a happier place to live.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Dear Aunt Gina,

I have noticed that you serve in lots of ways all the time. So this year, I decided to do the same; whenever an opportunity came up, I tried to help. So my service included trying to help Elena feel more welcome and included at church. Francis and I have made sure to sit by her and invite her to do things with us outside of church. We even planned a special Harry Potter baking day because we knew she especially loves Harry Potter. She hasn't come yet, but she will! Who could resist butterscotch beer forever?! :) I also helped my mom with her project of collecting cans. I helped her collect them off the road, and all the other sources, and helped make sure they made it to the barn. One last project I participated in was helping Callie with her service to the shelter. I took 3 tags and we went shopping for dogs. These were just a few specific ways I served, but there were lots more little ways I tried to help others. It makes me feel good to serve. Thank you for being such a good example of constant service! Love, Callan

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Dear Heidi, We've talked about teeth quite a bit in the past, so I decided to focus my service this year on keeping some teenagers' teeth safely in their mouths. I made an entire high school basketball team's mouth guards free of charge. Even made them the school colors and put the team mantra inside...since I know how crafty you are, I thought you'd appreciate that extra bit of bling. Merry Christmas! Love, Anthony

Every Can Counts

Dear Daddy, This year, a service opportunity kind of found me. A lady, Amy, in Madison/Mayodan walks the streets every day collecting cans to recycle for money. She uses the money from the cans to help offset the cost of gas, etc as she takes care of her brother while he is battling cancer. She also walks every day because she can, and to keep her body going. Her husband ran her over with his truck, and she has just now begun to be able to walk again. Needless to say, her life hasn't been easy and I found her devotion to helping her brother inspiring. She won't accept any other help except cans, so as a family we began picking them up on the side of the road and anywhere else we saw cans. I enlisted the help of friends and received a whole van full of bagged cans! And mother has been picking them up at Countryside Manor and I have been delivering them to the barn so Karen can take them to Amy. I hope our cans have helped her in some small way. This year I have thought much about the Christmas Spirit and how to keep it all year long. Today it came to me that in order to keep that Spirit, we must be striving to know and be like the Savior every day, not just this Holiday season. Part of being like Him is serving as He did. He loved us and spent His days helping and teaching others. Focusing on service, is such a wonderful way to grow closer to Him and be like Him...and keep that Christmas joy throughout the year.
Merry Christmas! Love, Wendy
sorry but we do not remember who we were doing service in honor of but we did try to get some service done.
 We shopped for two children for the group called Samaritan purse. They collect gifts for operation Christmas child. I also have a few more of the little dresses for Africa. We also adopted two of the residents at Countrside Manor assisted living to bring them a gift for Christmas. We also participated in our ward angel tree. I was also able to help our ward provide service to the next step thrift store that helps abused women with help they need to have a safer way of life. 
 We are both very thankful for the richly blessed life we enjoy. We want to reach out and help others have a happier more joyful life.
Love Mother & Daddy

The homeless man in front of our library (From: Craig To:Scott)

Dear Scott,

There is a poor homeless man who lives in front of our library here in Herndon. We have seen him outside all year round as we have come and gone from activities. Sometimes he sleeps in the covered parking garage, some time he is on a bench, sometimes out front under the overhang. He has never asked for money or food. He just sits and sometimes talks to himself and the wall. Clearly this poor man is truly homeless and truly in need of help.

As a family we talked about what this man's life must be like living on the street with no possessions or family.  We talked about the kind of things that a man like this might need to help him survive the cold winter days and nights. We talked about things that might keep him healthy and make him happier. We talked about why this man might choose to live the way that he does. The kids asked a lot of questions about this man, and I think learned a lot.

After we talked about what he might need we put a bag together containing items that might makes this man's life better. Then as a family we drove to the library to deliver our Christmas gift. We found the man sitting behind a wall under a pile of grocery bags to stay warm. I had never spoken to him before, and realized for the first time that the was probably only a few years younger than me. I wished him a merry Christmas and handed him the gift. That was all I said and he was happy to dive into his present.

Service can remind us that life is not easy or fair. I am grateful for the Savior who blesses us and then encourages us to go and share our blessing with those in need. Many of life's most important lessons would go unlearned without service. I thank God today for sending us his Son to help us learn those lessons and enrich our lives as well as others.

Merry Christmas!