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.

Monday, December 24, 2012


Dear Haylee,

I began thinking of what I should do for my service earlier this year. In May of this year I was assigned to a new client and began traveling downtown every day. Needless to say I was not pleased with a daily commute of more than 3 hours. I felt like I was wasting hours of my life each day. So, during my long commute I began trying to think of ways that I could try and make my time downtown more meaningful. One day I was eating lunch in a park near my office downtown and took notice of the more than 15 homeless people sitting in the park around me. I decided to start small, and began on that day by taking half of my lunch and giving it to an old woman in the park. This went on for several days, I would save half of my lunch and give it to a different homeless person each day.

One day I was listening to general conference on the way to work and took note of the church's statistical auditing report. It made me think about how organized the church is in their own efforts to perform service. Up to this point my service had been inconsistent and I determined to be more effective in my service. So, I decided to set a small amount of money aside each month to be used as a family personal service fund. Instead of giving the homeless half of my lunch, as a family we administered  the service fund during FHE and I began purchasing water bottles and granola bars to give to the homeless downtown. I was able to provide relief to many more people than I was able to before. This service continued until I was reassigned and did not have a need to go downtown everyday.

Also, a few weeks ago our stake was asked to travel to NY to provide service to people who's homes had been damaged by hurricane Sandy.  I traveled with a group of over 500 saints to NY city to help clean and demolish damaged homes. The home that I was assigned to help at belonged to a fireman who responded to the twin towers on 9/11. The entire block where his home was located had been burnt to the ground because of a gas fire after the hurricane. Needless to say his family was devastated by the loss. We helped to clean the burnt material from his lot and demolish the first floor of his home so that he would be able to rebuild on his foundation.

Through the year I was able to feel the joy of service, see the hope it brought to those who had been struck by tragedy, and the smile brought to the faces of the hungry.

-Merry Christmas-

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