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.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Dear Scott and Heidi, Our service this year has been all about trash. You may not notice when you drive down our road, but it's basically a dumping ground. For years, Aunt Mary walked up the road every day; and every day as she walked, she would pick up trash. Time has marched on however and Aunt Mary no longer walks up the road, and the trash has piled up. Anthony and I decided to follow in Aunt Mary's footsteps (literally :) and clean as we walked. There is still much to clean, but I hope we've done at least a small part in beautifying our community. Love, Anthony and Wendy

Merry Christmas Callan and Daddy

This year our family participated in a regional drive for coats and blankets to be sent to Syrian refugees who have been forced to flee their homes. As a family we went to thrift stores to buy used coats and blankets. We bought 5 coats and made 5 blankets. It was a really great experience to get the kids involved. We also learned a lot about the awesome power that the Savior is able to wield when working though this kingdom on earth. Our Stake acted as a central coordination and collection point for the drive this year. Our stake was able to collect more that 4100 boxes of supplies to be sent to refugees in Turkey. This came to approximately 124,000 pounds of coats and blankets to be sent. It is amazing how the Lord is able to leverage only 1 of the 3,174 stakes of his church to make a such a large difference in a problem that affects over 2 million people. A single person or family could not hope to solve a problem like this alone, but the lord and his church can multiple our efforts to do good in the world.

Merry Christmas, Heidi!

This year, Kylie really wanted to participate in the service exchange and she really came through!  At Girls Camp, the girls began a service project of loom knitting baby hats for local hospitals.  She loved doing this and continued doing it even after she came home from camp.  She spent her own money to buy a loom and yarn and in her spare time, she has been looming.  They are adorable and she can't wait to donate them!

Dear Craig & Anthony
 I know it may not seem like a true service project but Terry and I heard reports of the persecution of the Christians in Syria, their homes and businesses being marked with the sign of the Nazarene. We felt a desire to offer any support we could to help them escape certain death because of their testimonies of Jesus Christ. We heard about Glenn Beck organizing a rescue team to bring them to safety and joined with his effort in your behalf. They have already brought their first group out to safety.
  We also spent countless hours in service to Mother in helping her recover from her illness and adjust to her new lifestyle. We have also enjoyed visiting with the other residents at the living center, they all love having any attention offered, some are very lonely.
 We enjoyed knowing that we could offer our time, as we know you would.

Love Mother & Dad
Love Linda & Terry ( Mom & Dad)   

Dear Linda,

Ever since our family started this new service tradition, I thought a fun service "project" would be to perform random acts of kindness and service all year long. In the past few years, it just never felt like the right situation though. But this year since I had you, I thought it was the perfect opportunity for a year of serving wherever and whenever I saw an opportunity. You are so selfless with your time and energy and so often. I love that about you.
I don't have pictures of most of the year's service, but do have a few (and apparently Blogger is not interested in letting me add them). One place I used my time and talents was helping to sew sanitary kits for the Beauty for Ashes organization along with many others from our Relief Society. I also did some of the fun ideas I found a random act of kindness list I read years ago (but can't remember where from). Some of those were to add cash to a Redbox movie before returning it and saying yes to some of the many times I was asked to donate $1 to *fill in the blank organization* (lots of times to Make a Wish) at the check-out register. I looked for opportunities to lift others spirits throughout the year with meals, treats, a smile or encouraging note and as a personal goal, sought to be more explicitly grateful to others through thank you notes, letters and verbal compliments.
It's been a fun year looking for opportunities to serve more often and become more selfless myself. I think I still have much to improve upon though!


Dear Wendy

       This year as I contemplated what I could do for you I finally decided to Volunteer my time at Horsepower Therapeutic Riding Center.  I was able to volunteer once a week for a good portion of the year.  During this time I was able to be trained as both a side walker and horse leader.  The smiles of the students I was able to work with was amazing.  I was also able to re-kindle my inner love for horses.  Thank you for your love of animals.

Merry Christmas, Owen!

Each year I feel like life is getting busier and busier.  Time is flying by and I can’t believe another year is coming to an end.  I have thought many times that I should do something or other as a service project in your honor, but they all fell through for one reason of another.  I feel my service this year is less personal and somewhat of a copout regarding what this service blog is supposed to be.  However, my service does represent a very large portion of my time that has been dedicated performing real service.   I would like to dedicate my time as Bishop to you this year.  I have performed funerals, weddings, marriage counseling, and pornography counseling.  I have overseen welfare administration and subsequent service opportunities.   I have walked many through the repentance process.  I have interviewed many for baptism, Priesthood, Temple recommends, missions, and CES school application.  I have issued callings and releases.  I have interviewed all 50 of my youth at least annually encouraging fulfillment of duty to God and Personal Progress requirements.  I have fasted and prayed.  I have attended and conducted numerous meetings.  I have taught classes and spoken in Sacrament and other meetings.  I have organized service projects and visits to Elderly and homebound individuals.  I have trained and loved many within my sphere of influence.  I have served side by side with and counseled with the full time missionaries.  I have comforted and counseled the sick and afflicted.  I have administered Priesthood blessings of counsel, comfort, and guidance.  I have set apart many.  I have helped with moves and other hands on service projects.  I have met with hundreds of members of my ward for tithing settlement.  I have sought out the poor, afflicted, and less active.  I have gone to their homes to provide direct support.   I have collected and distributed hundreds of dollars in gift cards for those in need to have Christmas gifts.  I have learned more about Christ like love and selfless service.

Merry Christmas, Haylee!

This year, some of our families endeavored to memorize The Living Christ.  Our family did it with a goal of finishing in 12 weeks.  While it took a little longer than expected because of a few summertime hiccups, we did complete it and it was a wonderful experience for us.  Family prayers became more meaningful because the children gave more thought to Him in whose name they were praying. The Spirit filled our home. Family Home Evening lessons were taught on the things we were learning.  Our children learned more deeply who we actually believe Jesus Christ to be and the role He plays in our lives.  We felt like Nephi when he wrote, 'We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ' (2 Nephi 25:26). Our home became a place of greater peace.

Haylee's family also completed this Living Christ challenge.  One day, we were talking together and I asked if she had any intentions of memorizing The Family: A Proclamation to the World.  We both want to make a goal of memorizing it in 2016 and so as my service, I have created (haven't finished, but almost!) printables and flashcards to help our families memorize this uber important document.  Upon finishing this project, I also plan on making it available for free to the public.  I know that this will prove to be a very valuable service investment!  Merry Christmas, Haylee!