It’s My Turn to Give Back

Aug 1, 2019

Steph Duff

When we say yes to serving others, there is an inevitable ripple effect. We don’t always get to see the ripple effect in action. We serve, love, wait, and trust God to bring fruit, and ultimately glory, to Himself.  Sometimes, He reveals the way one yes flowed right into another, leaving hearts, minds, and even life trajectories changed in its wake. This was one of those moments. 

Judy said yes to a trip to Monterrey, Mexico to serve and love others. She met a shy and quiet 8-year-old with amazing dimples and said yes to sponsorship.

For years, Judy said yes to letters filled with
“I know you can do it!” and
“Keep up the good work!”

She said yes to birthday gifts of Gap skinny jeans and Puma shoes. 

She said yes to several visits, and spent  time playing board games, and a taking a trip to the local arcade. 

She said
“Yes, I see you,”
“Yes, I know you,”
“Yes, I love you.”

When Judy  received a cancer diagnosis, Guillermo said yes to encouraging video messages, yes to extra letters, and yes to prayers. 

Later, when Judy passed away, the ripple effect of her yes kept going. Her family said yes to building the Community Center of Tres Reyes, in Cancun to honor her. Today, the Judy Morand Center of Hope is the cornerstone of the of Tres Reyes and Judy’s husband says yes to the letters full of “I know you can do it!” and “Keep up the good work!”

Guillermo has grown into a young adult of quiet confidence, supported by an army of people who serve and love him. As a result of all the ‘yes’s’ in his life, he said yes to an opportunity to continue his education in the Hope Program and play on the Los Dos Soccer team. When the coach asked “Who wants to go on a mission trip to serve other kids?” Guillermo said yes to a trip to Cancún, Mexico to serve and love others at the Judy Morand Center of Hope. 

He has seen service modeled for him most of his life, quietly watching and wondering why so many people would volunteer their time, energy, and money to serve others. 

He has seen the Hope Program students who have gone before him, influenced by the ripple effect of their yeses to go and serve others. 

He said yes to cleaning the community center as the team prepared for a boys retreat for young men living in vulnerable families. He said yes to preparing meals, playing soccer, and serving a boy who wanted a plate of food that wasn’t spicy,

“He said it would bother his stomach, so I went to the kitchen and got him a plate without salsa.” 

 He knows it matters to say, “yes, I hear you,” because people showed up in his life and taught him he was heard. And as he worked and served at “Judy’s Center,” a new belief began to take root. 

I have something to offer, too. Now the roles have been reversed, and I get why people do it. I understand why people serve other people. It’s my turn to give back.” 

Steph Duff is a writer, daughter, sister, and really loud laugher. By day she lends her voice on behalf of orphaned and vulnerable children with Back2Back Ministries. By night she is readily found with her nose in a book and spending time with her dog, Telulah. At all hours, she can be found consuming copious amounts of coffee. She feels most herself in the heat of India and prefers her mugs big, her books long, and her words intentional.

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