Over the weekend, our bishop called us in and asked us if we'd spend a year doing a "service mission."
This means you live at home, but you spend ten to twelve hours a week volunteering at some specific task. We have friends who teach math at Deseret Industries, work on Welfare Square, teach English as a second language, take positions in inner-city wards that are struggling and so on.
We had a choice and we've decided what we want to do. I'll tell you when it's all official. It's a job I don't think I would ever volunteer for on my own, which brings me around to what I think is one of the positive qualities of organized religion. You belong to a community of people who have similar beliefs and values and you commit yourself wholly to its welfare. Besides teaching and administrative jobs, there is always the casserole for a sick person, or making lunch for a funeral crowd, helping someone move, writing a roadshow or a Christmas program, singing in the choir.
My point is I don't think I would see the need or make much of an effort at service if I didn't belong to a community that valued it so much. There are people I know who seem to have a gift for what is needed in any situation, I am not one of those people. I lump along with my eyes closed with an attitude of "you leave me alone and I'll leave you alone." My community says, "Wake up and do something."
So we're going to do this alien "service project." Stay tuned.