What More Can I Do? — The Unexpected Challenge of Service

Moving to any new community brings with it a new direction and myriad of challenges. Twelve years ago, our family of six found ourselves in that situation moving to the Bryan/College Station area.

It was a challenge but not in the way I expected. Getting the kids settled in new schools, settling into a new job, and establishing new routines made us a part of the college town hustle and bustle, but there was something different about this community the we all felt almost immediately. 

Here in Aggieland, the challenge for me was sensing the strong spirit of service and knowing how to be a part of it. Having three kids of my own still at home and one away at college, I had plenty of opportunities to serve my own family but I just couldn’t get away from a feeling of needing to do more.

The challenges in a town associated with 75,000 college students and everything that comes with that age group are numerous. Traffic, crowded everything on a weekend, loud music, (did I really say that?) etc. But the desire and challenge to serve was different than any I had experienced before. Especially after experiencing the “Big Event”—a time when Aggies are encouraged to go out and serve in the community—I felt an even stronger desire to be a part of service in the community.

I was called to serve in the Young Men’s organization at church and it immediately answered my desire to serve, but I still felt that I could and should do more.

A year later, I was asked to serve as a member of the Stake High Council with responsibilities for planning several Stake activities during the year. I enjoyed that opportunity to serve and especially the satisfaction that came getting to know and associate with others in our religious community. But I still felt that there was more I could do.  

At this time, I was able to feel some affiliation with these words King Mosiah spoke to his people, and they really hit home:  
And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.  
Mosiah 2:17
I did not want to serve for recognition or personal gain, but rather just wanted to be a part of serving the people that I associated with in our community.

I began to realize that what was driving me was what I’m sure others were feeling—a desire to serve God through my service to others. At that time, I began to pray for service opportunities... but be careful what you pray for :). A year later I was called to be bishop of a local student ward, and there were suddenly plenty of opportunities to serve. What a blessing to be associated with the young singles in our church and to share our service with the community time and time again. 

Three and a half years later, I was released as bishop and quickly called as a counselor in the bishopric of my home ward. Again, plenty of opportunities to serve but it was truly a great experience. Seeing people benefit from service either I provided or was involved in was something that brought great joy. 

During that time, I had also been asked to serve on the Board of Directors for the Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce. Service opportunities within the church declined as I was released from the bishopric, but these new opportunities arrived and rekindled my desire for service in the community.

Shortly after I was asked to extend my three-year commitment to the Chamber for three more years by serving as the Chairman of the Board (including one year as Chair-Elect and one year as Past-Chair). While it has been a busy three years, I have never had more opportunities to serve and to realize more fully the great joy comes from serving your fellow man. 

This is truly a unique community and the feeling of service is not only strong but is a great factor in the success of this community. This is a great place to work, live, and raise families. The words of King Benjamin make even more sense in this context. With a large group of people willing to serve, and knowing that as we are “serving our fellow man we are serving our God,” then the potential for success in the community is great—what potential for success there must be in a community that serves God.

Now more than ever I understand King Benjamin’s words. I have spent days in service but, 
"… I have not done these things that I might boast, neither do I tell these things that thereby I might accuse you; but I tell you these things that ye may know that I can answer a clear conscience before God this day… because I said unto you that I had spent my days in your service I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God."
Mosiah 2:15-16
I truly am grateful for the opportunities I have had to serve and the growth that comes from that service. It has been a blessing to me, to my family, and to others I associate with. But I have to follow the direction of King Benjamin here and give most thanks to a God who lends me breath, that I may live and move and do according to my own will. Give thanks to a God who created me and granted me my life, and give thanks to a God who prospers me however undeserving I may be. I am truly indebted to Him for the love he has shown me in helping me realize the desires of my heart and for blessing me with opportunities to serve him by serving my fellow man.

Rich White is currently the General Manager of H-E-B in Bryan, Texas and touts more than 30 years experience in the grocery business. He served an LDS Church mission to Korea and upon his return married his wife, Carolyn. They are parents to four children and grandparents to five. Although he was born and raised in Bountiful, Utah, Texas is now home and has lived in Bryan / College Station for 12 years. 

1 comment

  1. Thanks for the article. Pat and I have lived at about 24 different addresses in our married life and each has been a growth experience for us. College Station is especially enjoyable.