SOS: Rachel and Debbie Waldorf
Stories of Service: Rachel and Debbie Waldorf
A story of service by Children’s Minister, Cara Coen-Pesch
Mother and daughter service team: Rachel and Debbie Waldorf maintained our Sunday morning activity bags over the course of Rachel’s junior and senior high school years. A time when youth and their parents could drift apart, these two find that living out their faith brings them closer together.
Rachel Waldorf, a freshman at the University of MN, Duluth and her mother, Debbie, enter my office and allow me to ask them a few probing questions about the five years that they served together to maintain and enrich our Rainbow bags – those little hand-made fabric bags found in the narthex that serve to engage our youngest children during worship. They smile and listen intently, responding with an obvious ease at being together at Westwood, sharing their faith across the years and generations. They graciously responded to four questions:
Q: How has serving in this way had an impact on your life?
A: Rachel was in about 8th grade when she and her mom took on the responsibility of caring for the Rainbow Bags. Rachel describes this as a time when kids can become more distant from their parents. Mother Debbie chimes in to say that the activities increase for middle schoolers and that sometimes we as parents need to find new ways to connect with our kids. Her goal was to help Rachel develop into a well-rounded child who participated in school, church and activities – some time in each of these endeavors. She felt called to use her talents in sewing and she knew that someday her little girl would move away and she wouldn’t have the opportunity to work on a long-term service project with her. Nobody knew it last for 5 years!
Q: How is your faith involved?
A: Rachel had learned some sewing skills in the Girl Scouts and Debbie had learned to sew from her mother and this seemed like a way to pass on the skill of sewing in a meaningful way. Sewing seems to be becoming a lost art. Rachel thought it was fun. She was already serving as an acolyte and usher and just thought this would be a way to help out. She was not earning service points through the confirmation program, rather, just helping. Debbie chimes in…”God gives us talents. When we use them, things get done. Doesn’t have to be a big, huge thing. Little things. “
Q: How is God at work?
A: Debbie refers to the Hebrew for spirit, ‘ruah’*. The wind of the Holy Spirit works through you and a relationship is built. Who knew it would last for five years!?
*In its primary sense, ruah means breath, air, wind. Jesus indeed uses the sensory image of the wind to suggest to Nicodemus the transcendent newness of him who is personally God’s breath, the divine Spirit.