This week, we will be taking a break from our ‘What is Justice?’ theme in favor of an article about service. Many VU students are out working hard serving communities around the U.S. for their spring break service trips, so this week we’ll be hearing from a SALT alumni member about his own service after graduation! Thanks to Andrew Denecke, recent Valpo and SALT alumni, for his thoughts on serving others.

Andrew Denecke, working for Habitat For Humanity

Andrew Denecke, working for Habitat For Humanity

“A few thousand, hand-driven nails will really take their toll on your wrists over the course of a week. Throwing a bunch of extra screws in a sheet of drywall is actually a bad thing. Vinyl flooring planks can differ in color quite extensively throughout a single box. Volunteers have the most interesting life stories. First time homeowners are some of the most hardworking people you’ll ever meet. To put it quite literally, these are just a few of the things I’ve learned so far in my Americorps term at Habitat for Humanity in Milwaukee. I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others in my community – and set aside some savings – before I packed up my life for grad school in Denver; yet the profound learning experience that I have endured in four months has both renewed and redefined my idea of service. Giving of my talents to others in God’s kingdom has been a long-held passion of mine, but I never thought doing so could be a full-time job. My weeks at Habitat seem to drag on forever – nearly 50 hours a week of constant physical labor really messes with your head sometimes. Yet each and every day, I leave with a new skill, a newfound friend, or a new understanding of my calling as a servant of God. Service can be hanging 20 sheets of drywall like a champ, but it can also be as simple as talking to a volunteer, learning about their desire to serve, and encouraging them run the Heavenly race with purpose and pride. One thing remains certain, though: it is not what we do that defines us, but what God has done in love. Keep in step with the spirit – and maybe it doesn’t hurt to build a few homes while you’re at it.”