Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Great Read for Teens on a Mission: The Heart is Not a Size

As Glen Ellyn teens prepare for their summer volunteer projects, including the big Team Readathon this weekend, we thought we'd share a reading recommendation. A good book doesn't just distract and entertain, a really good book can also inspire. So whether your teen volunteer work takes you near or far, we think you'll be both entertained and inspired by this book, The Heart is Not a Size by Beth Kephart.

Beth Kephart has written a guest post for The Bookstore's blog. Enjoy her insight, advice and perspective as a person who has been on church missions herself:

"There's something about getting up and out of the house and into the world of others that can change the shape of a life, and even the shape of a heart. I've always been happiest when plunged into a classroom of aspiring writers or polishing the pews in my church, or photographing young dancers in their first real performance on a stage, or helping a neighbor plant a garden.

I was enormously happy, too, when I joined my husband, son, and several others from my church on a mission trip to Juarez, Mexico, in the summer of 2005. We were there to help build a community bathroom in a squatter's village. We were also there to get to know the children and families who live without running water and in terrible poverty. I don't think I slept more than a half hour that entire week. I hardly ate, and the dust and heat were overwhelming. But my heart was so full of the people I met and the stories that they told that I felt just slightly empty when I returned home. I wanted the chance to do more.

There's an alivedness that erupts from those experiences, a goodness that settles in, a greater perspective about the world, and a deeper knowledge about yourself. And there's need everywhere - a chance to do good without ever stepping onto a plane or even leaving your own neighborhood. You can bring a meal or two to those homebound by age or illness. You can help teach someone new to this country how to read, or you can organize a fundraiser on behalf of a family in need, or you can make arrangements to have your choir sing at a retirement home. Whatever you do, it will make a difference - to those you serve, and to yourself.

I encourage you to check out these web sites, for inspiration:

-Beth Kephart

Stop in TheBookstore for your copy of The Heart is Not a Size. It would make a great Readathon book this weekend!

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