Today I'm going religion...
Today in Elders quorum (Mormon priesthood meeting for men during church) we were discussing love as a guiding principle in missionary work. We we asked to share our thoughts on this by the instructor. One young man decided to share an experience that prompted me to write about this experience as soon as I got home so I wouldn't forget it.
This young man is probably around 20 years old. He is African-American and lives in a rough neighborhood here in Cincinnati. In telling about his experience he expressed that much of his time involved activities on the street. He did not expound on what those activities were, it really doesn't matter in this case. His clothes weren't what some people would deem "church appropriate" and he was jobless until recently.
Now enter Ralph Blackwelder Sr. Ralph has been a part of the Cincinnati group of Mormons since forever practically. Every week he goes to the local grocery stores and collects all the expired bakery goods from one of the local grocery chains (Krogers). He then takes these goods and distributes them to families in need every week. For free. Just because he and his wife want to serve their fellow man. They choose to follow the words of Jesus when he said "to life thy neighbor as thy self".
Since Ralph has been in Cincinnati forever, it seem he personally knows nearly every person in the city. Well, Ralph knew this young man that I mentioned since he was young. This young man's mother is a member of our church and both have been baptised years ago. They just haven't been to church in ages. That is until Ralph decided to step in.
The young man today expressed how grateful he was for Ralph Blackwelder Sr., because Ralph keeps him off the streets. He expressed that Ralph has come to his house and got him out of bed and personally chauffeured him to church. He also told us that Ralph was also instrumental in getting him a job a Busken's Bakery (yummy!) which has also helped keep him off the streets. He was so thankful that someone has taken vested interest in his well-being. He says it has been life changing and that he wished that his friends that are still on the streets could take part in all the blessings that have come into his life, because Ralph Blackwelder cares.
What I admire about Ralph Blackwelder Sr. is his sincerity. There are few people that conduct themselves with the integrity, sincerity, and selflessness that he does. Ralph serves regardless of another person's background or persuasion. He simply gives. And when he's done giving, he gives more. He has been a tremendous example to his family and every person that he has come in contact with.
I get so caught up in my own interests many times that I neglect the fact that I could be helping out someone else or my community. I should be doing more of what Ralph does. All of us should.