In Matthew 28:19, Jesus says to go share the gospel with all the nations. While you may be called to international missions, following Jesus’ command could mean living out the gospel right here in your own community. Here are some ways you can be a light in Austin:
1. Visit with Senior Citizens
Many residents in nursing homes don’t get visitors, making it the perfect place to go. While they love just seeing a smiling face, consider taking some cards with you and passing them out as you greet the residents. The card will serve as a reminder that you cared enough to come visit them. Or if you’re an animal lover, volunteer with Therapy Pet Pals of Texas, which uses therapy dogs to improve the quality of life of residents in assisted living facilities.
2. Cook or Clean at Your Local Homeless Shelter
Many homeless shelters rely on volunteers to keep them running; this may involve serving food or helping to clean the facility. Other times, homeless shelter clients could just use a listening ear. In Austin, consider volunteering with the Trinity Center on E. 7th Street which serves the downtown homeless population.
3. Volunteer at a Nearby Hospital
Most hospitals cannot get enough volunteers. Even if you do not have the time to volunteer regularly, go to the hospital and take a look around. Spend a few minutes in almost any waiting room and you will find people that need someone to pray with them. If you want to take something with you, then consider a pocket full of change because many anxious families are living out of vending machines.
4. Mentor or Serve as a Teacher Aide
Spend some time listening to a child read through a mentoring program or become an aide to a teacher who could use an extra hand around the classroom. Even if you can’t overtly share your faith in a public school setting, by demonstrating care and compassion, you can be a light in the local community.
5. Help the Incarcerated
There are several prison ministries in the Austin area that serve the capital city’s incarcerated population. One of these is Kairos of Texas, which strives to share the love of Christ with prisoners in hopes that it will transform lives.
6. Serve at Senior Citizen Centers
Senior citizen activity centers are a place for the community’s elderly population to gather, eat, and even play games together. There are several programs that rely on the help of volunteers to coordinate meals and activities. Usually you will find a great game of Dominoes or Bingo going on, so join in the fun.
7. Give the Homebound a Hand
The homebound often receive very few visitors, but could often use an extra hand around the house. If you are the handy type, consider volunteering with Drive a Senior, which helps Austin-area elderly with home maintenance needs like light yard work and simple things, like changing smoke alarm batteries. Through this organization, you can also volunteer to drive seniors to medical appointments or to the grocery store on a regular basis.
8. Buy Someone Groceries
Walk through the aisles at your local grocery store, and you will find people sweating over having enough money to pay for even the necessities. Wait and the Lord may show you someone to bless by stepping in front of them in line and paying for their groceries.
9. Say Hello to Your Neighbors
Many people don’t take the time to get to know their neighbors. The next time your neighbors are outside, stop and introduce yourself and ask them what you can do to help them. You can even invite them over for dinner or bake them treats occasionally.
10. Be a Light in Your Workplace
Living out the gospel in your workplace can be one of the most challenging things we are called to do. Instead of going to work with a rotten attitude, try showing the spirit of love to your co-workers. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference a change of attitude can make in your office.