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To learn more, visit Bose.com. And we return to our American stories. And all show long, we're celebrating Christmas. Between shopping, making wish lists, and putting gifts under trees, it's easy to get distracted with all the business and forget why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.
Up next is Ashley Freeman. Ashley lives in our town of Oxford, Mississippi, where we broadcast, and it's about an hour south of Memphis, Tennessee. She's here to share with us the importance of putting our wants aside and serving others during the Christmas season. This past summer, I went to Africa and to Belize on a mission trip. We went out in the villages and did service work for people in need. We did a lot of physical labor around the base camp and for churches out in remote villages. We went out every day and worked with moms that had had babies, elderly people, and one day we went out and just cleaned someone's house. It took us all of 30 minutes, you know, but they were just so appreciative to see the appreciation that these people have. How one little act of service or kindness can change someone's life.
Oh man, it'll just change your heart. It's almost like that's the way the world should be over there. So I came back to the States thinking, okay, I'm just going to try to implement that in my everyday life. I know it feels so good to go over and do mission work in Africa or Belize, but how can we bring that work here?
Because there is a need. And so that just got my wheels turning. I started thinking, okay, I'm nobody really, you know, I'm just one little person on this earth, but I'm going to try to use what I learned over there to make a difference here. And so I was contacted about a lady in need that had escaped an abusive marriage.
They left with nothing, not a vehicle, not clothes, nothing. We just wanted to make her Christmas a little brighter. It was actually my, one of my friends ideas, but when she mentioned it to me, I was like, this is done and done. And so I'm not scared to put anything on Facebook, especially when it comes to helping others. And so I threw it up on Facebook. I think my posts went a little something like Oxford friends help. I have a friend in need of anything Christmas, you know, anything that you have that you may not be using. There's a person in need and we want to help them within a few minutes. Goodness gracious.
My friend said, do you think you should take it off? Because like the donations are just coming in left to right. I had people in other States been mowing me donations. There was a lady who I barely know. We met one time at the beach years ago.
I've only known her through Facebook except for meeting her over a decade ago. And she reached out and said, I want to help. And we had more than we could have ever imagined. We went over, be bopped up in her house with some lunch and surprised her. And did a tree, decorated it, decorated her house and sprinkled Christmas all over her house. It was, you know, one of those moments that you'll never forget.
Just tears and tears and tears of joy. And it changed her life and it changed ours, too. It just came together so beautifully, you know, in this community, stepped up like they always do. So it didn't start with me, but I definitely got behind it.
And because of that, my eyes have really been opened. There are families and children that desperately need just love to know that they're not alone, that people do care, that this community is willing to step up in times of need. I have so many donations that came in that I just thought, I'm going to post something asking this community if they know of anyone in need, shut ins or elderly people, single moms or single dads, anybody that could use a pick me up. And I got a handful of responses.
People messaged me. We know of another family in need, the two children, their twins and their special needs. And so with the extra donations, we are going to surprise the kids with Christmas.
So it's like a domino effect, you know, like once you open the door for change and happiness, good things just continue to happen. For me, I'm a single mom, so around the holidays, it gets a little quiet and lonely. And so I had heard about this elderly man who's 90. He lives by himself.
His wife recently passed and I just couldn't even imagine him sitting in his house alone, quiet. And so I thought, well, I'm just going to take this man some cookies and just say Merry Christmas and just do for him the way others have done for me in the past. I had Lucy in 2009. She's now 12. And so every year since Lucy's been little, I've tried to take the focus off of the gift giving and just how can we provide a smile to someone?
One year, she and a friend made little cards and just wrote a Bible verse where Jesus loves you. And they stuck them in envelopes and just colored and made them really keep. And I was actually getting my nails done. And so they walked around the parking lot, putting the envelopes on people's cars. And then they snuck back into the nail shop to watch people's reaction when they came out to the cars.
And I'll never forget this one man. Oh, man, he looked really grumpy. And he and his wife got in the truck and he realized there was something on his windshield. So he rolled his eyes and he got out and got the envelope out and he opened it. And his face lit up and he punched his wife with his elbow.
You could just see everything going down. And they both just sat in the truck with the biggest smiles on their face giggling. And I was like, that is what it's all about. That's the kind of experience that I want her to have. So every year we've tried to do something because I want her to have a heart for other people. And so hopefully these little things, these little acts of kindness that we do together will help her.
And hopefully when she has children, she'll do the same. It's a big domino effect, you know, just from Lucy and I doing little things maybe someone else will do for others. You know, maybe that man decided to go out and do something for someone else because he looked really grumpy. But gosh, I'll never forget the joy that was in his face after he opened that envelope.
And just to see Lucy and her friend, they loved watching people's responses. That is what it's all about. Just taking the focus off of us and gifts, you know, it's about what we can do for others. And there's always a need for giving and donations, service work. There's so many other opportunities that have been presented to me. So I've got a little something up my sleeve for some other people that are in need.
This just continues to grow. And a lot of times you just get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of Christmastime. And so I wanted to not focus on myself just because I knew from my experience in Africa how it could affect someone else's life in the most amazing way. I'm going to go on, hopefully, lots of other mission trips. But I know now that it's not a necessity to go do good deeds in another country.
Those deeds can be found here. This community blows me away by their generosity. They're willing to do amazing things and to go above and beyond for somebody. And if you think you can't make a difference, you're wrong. One little old me can make such a difference and be a blessing to anyone or help anyone. And that's what Christmas is about. And a great job on the production by Madison.
And a special thanks to Ashley Freeman for telling her story and sharing it with us. By the way, so many Americans do mission work all over the world. Our capacity for generosity is unrivaled. Four hundred and fifty billion a year we give away.
And nine billion hours. No other country or series of countries matches that. And it's what makes us great, really. It's our love, our capacity to love, our generosity, and our capacity to serve. And it's not a widely enough reported story about our great people. And that's why we tell them here on Our American Stories. If you think you can't make a difference, you're wrong, said Ashley. The story of Ashley Freeman, the story of so many generous Americans and towns rallying for the people around them who need love and who need to know we care.
This is Our American Stories. When the world gets in the way of your music, try the new Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2. Next-gen earbuds uniquely tuned to the shape of your ears. They use exclusive Bose technology that personalizes the audio performance to fit you, delivering the world's best noise cancellation and powerfully immersive sound so you can hear and feel every detail of the music you love. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, sound shape to you.
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Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-22 04:42:23 / 2022-12-22 04:47:34 / 5