By LAUREN COMSTOC
The bishop of one BYU ward has his hands full. His ward members always want something to do. Fortunately, they have found something to keep them occupied — service.
The BYU 117th ward has had an unusually high number of students volunteer to perform different acts of service.
Each Sunday the ward goes to the Utah State Hospital at 1300 E. Center Street, in Provo, to help and visit the patients.
“We got tons more volunteers than we thought we would,” said Paxton. The ward was going to use a rotating schedule, but everyone wanted to go every Sunday, she said.
The students work at the canteen, play games and talk with the patients.
The canteen is “almost like a 7-11 type place,” said Nicole Norton, 24, a senior from Valencia, Calif. “The patients come there to spend their free time.”
“The lady at the canteen mentioned to me that no religious group wanted to perform the service on Sunday for these people,” Norton said. “When she said that, I just felt something inside. We were an answer to her prayers.”
“I was a little nervous working with (the) patients,” said Dan Nabrotzky, 23, a junior from Nashville, Tenn., majoring in accounting. “But I could see that overall the patients were very nice, very friendly and very gracious.”
“We played games and just talked to them and worked in the canteen and served them food,” Nabrotzky said. “We were just someone to talk to because they don’t get a lot of people to talk to from outside.”
“It was fun to be motivated to do more with your Sunday service,” said Cheri Burnside, 20, a junior from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., majoring in recreational management and youth leadership. “Normally you wouldn’t do that on a Sunday unless you get paid for it but Sunday service is so worth it,” she said.
Jill Francis, 21, a junior from Puerto Rico majoring in elementary education, agreed.
“We are supposed to go twice a month, but I would like to go more because I really enjoy doing it,” she said.
The ward has a service committee to focus on different things that students can do.
Another successful activity the ward sparked was “Kill ’em With Kindness Week.”
“It’s kind of like murder week,” said Cheryl Paxton, 21, a junior from Philadelphia, Pa., majoring in fashion merchandising. “Someone in the ward was given a name of somebody else in the ward and you just go do an act of service for them. You get ‘killed’ with service.”
Acts of service ranged from doing dishes, taking out trash, baking for someone or giving them rides, she said.
“We had incredible feedback,” Paxton said.
The project went so well, it ran for two weeks instead of one, she said.
Last year, the ward donated $1,400 for a family with 9 children and a single mother who was working three jobs, said Randy Kidman, first counselor of the bishopric.
“The ward responded so well in seasonal things, we wanted to get something going throughout the semester. Not just once a year, but every day.”