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1994: Sharlene B. Furuto - Service and the Self: Profession, People, and Principle


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1994: Sharlene B. Furuto - Service and the Self: Profession, People, and Principle

S Futuro

Currently the Chairperson for the Social Work Department in the Social Science Division at BYU Hawaii, Dr. Sharlene B.C.L. Furuto is also a board member of the National Association of Social Workers, Hawaii Chapter. In addition she is the chairperson for the Committee on Inquiry with NASW Hawaii and has served in many other capacities, including president and vice-president. In 1990 she was honored by that organization for her leadership in passing the registration of social workers bill to protect vulnerable clients in the Hawaii State legislature. Dr. Furuto also holds membership with the Council on Social Work Education, the Asian American Social Work Educators (former national secretary-treasurer), and the Koolauloa Community Council (former chairperson and vice-chairperson).

Dr. Furuto was born in Honolulu and raised in Makaha, attended the Church College of Hawaii and, like some other local residents, succumbed to the beckoning of the Mainland, and received her bachelors degree from BYU. She then worked with Public Welfare Division and Waimano Training School and Hospital and left the latter to attend the University of Hawaii, from which she received the Masters Degree in Social Work.

After graduation, she worked for a year as a school social worker at Nanaikapono Pre- and Elementary School prior to serving a mission in Brazil. With her eyes open wider to poverty and its inequities, she began working as the coordinator at the Maile Community Services Center. In 1975, Dr. Furuto began teaching social work here, met her husband on campus, whereupon they both began to work on their doctoral degrees. They finished their degrees in 1981 at BYU, the year after she chaired the first state-wide LDS Women's Conference in Hawaii.

Dr. Furuto's research has focused on women and ethnic minorities in the context of social work practice. Her edited book Social Work Practice with Asian Americans was published by Sage in 1992. She has authored or co-authored the following chapters or articles: "Asian Americans in the Future" (in Social Work Practice with Asian Americans); "Family Violence Among Pacific Islanders" (in Handbook for Social Services for Asian and Pacific Islanders);
"The Effects of Affective and Cognitive Treatment on Attitude Change Toward Ethnic Minority Groups" (in the International Journal of Intercultural Relations); and "Analyzing Intervention in Social Welfare" (in Welfare Society). Currently she is working on the chapter, "Social Work with Pacific Islanders." She sits on the International Review Board lot the Journal of Multi-Cultural Social Work and has presented a number of professional papers in the U.S. and abroad from assault to xenophobia in the Asian/Pacific Island/social work context.

Dr. Furuto believes that each person has the responsibility to contribute to the quality of life and to serve others. As such, she has held leadership positions with the Laie and Kahuku High School PTSAs and the American Business Women's Association. She has also sat on the Hawaii Paroling Authority Screening Panel and has served as team parent for a number of community soccer and basketball teams. Currently she is working with Cub Scouts and Hauula Community Association in addition to being a counselor in the Hauula I Ward Relief Society.

The above achievements and activities do not nearly come as close to her as do her wonderful and supportive husband David and their four heartwarming children: Linda, 14 years of age; Matthew, 12; Michael, 10; and Daniel, 8.


INTRODUCTION

President Wade, colleagues and friends, and students from around the world--Aloha. We live in such a busy world, you honor me by your presence. Each one of us takes on various roles--student, employee, friend, church member--that sometimes it is hard for us to fulfill all our responsibilities. Often we lose sight of a role such as service provider, even though many of us may have good intentions. In Kahuku is a 1982 social work graduate of this university who is earnestly engaged in providing voluntary services to community members. This gentleman sits on the Kahuku Village Association Housing Program and addresses the problems of flooding and affordable housing. He testifies at meetings and convenes monthly with his constituents.

This busy gentleman is also a member of the Kahuku Hospital Advisory Board for Home Care, and for 10 years he served as a board member for the Kahuku Credit Union. For these and many other service endeavors, this gentleman received the State of Hawaii Jefferson Award in 1982.

Besides sitting on boards and committees, he also sits in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic. This is my friend Hughbert Clark--he does not make any excuse for not helping other people. In addition, Hughbert has been employed halftime at the Kahuku Elderly Housing as a social worker for the last six years--after volunteering his services the previous six years! In addition, he serves as the first counselor in the Laie North Stake Mission. Hughbert is a service provider.

There is so much need in our world of plenty. As long as there is something left to do, there is a need for people to provide service. Who should provide this service? We should! There is no exception---every single one of us, in some way or another, is now capable of helping others.

Serve for the Love of Heavenly Father and His Children

Dallin Oakes (1984) cited several reasons why people serve, the most worthy one being for the love of God and His children Others encourage us to give the highest forms of service--selfless service (Bradford, 1987) or anonymous service (Monson, 1983), without expecting recognition or compensation (Pinegar, 1991). Others testify that righteous service brings us nearer to Christ, increases our spirituality, and brings others closer to Christ as well (Cuthbert, 1990). Luke 22:27 tells us succinctly and forcefully that, "I {Jesus Christ} am among you as he that serveth."

SOCIAL WORKERS PROVIDE PROFESSIONAL SERVICE

Nikki Mozo

Nikki Mozo, a social work intern, counseling a battered woman.

We can provide formal, professional service or informal, voluntary service. May I describe for you one profession which, like many others, provides a helping hand--social work.

Social work is the profession which seeks to enhance the social functioning of individuals, singly and in small or very large groups such as communities, by activities which focus upon their social relationships within their environment. Social workers seek to: 1) restore impaired capacity (for example, by helping a senior citizen receive medical care benefits); 2) provide individual and social resources (such as by referring a married couple for communications enhancement); and 3) prevent social dysfunction (Skidmore, 1994) (such as by working with the community to prevent drug use by teen-agers).

Faite Niutupuivaha, a social work intern, lobbying over the phone for human service bills in the State legislature. Faite

Social workers provide service to clients on three levels: micro, mezzo, and macro. On the micro level, social workers relate to clients on a one-to-one level. Sometimes the general public view social workers as "counselors" because social workers spend so much time on a micro level counseling individuals, but often the more accurate title is "social worker."

Limu Pili

Limu Pili, a social intern, facilitating a group session at Kahuku Elementary School.

Social workers also work with people on the mezzo level with families or small groups, for example by helping school children understand differences and similarities in one another. Besides working with individuals and small groups, social workers also work on a macro level with very large groups or even on a national level such as lobbying by telephone to ensure federal health care for all people. A growing number of social workers are in private practice, selecting the clientele with whom to work. Social work is also applicable in one's own family relationships besides being a great stepping stone to other professions which deal with people.

Dorothea Lynde Dix

Females have played and continue to play salient roles in the social work profession. Allow me to cite the example of an early American social worker Dorothea Lynde Dix, who was born on April 4, 1802. Her campaign for the mentally disadvantaged began when she visited some of them and saw their deplorable, inhumane living conditions in prison. She is noted for beginning the first prison and mental asylum reforms in the United States and is responsible for establishing 32 mental hospitals in the U.S. and abroad. She was an inspiration in the building of 123 mental institutions before she died. Instead of turning aside and hiding the mentally ill, she successfully converted the nation to a new viewpoint of therapeutic, sympathetic treatment (Anticaglia, 1975).

Before Dorothea Dix crusaded for all these reforms, people commonly believed that the insane were invaded by some evil element of the soul; therefore, treatment for the mentally ill consisted of puncturing skulls to relieve the evil spirits, dunkings, iron cages, clubs, and chains for restraining, starving, purging, and bleeding. Dorothea Dix changed all this by enlightening the minds of the people that inside these insane individuals were human beings. Dorothea Dix became an "angel of mercy" to the outcasts of the world. Soon after volunteering her services, she was the first woman appointed to a federal administrative position in the U. S. Mental health treatment in the area of special needs took an incredible jump forward in this country and abroad due to the vision and tireless efforts of Dorothea Dix (Anticaglia, 1975).

Laura Jane Addams

Another pioneer social worker was Laura Jane Addams, who was born on September 6, 1860. In her lifetime of seventy-four years, she accomplished much in her quest for peace and freedom of women. Her two passionate projects were that of pacifism and social aid. She was a strong, winning organizer who enhanced the lives of the poverty stricken as well as the educated young men and women who worked with her (Linn, 1968).

Jane Addams was able to accomplish lofty missions and have an impact on the lives of thousands by co-founding Hull House and by working with the Women's International League for peace and freedom (Linn, 1968). Hull House began in 1889 when Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Start moved into an old, dilapidated mansion in the middle of a teeming immigrant Chicago neighborhood. This great social welfare experiment was begun in part to solve the problems of an urban and industrial age through the provision of needed social services by educated and intellectually questioning young men and women (Davis, 1969).

Activities at Hull House developed in response to the changing needs of the neighborhood. At various times, Hull House was the center for: a nursery school and kindergarten, countless organized sports, classes ranging from algebra to Dante, the first public playground in Chicago, a dormitory, a dining hall, and the list goes on and on. The service and intellectual opportunities of Hull House transformed the lives of not only residents in the surrounding neighborhoods but also the educated young adults who worked there for a while and then went on to different jobs with a transformed social outlook (Davis, 1969). The impact of these human ripples is still being felt today.

Before Jane Addams died on May 21, 1935, she had written ten books, presented an impressive number of lectures and essays, was honored with fifteen university degrees and the Greek medal of military merit, and in 1931, she was the second American awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She has proven to be a women for all seasons. Problems that she tackled nearly a hundred years ago are still being grappled with today: women, discrimination, child care, youth, the elderly, poverty, the obscenity of war. She will always be "the first citizen" dedicated to humanity (Linn, 1968).

WOMEN PROVIDE SERVICES

Throughout our global history, women have provided significant service. In a few cases we are aware of them, but more often we are not. Women have led countries, commanded troops in battles, kept the family from starving, and organized against war and for pure food, to cite a few examples.

Motherhood

In the midst of this, perhaps the greatest service a woman can provide is on a very personal, seemingly micro or individual scale--motherhood. Women are the stewards of life. According to Johnson (1991):

We are elected to nurture within the flesh of our own being a spirit child of God--surely this is the closest any person can come to godhood while on earth. To feel life moving within the confines of one's own bones is one of the greatest of all earthly joys. To suffer pain and shed blood to give another life is the most noble of all sacrifices. To give a body, the most precious of all gifts, to have a spirit child of God, allowing it to become a soul, is godlike and holy. To teach, train, love, nurture, and protect another soul is the godliest profession on earth. Godhood can be said to be parenthood perfected. Motherhood is for women the best possible preparation for godhood. (p. 84)

Depicted in this frieze on the Hawaii Temple grounds is Laie's own Eliza Nainoa Salm already mothering neighborhood children before her only child Flora Soren Butt was born. Altogether this woman, who served for 17 years as the first Oahu Stake Relief Society President, raised some 20 children. Residents of Hale Nainoa, you are embraced by a warm and nurturing legacy. Long after we are gone, as the former Hawaii Temple President Edward L. Clissold once said, "Eliza Nainoa Salm will still be standing in front of the temple welcoming people" (Flora Soren Butt, personal communication, January 24, 1994).

The family is a mezzo realm where the influence and teachings of a woman are unending. As a family member, a mother can make the home heavenly, the children feel esteemed and worthwhile, and the husband regenerated. Within the family, the mother can promote love, spirituality, and socialization--while enjoying not necessarily certificates and plaques but living trophies which reflect her teachings and examples. What an influence for good we mothers can be for generation upon generation. A great American leader once said, "the cure of crime is not the electric chair but the high chair" (West, 1968, p. 78). Mothers can bequeath to the world children who are productive, obedient, and talented or not. How the woman mothers makes a great difference.

Many women have provided service on a macro level by enhancing the quality of life on the community or national level. Few women are recorded in history, and fewer still are Asian and Pacific Island women. I would like to cite examples of these women and their efforts to improve health and education, restore fair laws and justice, and save human lives, particularly since our student body is made up of women from many ethnic groups.

Lady Murasaki

"Legendary and early historical records point to the important role of women in Japanese society. Chinese chronicles describe powerful queens of Yamatai in western Japan who brought order to the land. During the sixth to the eighth century, one-half of the Japanese rulers were women" (Embree, 1988, p. 224). Then the position of women eroded, and only in the Heian period of the tenth and eleventh centuries did women again become influential.

Lady Murasaki wrote, according to Bowring (1993, p. 129t, "By far the most important prose work of this period, The Tale of Genji," during the Heian period. The preservation of her writings as an author and social commentator allows us to appreciate literature considered by many to be possibly the best in the Japanese language as well as to understand private court life in all its realism and mystique (Embree, 1988).

Murasaki Shikibu was born about AD 978, married at 16 years of age, and became widowed 10 years later. At that time. she entered the service of Empress Akiko and spent nmch time in the Emperor's Palace as a court lady writing The Tale of Genji (Waley, 1955).

The tale begins when an emperor conceives a passion for a woman of unsuitable rank. She bears him a son and is then hounded to death by her rivals. In order to save the boy, the emperor gives him the non-imperial name of Genji. Then the emperor turns his affections to another woman, Fujitsubo, who in turn becomes the desire of the young Genji. There are a succession of affairs, and finally Genji ends up with the young girl Murasaki. He then makes a political blunder and is exiled. When eventually recalled, he rises to great eminence and Murasaki becomes his one constant, but barren, companion. By middle age, he loses his control over his women, Murasaki dies, and Genji goes also. The tale ends on a somber note, stressing the futility of all passion and desire.

As an author and social commentator, Lady Murasaki brought to the forefront issues and concerns previously considered too private for even quiet discussion. Lady Murasaki startled a nation to the complex realities of court life, human conditions, and political intrigue, advancing understanding in these areas by generations. Her voluminous work continues to inspire authors to contribute to literature by exploring the mystical. Lady Murasaki's The Tale of Genji is indisputably one of the world's important books and is one of the greatest gifts of Japan to world culture and global readers.

Queen Salamasina

Approximately 550 years after Lady Murasaki's courageous writings, in 1550, was born Salamasina, the Samoan/Tongan female destined to hold not one or two titles but an unheard of four! When Salamasina was a little girl, she was made Tupu O Samoa or the Supreme Ruler of Samoa and was queen of Upolu, Savai'i, and Tutuila islands. As a young woman, she surrendered her love for the untitled Alapepe and married instead Tapumanaia to preserve peace in Samoa (Hart, 1972).

Queen Salamasina was kind, just, and skillful in leading her country, making great effort and sacrifice to ensure peace for all. During her 40 years reign, there were no wars and people prospered and were happy. Queen Salamasina made great strides as an advocate for women's concerns by encouraging them to make tapa cloth and fine mats. She also believed that the young adults should have the freedom to choose their spouses and encouraged parents to refrain from the norm of arranged marriages. Furthermore, she took on the powerful tulafales or talking chiefs and worked hard to curb their power to forcefully persuade a chief to marry many times, which ultimately resulted in the talking chiefs receiving many fine mats and other wealth (Hart, 1972).

Due to Queen Salamasina's benevolence and leadership, the marriages of her chiefs stabilized, her people enjoyed peace, and the arts fluorished. Were it not for Queen Salamasina, perhaps marriages in Samoa today would still be arranged.

Queen Liliuokalani

In the late 1800's, the inhabitants of another island kingdom also lived under the rule of a queen, one who was always royally greeted by European, Asian, and western countries (Kuykendall, 1976). Unfortunately, during the time of her rule, she not only inherited a huge national debt, but she also found herself and her kingdom undergoing unusually difficult times politically and economically. In spite of her efforts to strengthen the declining political position of the monarchy, the opposition to her ideas to curb the power of businessmen and establish a new constitution grew so strong that it eventually became nearly impossible for her to role effectively (Bailey, 1975).

In January 1893 under threat of mass bloodshed, Queen Liliuokalani had no alternative but to surrender the administration of her Hawaiian Kingdom to a group of businessmen who promptly formed a provisional government. The Queen stepped down under protest, laying the blame for her overthrow on the United States Minister John L. Stevens, who "caused United States troops to be landed at Honolulu and declared that he would support the said provisional government" (Bailey, 1975, p. 355). She was confident, however, that the U.S. government would restore her as Queen of Hawaii. When the U.S. government would not restore the monarchy nor annex the islands, the provisional government reconstituted itself as the Republic of Hawaii, whereupon the next administration in Washington, D.C. annexed Hawaii to the U.S. (Bailey, 1975).

After an abortive uprising by native Hawaiian monarchists against the Republic of Hawaii in 1895, the Queen was arrested and found guilty of having concealed from authorities her knowledge of the rebels' intentions. She was imprisoned at Iolani Palace until 1896 and then lived in Washington Place until her death in 1917 (Bailey, 1975).

Before she died, Queen Liliuokalani established a charitable trust which initially served the animal population in Hawaii. This trust, the Queen Liliuokalani Children's Center, through the years, has served destitute orphans through foster care and adoptions and community development through macro social work practice (MacKenzie, 1991).

Presently, QLCC is one of the largest independent child welfare agencies in the State of Hawaii, with social workers throughout the islands helping to permanently place children in stable homes. The queen's trust makes it possible for approximately 2,000 ethnic Hawaiian children to receive social services annually (Mackenzie, 1991). This same queen, who abdicated the throne for the safety of her people, symbolizes for many the overtaking of an independent nation, the gross violation of human rights, and the need to right the wrongs committed over 100 years ago.

Huria Matenga

While queens were able to effectively serve the people on a macro basis, other women provided assistance on another level. One such woman was Huria Matenga, who was born in 1841 and died 68 years later. While still only a young woman, Huria Matenga of Whakapuaka, Nelson, New Zealand, became a national heroine after assuming a leading part in rescuing the crew of a sinking cargo vessel during a violent storm. On September 3, 1863 the ship the Delaware was caught in fierce gales and took shelter in Whakapuaka Bay but later crashed against the rocks. A crew member tried to swim to shore with a line but was unsuccessful, and then the ship began taking on water. Huria, her husband Hemi, and Hohapata Kahupuku, took to the cold choppy waters and began the difficult swim out about half a mile to the shipwreck (Macdonald, 1991).

The three were powerful swimmers, but the height of the waves meant their progress to and from shore was slow. Eventually, cut and braised by repeatedly being thrown against the rocky coastline, Huria and the two men swam ashore and secured the rope to a large rock. The sailors then began hauling themselves along the line. The continuous rolling motion of the ship and the taut and then slack rope caused many exhausted sailors to fall into the sea, whereupon the three re-entered the water and helped the sailors to shore. For this feat of bravery and courage, all three received cash awards, Hemi and Hohapata received silver watches, and Huria received a gold watch (Macdonald, 1991)-the service of lives saved--the service of being a model for courage, bravery, and valor.

Madame Sun Yat-sen

Soong Ching-ling was an amazing woman whose influence was felt throughout China. Born into a Christian family in 1890 in Shanghai, she was raised in China and received her BA degree from Wesleyan College for Women in Macon, Georgia. Her Christian background and experience living in the United States were fundamental to her beliefs, ideas, and influence on her husband Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the father of modem China (Seagrave, 1985).

Ching-ling Soong

Ching-ling Soong eloped with Sun Yat-sen, and after his death she became the guardian of his political legacy.

Madame Sun Yat-sen devoted her entire life to the independence, liberation, and construction of China. She had a highly developed social consciousness and advocated for the needs of her people by establishing a number of major organizations, one of which was the The China Welfare Institute. Throughout its existence, The China Welfare Institute has transported medical supplies during wartime, supported democracy and liberty, established hospitals and nurseries, and encouraged higher social and health standards. Other projects Madame Sun Yat-sen initiated include after-school care for children of working parents, a children's art theater, and the publication of magazines (Chen, 1988).

As vice president of the Central People's Council, she was able to influence social policies and programs in the 1950's and 1960's regarding women's rights, the poor, health, and education. For her continuous effort in social welfare and in promoting international peace, she was awarded a prestigious international peace prize in 1951 (Spence, 1990). Madame Sun Yat-sen was an effective advocate for the social, health, educational, and medical welfare of millions of people.

Queen Salote

Queen Salote

Queen Salote waving to the cheering London crowds at the Coronation of Queen Victoria.

In 1919 when she was 19 years of age, Princess Salote was crowned the first and only Queen of Tonga. From an early age, she attempted to meet the needs of her people. The first few years of her reign were a period of consolidation after World War I and of development in education and public health. English began to be taught in high schools in addition to Tongan. In all these directions, the Queen herself took the lead.

King George VI wrote to the Queen on the twentieth anniversary of her coronation in October, 1938:

. . . The period of your reign has been one of steady and peaceful progress in the development of your Kingdom. Medical and health services have been extended, roads have been built, educational facilities have increased, and communication between the islands have been improved by the provision of wireless service (Luke, 1954, p. 71).

Queen Salote was described by Sir Harry Luke (1954) as a "practical, hard-working twentieth-century ruler, patient, kindly and wise, who has steered her country triumphantly from the end of the First World War to and through the next one..." p. 83.

In addition to being a beloved, effective ruler, Queen Salote publicly displayed royal Tongan humility in London--a lesson for the world to learn. In the Tongan way, monarchs always ride in open carriages, and no one may draw attention to oneself or make a disturbance in the presence of a higher ranking person. When Queen Salote was in a procession in London for the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the former held to these Tongan values and displayed the epitome of humility by riding in an open carriage. Queen Salote refused to close her carriage top, which she felt would draw attention away from Queen Elizabeth, her superior--and so she sat for miles in her open carriage despite the falling, cold rain (Bain, 1967). The world on that chilly day was warmed by the humble queen who had done so much to enhance the quality of living in the Friendly Islands.

Cory Aquino

In more recent times, a diminutive housewife and mother of five led a people power revolution in 1986 that ended the twenty-year reign of the Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos. With the end of Ferdinand Marcos in power came changes in mass embezzlement, cronyism, fraud, and dishonesty. All this was replaced with the beginning of efforts by Cory Aquino to restore morality, democracy, and justice to the Philippine government for the sake of the people.

Born Maria Corazon Cojuangco on January 25, 1933, Cory Aquino was a homemaker who adhered to traditional values. She left law school to marry Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, who was later imprisoned for over seven years due to his strong opposition to President Marcos before being exiled to the U.S. for medical treatment. When Ninoy returned to the Philippines in 1983 to prepare for the parliamentary election, he was assassinated. At that point, the woman who had stood by his side when all others had forgotten him in jail, the woman who preferred to stay out of the limelight of politics, the woman who only wanted to support her husband and raise her children--after prayer and meditation agreed to run for president. What followed was a confusing scenario of millions of angry Filipinos, Cardinal Sin calling on the people to organize, rolling tanks, people reciting rosaries and giving flowers to Marcos' forces, a rigged election, Enrile and Ramos defecting to Cory Aquino, both candidates Marcos and Aquino claiming victory, Ferdinand Marcos and his followers fleeing, and ultimately an almost bloodless end to twenty years of dictatorship (Crisostomo, 1987).

Cory Aquino's time in office was not an easy one and she did not accomplish all her goals. But she stopped a dictator and she began to turn the political, social, educational, and economic conditions around.

Throughout tile ages these Asian and Pacific Island women, like other women throughout the world, have engaged in service within their homes and beyond.

SERVICE AS PROVIDED BY JESUS CHRIST

According to President J. Ruben Clark, Jr. in 1937:

When the Savior came upon the earth he had two missions; one was to work out the Messiahship, the atonement for the fall, and the fulfilment of the law; the other was the work which he did among his brethren and sisters in the flesh by way of relieving their sufferings {through service} .... He left as a heritage to those who should come after him in his Church the carrying on of those two great things--work for the relief of the ills and the sufferings of humanity {through service}, and the teaching of the spiritual truths which should bring us back into the presence of our Heavenly Father" (p. 22).

Jesus has been referred to by many titles, such as the Good Shepherd, the Great Physician, or the Master Teacher. We could refer to Him also as the Great Social Worker, for during much of His life, especially the years of His ministry, He served the needy and others continuously.

President Kimball (1978) tells us that:

His gifts were of such a nature that the recipient could hardly exchange or return the value. His gifts were rare ones: eyes to the blind, ears to the deaf, and legs to the lame; cleanliness to the unclean, wholeness to the infirm, and breath to the lifeless. His service included opportunity to the downtrodden, freedom to the oppressed, light in the darkness, forgiveness to the repentant, hope to the despairing. He gave of himself, his love, his service, his life. He gave resurrection, salvation, and eternal life. (p. 2)

When Jesus was but 12 years of age, he accompanied His parents to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover It was then that Jesus taught the learned men in the temple truths they had never known. This may be the first recorded exceptional act of service Jesus rendered. For the next eighteen years we know little of Jesus' life, although He may have gone to the temple regularly to observe various sacred occasions. But when He was thirty years old, He went to the Jordan River to be baptized by his cousin John the Baptist to serve as an example to the world.

Jordan River

The Jordan River - where Jesus Christ was baptized.

From His baptism, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where He spent forty days communing with His father and being tempted by the devil. Later Jesus and those who now walked with Him, went to Cana, where they were invited guests at a great wedding feast. It was here that Jesus performed his first miracle, that of turning water into wine. He traveled throughout Galilee, Judea, Samaria, and nearby areas ministering to the people.

In Nain, an isolated community in southern Galilee, He raised from the dead the son of a poor widow. At one time He crossed over the Sea of Galilee, eastward, to be alone with His apostles. However, the multitude, seeing the direction He took, went around the lake and met Him. He talked with them until evening and then fed the hungry 5,000 and walked on water at the Sea of Galilee.

On various occasions He journeyed with His apostles to Jerusalem tot religious observances and to teach in the temple and in the streets of Jerusalem. On one such journey He was returning through Samaria and not only talked with the Samaritan woman at a well that Jacob had dug, but also boosted her feelings of self-worth because a Jew had shared new truths with her.

Peter, James and John accompanied Jesus from Galilee to a high mountain, where His countenance and garments were transfigured as He talked with Moses and Elias about his death which was to occur soon in Jerusalem.

We read, too, that Jesus went westward, to the land of Phoenicia, and there performed a miracle for a faithful woman. He also went beyond the Sea of Galilee, toward Gadara. Near the seashore He empathized with a man who lived among the tombs because he was sorely afflicted with evil spirits. Jesus then cast out those evil spirits, which subsequently entered the bodies of some swine, causing the swine to rush madly down into the sea and drown.

Jesus often visited His friends Lazarus, Martha and Mary, at one time raising Lazarus from the dead. He also spent considerable time in the mountains of Ephraim. Toward the end of His mission He went into Perea, the land beyond Jordan, where he taught the gospel and performed many more miracles and acts of service. It was here that He talked with the rich young ruler and blessed the little children. Near the end of his life in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus suffered "the spiritual agony of soul such as only God was capable of experiencing. A(ny) mortal would have fallen to the relief of unconsciousness" (Talmage, 1972, p. 613). At his crucifixion, Jesus Christ performed the ultimate mortal service--he gave up his life for us. When his body was removed from the cross, it was laid in a borrowed tomb (The New Testament, 1989).

Thus the account of the life of Jesus is largely a rendition of service in the form of miracles performed and teachings shared. To the end of His mission He modeled His injunction to Peter: "Feed my sheep." He did not wait for people to come to Him, but He sought out people on the micro, mezzo, and macro levels.

While most of us do not usually engage in performing miracles or service to the degree and extent that Jesus did, would it be possible instead for us: to feed the hungry by taking a dinner tray to a neighbor? To heal the sick by collecting for an organization that fights a health condition like cancer or heart disease? Or to cast out evil spirits by just remembering that the mentally ill and retarded have feelings also?

Jesus also labored amongst the small groups on a mezzo level when he taught the priests in the temple as well as when he taught and was mentor for his disciples. Should we gather up our strength and accept a calling so that we too can teach truths? Or tell our non-member friends about the gospel? Or be an example to those around us?

On a macro level, Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world, who came into the world so that salvation might come to the children of men and women through faith. He is the Lamb of God who was crucified to atone for the sins of the world. It is this infinite atonement which brings the resurrection of the dead, whereby we have the blessings of immortality and even eternal life. Jesus Christ established his church, called his leaders, and taught them the saving ordinances.

You and I will not have the macro experiences that Jesus Christ did. But perhaps we can instead create macro service experiences and: bring the beginnings of eternal life to investigators by serving a mission; help redeem the dead by doing temple work for our kindred dead; or inspire posterity to hold onto the iron rod by recording our testimonies.

Over and over and over again, Jesus Christ provided a wide variety of service to humanity. Truly, as Bruce R. McConkie (1972) tells us, our Lord's ministry is the perfect example of service. In our own mortal ways, we too have the opportunity to serve and bless the lives of others.

THE COMMON THEME OF TRUE SERVICE

Does Jesus Christ exemplify a theme which social workers and women, in our very best moments, appropriately demonstrate when providing service?

What I would like to think is that the common theme encircling Jesus Christ and many social workers and women at our ideal times, is that we have a love for our Heavenly Father to the extent that we serve our fellow beings. I would like to believe that Jane Addams dedicated her life to Hull House not because reform was fashionable--but because she loved people and wanted them to have basic survival skills in a new country; that Cory Aquino took on the presidency not for fame, status, or recognition--but rather because she loved her people and wanted to lead them out from economic, social, and political ruin; and that Queen Liliuokalani abdicated the throne because she loved her loyalists and wanted to avoid bloodshed.

Maybe these women and social workers, at their best, and Jesus Christ had in their hearts the desire to serve for the right reason--because they loved their God and wanted to serve Him and His people.

SERVICE AND THE FUTURE

Visualize if you would 20 years from now--you are employed in a professional position, your home is quite comfortable, and you are making a contribution to your community and church.

While material goods are considerably easier to purchase than when you were a struggling student, the discomfort in life has now moved from humble finances to values in conflict. Traditional values are challenged to the extreme, with same sex marriage partners raising artificially inseminated children and death dates are being scheduled on a daily basis. Children are growing up confused, adults struggle with their own moral positions, and Satan tempts everyone. In such conditions, there is a more pronounced need to know oneself.

Statistics regarding family violence, crime, and drugs sky rocket (Naisbitt, 1984), forcing the social work profession to grow rapidly in hospitals, businesses, schools, clinics, and prisons. Social service agencies will be stretched to fulfill their missions, making the need for extra workers in the form of volunteers critical. The call to be our brothers and sisters' keeper will be loud and clear. What will your answer be?

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME?

Surely that Jesus Christ dedicated so much of his effort to serving others has major implications for us as his followers. Each of us needs to SERVE! Furthermore, we need to serve for the right reason---charity or the pure love of God and his children.

Examples of service we can provide on the micro level include: teach a neighbor to read, lend a listening ear, smile, share our talents; adopt a grandparent, give respite to a caretaker for the ill, cradle drug-addicted babies in the hospital; live, foster, and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Mezzo level examples of service include.: wash the car for a family in crisis; house-sit for a family off to an emergency; participate on

Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ the Great Service Provider.

Parent-Teacher Association and other community boards; and coach a community soccer team for kids.

Macro level examples of service include participation in issues such as world hunger, indigenous rights, defending ocean life, and renewable energy. Join organizations which address these macro issues and serve by writing letters to decision-makers, fund-raising, publicizing events, or recruiting members.

There is a lot that we can do. There are some things only you, in your unique situation, can do. We each need to search our inner selves and commit to follow the Savior and serve.

England (1988) says:

Near his death, Christ told his apostles that when he comes again he will separate the sheep from the goats, not by our learning or our skills, not even by the doctrines we believe or our spirituality. Here is the only criterion he gives: '...For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:...Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me' (Matthew 25:35 and 40). In other words, 'we will be judged by how well we have served others' needs.' (p. 3).

CONCLUDING REMARKS

I hope that you have heard the words of my heart. We are the most blessed people on the face of the earth. We have the gospel--we have knowledge, truth, and light for eternal joy. We are blessed by many, and we in turn have the opportunity to bless many others. I invite you to keep close to your heart the notable and noble people recalled today and that each one of us, in our own personal way, might serve like Dorothea Dix, Queen Salamasina, or Madame Sun Yat-sen.

Mother Teresa tells us that "Faith in action is love, and love in action is service, and proof of action is peace" (Driver, 1991, p. 25). Let us join our international hands together for world peace. In our shared struggle toward sainthood, may the love for our Heavenly Mother (Ludlow, 1992; Johnson, 1991) and Father enliven us to provide selfless service to others.

Ysamin Heywood

Yasmin Heywood, a social work intern at
The Marine Corps Air Station Family Service Center.


Sharlene B.C.L. Furuto
Box 1970 BYU-Hawai’i
Laie, HI 96762
furutos@byuh.edu

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