Submitted by 2018 recipients from the perfect PROMise project
"Dear Ladies of 311 Ministries,
We hope this letter finds you all well! We have all missed you, your sweet smiles and kind words. We are all doing ok, scattered all over the place. Most of us are all grown up now, some of us left to college. Some of us are working full-time. Some of us are moms and even two of us have joined the army. Even though we have all decided to do different things, we all stay in touch in one way or another. Most of us knew each other from school, but were never friends. We all became friends, lifelong friends, because of you. We all came together in a big building with a group of ladies that had no reason to care for us but did. We helped each other pick dresses, shoes and earrings, and when we went to prom, we all took pictures together knowing that we had shared that experience. Every year the girls from the previous year present a gift of appreciation. Every year it gets harder for us to decide what to do. We don’t have much money and some of us don’t live here anymore, but everyone wants to be able to help with the gift. This year we thought and thought. What were we going to do? When we were sitting together on our last day of school, our teacher told us that you would like anything even if it didn’t cost money, as long as it was meaningful. So, we started to think about things that were meaningful to us. When we brain stormed, we realized that it wasn’t things that were meaningful, but people and moments. Memories that people gave to us that didn’t cost anything meant more to us than anything. There are two things our teacher always says- “one person can change the world, even if it is just changing the world for one person” and “you can always do more.” So that is what we decided to do as our gift. All of us from last year and beyond decided to change the world for just one person, inspired by a few women who changed a little piece of our world. This would take a lot of time and a lot of effort, everyone would have to do their part. We would have to keep in contact, make arrangements and somebody would have to track what everybody was doing. The goal was that together we would do 311 hour of community service wherever we lived in the name of 311 Ministries. We hoped that by doing these hours and giving to others that we might have a chance to change the world for even just one person. That is how we used the first quote for inspiration. A group message went out and replies came back from almost everyone, even girls in Germany and El Salvador responded. Everyone would be doing their part wherever they lived and reporting it to one of us to keep track of the hours at the end of this, and that is when we would give you this letter. With so many of us working on this project we were able to finish the hours by September. A few of us met together and decided to make you the collage and while we were sitting in our old class room, we thought back to the second quote- we could do more! Another message was sent and everybody mobilized, but this time the goal was 3,000 hours + 11 more. We thought that some people would say no or be too busy with their own lives, but everyone said yes! Again, we started working on our own to get these hours done. We told our teacher that we would not be able to hand over the gift until the hours were done even if that meant giving it to you a year or more later. Yesterday we received a letter from El Salvador, one of the girls had finished the last 20 hours serving at an orphanage for young girls. We completed our task. As we sit here now writing you this letter together it is still surreal to us. None of us ever thought we could accomplish such a thing but together we were able to do it just like together you are able to inspire people. A dress is just a dress to so many people, but to us a dress was a way for us to meet, become friends and change a little bit of someone else’s world.
We will all continue to be in service to others as we have discovered that we like volunteering:
A*** will keep serving at the orphanage.
C**** will keep working as a missionary.
C**** will keep volunteering at elementary schools in Abilene.
A***** will keep going to the homeless shelter.
J****** will keep making meals to deliver to the homeless
And we will always remember that God so loved the world that he helped a bunch of ordinary women do extraordinary things."