Perhaps the greatest lesson Valley Christian School senior David Gilmartin learned about service came when he felt like he wasn’t helping anybody.
Gilmartin had flown to Kenya and India in January with his father and two church pastors, who were doing mission work connecting with and teaching local pastors in the areas they visited. Gilmartin was not in a position to preach, so other than carrying bags, he had very little to do.
“At first I was like really bummed because I was like, ‘I’m not doing anything here,’ ” he said. “But after a while God opened my eyes and I saw that service is more than just working, more than just doing manual labor for people. It’s also just being there for them, loving on them, being there in the hard times, encouraging them, just doing life with them.”
That doesn’t mean Gilmartin doesn’t like to do some heavy lifting for others. Less than a year ago, serving others meant taking a sledgehammer to a church basement in Romania that he and other members of Spokane’s First Assembly of God were razing for remodel.
“We got to destroy stuff in the name of Jesus,” he said. “It was awesome.”
Throughout his high school years, Gilmartin’s desire to serve has extended from overseas ministry efforts to the streets surrounding his Dishman Hills neighborhood, where he cleans up trash and assists neighbors with projects as part of a community task force.
Service runs in his family – four out of the six Gilmartin kids went on mission trips abroad during their childhood, his mother, Cindy, said. But as the youngest in his family, David Gilmartin has taken philanthropy a step further, a fact that both he and his mother attribute in part to his experience at Valley Christian School in Spokane Valley.
“They’ve been very supportive,” Cindy Gilmartin said. “They will speak into his life, and he’s listened to them.”
As many of his classmates head off to college, David Gilmartin said his ministry and service work is far from over. Although he said he’s not sure what he will do after he graduates, he likes the idea of interning with his church and working part time before pursuing higher education.
Gilmartin said he’s excited for the beginning of his life after spending 13 years as a Valley Christian student.
“I don’t honestly know what I’m doing with my life yet, which is kind of scary because I’m about to graduate and I have no idea what I’m doing. … But I know that wherever I end up going, I’m just going to follow God, look, see what needs to be done and do it.”
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