They live out in the middle of nowhere. Literally, they live halfway between two church districts in Nova Scotia: Bridgewater and Greenwood. David and Vivienne Selig of Springfield, Nova Scotia are usually quite self-sufficient—until an unexpected accident.
David had a fall that resulted in two broken bones in his foot requiring surgery. When his doctor ordered him off his feet for the next six weeks, they were in a conundrum. David had yet to finish processing his six cords of hardwood, which still sat in eight-foot lengths in his front yard, along with three cords of already split poplar and a half cord of apple wood waiting to be put away. While his loving wife was willing to try to tackle the job by herself, she was inexperienced in running chainsaws or wood splitters. A kind neighbor, Steven MacFarlane, was willing to lend a hand to split the wood, but the task was daunting for him to try and do alone. For this family there seemed to be no way they could split and bring to their home all of the firewood they would need to heat their home for the winter.
Planning and Putting into Action Ministering Assistance
When friends and family heard of their situation, they were quick to formulate a plan. Following the example set by early Latter-day Saint pioneers who trekked to Utah by collectively helping one another, these saints from Nova Scotia followed in the same tradition. The words of the hymn “The World Has Need of Willing Men” clearly expresses how they felt about serving: “The Church has need of helping hands, And hearts that know and feel. The work to do is here for you; Put your shoulder to the wheel” (Hymns, no. 252).
Early in the week, on Monday, two ministering brothers brought their chainsaws and started the process by cutting the logs into smaller pieces. After this part of the work was completed, Steve MacFarlane brought over a machine log splitter with his tractor. With the help of some neighbors, preparations were made to be ready for the larger volunteer ministering crew.
On Saturday, October 27th, 2018, sixteen people from both the northern and southern areas of the province descended on the Selig homestead and set to work. With chainsaws, a wood splitter, wheelbarrows, pickups, trailers, and many helping hands, the large pile of logs was quickly changed into usable firewood. Then, it was moved and stacked in the cellar of the Selig home until that was full. The honour of picking up the last log was given to a young missionary by the name of Sister Wood. The remainder was neatly piled and covered with tarps at the back of the house. All was wrapped up in less than two hours.
The group’s elation after splitting all the logs is evident in their faces. Pictured from left to right are: Sister Edwards, Sister Wood [both of the Bridgewater Ward], Elder Olaveson [Kentville Ward], Elder Willoughby [Greenwood Branch], Elder Hatch, Elder Williams [Bridgewater Ward] David Selig, Vivienne Leddicote-Selig, Connie Clark, Michael Tupper and Michelle Tupper [behind], Richard Kinner, Shelley Jones, Alex Kinner [behind], Noah Gallant, Isaac Veinot [behind] and Larry Sproule. Helpers not in photo: Dan Muise, Ron Gee, and Steven MacFarlane.
Serving as Jesus Christ Counselled
While Vivienne is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, such a service as this is not a requirement of the membership but a voluntary offering of assistance. David and Vivienne had not even requested any help. In fact, a large number of the participants were not even known to the Selig family. So why would so many give up their Saturday to do such hard work for someone else without pay?
All of these ministering volunteers were following the example and counsel that Jesus Christ gave to the Apostles at the Lord’s Supper: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35). What happened at the Selig family homestead is simply an example of ministering in its truest form—serving others in a spirit of love.
David and Vivienne Selig can now put their minds at ease as David’s foot heals. This act of love has served not only to warm the Selig home this winter but also to warm the hearts of all who participated in helping them.
During her talk “Ministering as the Savior Does” at the April 2018 general conference, Sister Jean B. Bingham (Relief Society General President) explained:
“No matter our age, when we consider how to minister most effectively, we ask, ‘What does she [or he] need?’ Coupling that question with a sincere desire to serve, we are then led by the Spirit to do what would lift and strengthen the individual” (Ensign, May 2018).
A YouTube video of this service activity can be seen at https://youtu.be/7nkz4GHPtTw