James De Spelder, a 24-year old accountant and recent college graduate from Michigan State University is living with the brothers Lansing during this year. We asked him what prompted him to move in with the Servants of the Word.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I grew up in a Roman Catholic family that was part of a Christian covenant community in Lansing, Michigan.
Why did you decide to move in with the brothers?
I wanted to develop stronger habits of prayer and personal self-discipline, and I desired to delve deeper into my faith through prayer, fasting, and scripture. Most importantly, I wanted to place myself into an environment that would influence and mold me into a more earnest Christian disciple. As a recent college grad setting off into life, I wanted a spiritual bedrock that would anchor the rest of my life.
What has most helped or challenged you during this year?
The Servants of the Word form men. They maintain a peerless environment that thoroughly builds Christian character. The Brothers impart their ideals almost entirely by example. Humility in service isn’t learned by a hearing a lecture—it is practiced by washing dishes after meals or by exercising hospitality to guests. Simple tasks wield transformative power when done well and with a willing heart. I have found myself serving, rising early for prayer, and studying scripture with a zeal I did not think I was capable of.
The little things of life take on a new meaning while living with the Servants of the Word. Dinner and daily conversation revolve around a genuine interest in the lives of household members. The brothers know how to share their lives. Where many see repetition, the brothers find fullness of life.
Choosing to live with the Servants of the Word isn’t a decision made lightly. It requires a heart eager for a return to simplicity and one seeking an eternal perspective on an earthly life. The brotherhood life is full. Peaceful. Life-giving.
It is said that you become the people you surround yourself with—if I can retain even a fraction of the qualities of the brothers I lived with, I would be more than content.
– James, March 2015