We end each week by holding a “closing” on Friday night. Closing is an opportunity for all the volunteers to process through their week – what they learned, what they will bring home, what they struggled with, how they changed – all together with this group that has lived through the same experience with them.
Two weeks ago at closing a teenager talked about how when her parents announced they were coming here to do a week of service rather than going on their normal luxury vacation, she was disappointed. But after being here for a week, she was so glad they came. She said that on a trip like a Disney Cruise there were all these amazing things and yet there are always lots of unhappy kids – crying because they dropped their ice cream cone or didn’t get what they wanted. She summed it up by saying, instead of going on an experience intended to make them happy, they came here to make other kids happy and that she was so glad to have had the opportunity.
This comment struck deep for me. This is why I am here. I dreamed not only of coming to this country, to serve these people I love, but I have longed to be a bridge between two cultures. To help people experience a different culture – a different country and a different way of living. To help people see poverty, but also to experience hope and richness in a way they never have before.
I feel so blessed to be living a life that I have dreamed and hoped and prayed for. God is so faithful.