It started off just going on a trip with my church youth group that included my best friend Jill. I figured going somewhere out of Iowa for nine days wouldn’t be so bad. What I didn’t realize was that these nine days I would end up considering being the best nine days of my life.
I slept pretty much the full two days to Philly. Car rides really make me tired. By the time we got there, we were the only group to be late, a whole two hours late.
So we had to laugh it off and go into the church where we stayed with everyone looking at us. Oh yeah, our group was all girls too. Good for the boys I suppose! Anyways, we ended up making friends with the group from Boston right away.
They actually thought we were all going to be seven feet tall, wearing bib overalls, straw hats, and having cows trail behind us. Now come on, we aren’t all that hick around here! But it was a good laugh and we started to get to know the other three groups. The first two days I was in Philly I really didn’t like it.
I missed home and my boyfriend. We were working in 100 degree heat and sleeping in 90. I felt miserable.
And to add onto that, we could only shower every other day! I wanted to die. By day three, I really started connecting with the girls from Boston. I would talk with them every night until it was lights out.
They ended up being some of the most fun girls I will ever meet! The work started to become less miserable as I realized how good I had it back home. One day I had to hand out food to homeless people. It really hit me that, ‘Wow! I don’t need to come to some random street and go down a line with my beat up shopping cart to get food that I need for myself and family.’ It was really humbling to me.
I was yelled at, sworn at, told ‘I need Jesus.’ It was amazing how they would still be mad because I wouldn’t be able to give them one more apple. That day I met this lady. She was in her 80’s but oh was she full of spirit.
She told me her life story. She was abandoned by her parents by the age of 12 or so. She had grown up in Carolina and then Georgia. By now, she was working for this couple and both were doctors. They let her clean their house, do laundry, that type of work. When their daughter was in a crisis over a college, she came to her for advice. The daughter ended up listening and went on to become a lawyer. When the daughter got married, she was invited to the wedding. When she was telling me this I remember her being so happy on just reminiscing about it all. She believed in God and she had the most faith in Him.
It was really amazing just to talk to her. She told me to go to college and find a good man. The most amazing part about meeting her was that she was probably happier to have met me. Just to have someone to talk to that listened to her story, it was unreal. I told her I would go to college and I would find a good man. She laughed and told me good and that I was a good girl.
After that, Philadelphia really seemed like the City of Brotherly Love. My work experiences just got better each day. I helped to paint a church later on as well. The pastor was so happy! I even got a picture with her. She was so kind. The last day I bawled my eyes out. I didn’t want to leave. I had made amazing friends and I felt like I was really helping out people. Philly doesn’t have the best areas but I felt like I was maybe helping to start helping to make a difference. The trip turned out to be way more than just nine days away from Iowa. It turned into nine days of opening my eyes to a whole different world outside my town of 4,000 back home.
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