As the African sun ascends over the rooftops of
My family’s summer vacation last year was not the typical lay-on-the-beach-and-soak-up-the-sun holiday. Last summer, we decided to sacrifice our tanning time to pour into the lives of others. We traveled 8,879 miles for the sole purpose of changing babies’ diapers and reading children stories. Crazy? Not one bit. The children we longed so much to care for and dispense our love into were orphans, the majority of whom had lost their parents to AIDS and possibly had the virus themselves.
For almost all of my life, I have aspired to be a nurse missionary. I still remember listening intently to bedtime stories of brave missionaries serving loyally in exotic places. For many, the passion that they once had for the first thing they ever wanted to be when they grew up, such as an astronaut or president of the
For this reason, I was especially excited about my family’s expedition to
I became very attached to every child I met in the orphanage, enjoying thoroughly all the opportunities I had to read stories, push swings, play games, and feed toddlers. At the end of our visit, numerous children pleaded that I take them home with me. If only I could have. The final day of our volunteer voyage to
When people ask me about my favorite summer vacation, I have to say that my favorite summer vacation was not a summer vacation at all. It was a life-altering experience—a week of incredible personal growth and an opportunity to impact others’ lives profoundly. It taught me to appreciate life’s blessings and confirmed my calling. My African adventure was more than just a summer vacation. It was one of the most meaningful and pivotal experiences of my life.
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