During the summer of 2007, I attended a youth conference at the University of Southern Mississippi, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The theme of the conference was “Extreme Makeover: Heart Edition.” Along with my youth group, there were approximately two thousand teenagers who attended the conference. Throughout the trip, everyone received the opportunity to travel to Pearlington, Mississippi, Gulfport, Mississippi, and New Orleans, Louisiana.
Each attendee went to these locations to help victims of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina. Various duties included painting houses, rebuilding houses, cleaning up debris, and evangelizing to Mississippi and Louisiana residents. My youth group and I were given the chance to repaint the house of a single mother in Pearlington, Mississippi. I really enjoyed it, and it opened my eyes, showing me that I love to help people. The homeowner was very friendly, and just seeing her eyes light up with joy was amazing. The saying “Time flies when you’re having fun” is definitely true. The trip quickly ended, filling everybody’s hearts with sadness.
I do not regret spending the time, money, and energy on this trip whatsoever. This wonderful experience taught me many valuable lessons, and definitely changed me as a person as well. Everything I gained broadened my outlook of the world. I see myself as a less selfish person, and volunteer my efforts more and more to help other people. The trip also showed me how lucky we are, and that everything we have is truly a blessing. I allowed this experience to change me, and I have to say that I am very proud of the character I have become. I cherish every memory from this trip in my heart, allowing everything to be applied in my everyday life. I hope I can relive this experience when my youth group and I travel to Thailand next summer, pouring our hearts into many others. Until next summer, the only thing I can do is to envision “Extreme Makeover: Heart Edition” all around the world.
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