“If you ever get the opportunity to go on a mission’s trip, go!” I remember hearing my pastor saying that to our church congregation on a Sunday morning a week into my sophomore year of high school. He was explaining that twenty five teens and ten adults were going to the
The Dream Center is definitely something I will never forget for as long as I live. It’s a nonprofit organization that is specifically designed to help the poor, the hurting, and homeless among the inner cities of Los Angeles. It is a ministry that provides the basic needs along with the spiritual needs in a variety of ways. There are over 150 ministries throughout the Dream Center and my team and I were very lucky to be a part of their team.
The first ministry my team and I got to be a part of was called Adopt A Block. During this ministry we went around a block surrounded by rundown apartment buildings and picked up all the trash, gave food out to families in need, and played with the kids at the play ground while their parents were able to pick up the food.
My job was to play with the kids, it sounds easy right? But there was one girl who I became so attached to it was hard at the end to say bye. She was six years old at the time, when we first met she spoke Spanish to me. Knowing little myself I said “Hola,” back and then she was talking to me in English. She sat down with me and told me about her life, how she has a tiny apartment with her family, not much food, but she was happy because of God in her life.
Another eye opening job I had the opportunity to participate in was giving food to the homeless and talking with them. I was scared to death; I had never talked to a homeless person before because I had never needed too, now I had to have conversations with them. This occurred in a place where over ten blocks were filled with homeless people.
The first man I met was Raymundo, he had been laid off from his job and everything had been taken away from him, even his children. The second man I met was John, he was a successful business man that was laid off, he was so depressed after, he got into drugs, lost everything, and now he is clean and applying for jobs, but his family will not speak to him.
If I hadn’t signed up for this mission’s trip, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to engage in something that would’ve challenged my comfort levels as much as this had. I learned that a little girl can have more faith than a fifteen year old girl, and that even the homeless are normal people like us looking for a little love and compassion. Even if you are intimidated, you can overcome that once you give something new a try. The Dream Center changed me in more ways than I can even explain. It’s given me determination to challenge other people to strive just like I did. I am very grateful for what I was given the change to do.
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