Over the course of the two previous summers I have found through the places I have traveled to, my passion in life, my dreams, and the person I aspire to be. As I embarked upon my first mission trip with my youth group I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no expectations and no clue what I was doing there. The trip was to Nashville, Tennessee to work with an organization called Nashville Inner City Ministries, who reaches out to inner city youth in a variety of ways. Beginning with a bus ministry in which people who do not have available transportation or live in a housing project can board a bus and go to church, God used an extremely passionate group of people to bless the lives of others, and change mine forever. It was on this adventure that I came to realize that helping people was everything to me and life would not be worth living if I was not helping others. This became even more evident in a second trip this past summer to work with Inner City Ministries once more. On the last day of the trip we always did something rewarding and fun with the youth of the area, which happened to be a homemade water slide on the church grounds. However, these kids did not care that it was just a tarp, some water, and a little soap. All they knew was that an entire mass of people cared enough about them to provide them with a fun and safe activity to participate in on a hot summer afternoon. Their vitality and happiness shone through in every playful splash and uproar of laughter that occurred. No one cared what the other looked like, their skin color, or how they spoke. All that flowed through these people who had the most to be angry and bitter about, was love and happiness. As we re-boarded the bus to take the children home, a special little girl hopped into my lap. This girl had been in the VBS class I helped teach the summer before, and had grown very attached to me over that week. However, she was so young that I had no way of keeping in touch or checking up on her. Then, God planted her into my lap on the last day of the second trip. I asked her if she remembered me and she said, much to my surprise, that she did! She wrapped her arms tight around me and I held her close. As we pulled into her apartment complex, I lifted her head from my shoulder and said, “I will miss you.” She replied quickly, “I will miss you too!” She had a lasting impact on my life and to this day I don’t know what has become of her or where she is. In the rough neighborhood she lived in, I can only hope she is healthy and happy. The social injustices that were rampant throughout the part of town that they lived in and the violence that surrounded their lives was astronomical. However, they still managed to maintain their positive outlook on life, possibly because of the people who came in and out of their lives, even if for just a short time, to show them they cared. Through two trips to a place about 800 miles from home, I now know exactly what I want to do with my life, how I want to do it, and my dreams for the future. I will be a social worker and turn victims into heroes.
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