This I Believe

Natalia - West Palm Beach, Florida
Entered on October 15, 2006

I’ve never been involved in something that took up more of my time and heart than my church. Each year we go on mission trips. Mission trips are volunteer trips, lasting about a week, dedicated to showing God’s love through hard work for needy people. This past summer I went on my first mission trip as a high-schooler to New Orleans, Louisiana. I had no idea what to expect but I was told that we were going to be gutting out houses that were going to be rebuilt in the near future. My mind was racing with images I recalled from the news and magazines about the devastating flood. I sat at the meeting before the trip daydreaming, as the leaders told us that long pants and updated shots were a must.

All I really remember about the night before the trip was the butterflies fluttering all throughout my body. I couldn’t fall asleep but eventually I did and it was time to wake up before I realized that I was even asleep. I arrived at the church at five in the morning and hit the road shortly after. Two days later we reached our destination of New Orleans. The couple in charge of the camp we stayed at greeted us with smiles from ear to ear. They showed us to our rooms and we quickly unpacked, ate dinner and were off to bed. I was so excited to start gutting houses and work hard.

Well, we woke up early and got ready to work only to find out we were NOT going to be working just yet. Instead, we were going to be taking a tour of the city and really get a look at the devastation and where exactly the levy was. It didn’t hit me until that moment where I really was. Six weeks before I was standing where I was, there was water flooded up to six feet. Houses shifted off of the foundation. X’s on the houses indicted the number of dead bodies or animals found in the house. The wind blew at that moment giving me chills. I was so thankful for everything that I had and I was honored to help out these people that were still holding on and were still grateful for things they had.

Going to Louisiana made me look at life through a different perspective. I now realize that I am so blessed to have the things I have. Not the cool little things but the simple things that I don’t give thanks for each day. A place to live, food to eat at night and the opportunity to have an education.