I believe we are all part of a larger family. God’s family. Rather we know each other or not, we must love each other.
About a year ago, in October of 2006, planning began at my church for 3 youth trips. The first was to St. Louis, Missouri. The second was to Grand Junction, Colorado. The third trip was to Booneville, Mississippi.
My family was asked to go on the Booneville trip.
The group was renting three vehicles. The caravan was to leave March 24th and arrive in Booneville on the 26th. The first three days would be spent building the new community center. Thursday we would be spent driving to and relaxing in Dallas. Saturday began the long haul home to Denver.
One week before departure, the coordinator of the trip, Jim, called a meeting to finalize the details with everyone.
That’s when the wheels started coming off.
Angie lives in Booneville and was the contact Jim had been working with to plan the trip. Angie had informed Jim, we didn’t need to build the community center. It was done! We were just painting.
Then, only two miles outside of Booneville, at 11:20 pm, Angie calls to say, there’s no painting to do after all. Now everyone started questioning why we were going to Booneville.
The first time I felt it was Monday when one of the chaperones informed me that the town had pooled money and was paying for our hotel. I found it amazing.
That evening, Angie’s friend Ms. Gene opened up her restaurant for us to eat at. Everything was free. I felt it there too.
Tuesday, Angie found some elderly people that needed some house work done. Three of us were assigned to help a widower named Clyde. Clyde was diabetic and very ill. He had a garden that was too sick to take care of. So we gardened for him.
At lunch time, he went and got us some burgers from his favorite “little burger joint.” It turned out to be McDonalds, but it was still good. And I felt it.
Wednesday, the tables turned for us. We got to paint after all since it turned out the community center still needed some in the side rooms. I however went to pray with some of the citizens at the Booneville Nursing Home, since I didn’t really want to paint. And let me tell you, when you look into the eyes of someone whose dying, you feel it.
Thursday began the trek back home which would take us through Dallas for a day before heading back to Denver.
Mother Teresa said that, “The problem with the world is that we draw the circle of family too small.”
I went to Booneville with very low expectations, but when I left, I was changed. The people there had changed me. They had been so compassionate to me even though they did not know me. They were like family. They showed love, and I felt it.
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