I went with good intentions. I went to help some people with their lives. I went in a white church bus. It was not my intention, though, to learn from the people, nor did I intend to be effected so greatly. Gulfport, Mississippi was the destination, and the children’s Bible club was the crew to which I had been assigned. Yes, I wanted to make a difference in those kids’ lives, and I wanted them to meet their savior Jesus Christ, but I never realized that I myself would change throughout the week. All those kids wanted was love. Each moment made me love them more and every smile made me understand their deep joy, the deep joy that they derived from the simple pleasures of life and their new found infinite belief in God. I longed to have the same joy that they found and to express it to those around me.
The proposition of making a difference in the lives of others only leaves room for the revelation of a change in yourself. I have come to the realization that if I am planning to help someone else, I need to expect to be changed as well, or at least, not be completely shocked when a change does appear. I may be the one going to do the helping, but they are the ones moving me with their gratefulness and their hopeful attitudes. I believe that when you go to make a difference, a more profound difference will be made in you.
Those young kids may not remember me in future years, but they all hold a dear and special place in my heart. I hope that they all continue to shine brightly for Jesus and that their joy will catch on fire. I didn’t know that the trip down to Mississippi would change me at all, let alone, to such an unending degree. Since I left, I can’t forget about those kids, those kids and their smiling faces, their smiling faces that expressed exactly what I want to emulate in my everyday life. I went to Gulfport, Mississippi to work in their lives, but in return they showed me how I need to love others, let joy break through and how I need to shine brightly for Jesus in every aspect of my life.
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