Real Church. Real Life. Real Celebration.

Love Thy Neighbor

DSCF1402One teenager’s journey in self-discovery and learning about respect…

I’m passionate about learning about people from other cultures and helping people relate to each other and get along. I’ve always been a hard-core people person, but I really got on fire for developing communication and respect cross-culturally three years ago I went on a mission trip with my church to Nicaragua. It was the most eye-opening experience I’ve ever had! The best thing about the week I spent in Nicaragua was having the privilege of playing with all the kids at Casa Batesda orphanage. I colored and played with stickers with the kids for a while, then got them to get a ball. We played basketball and soccer and had a great time. When it was time to leave the orphanage, I wanted to take all those kids with me. Next, we went to this really poor community on the coast, called Masachapa. While we were there, we cooked hotdogs for more than a thousand kids who had nothing. With all those kids around, I had plenty of opportunity to play soccer and bring a smile to the kids’ faces.

The land and the people of Nicaragua are beautiful, but it surprised me just how much poverty there was. It was gut wrenching. But there was one thing they had plenty of: love. It really touched me that, with all their poverty, the thing they wanted the most was love instead of material things.

After going on this trip, I’ve had a whole new love for the people around me and for life in general. I realize just how much we have and take advantage of here in the US. There are problems and issues we have, of course, but our country has so much to offer, and we should be more appreciative. When I got back, I began really pursuing the Hispanic kids in my school and getting to know about their culture, lifestyle and hardships. I learned how much they had to work to be able to come to the U.S. I want to continue to travel and see other cultures and places all around the world and use what I know to help people abroad and in my own community learn how to communicate with and respect each other.

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