Mission Trips Taught Me More About Life Than School Ever Will

Mission Trips Taught Me More About Life Than School Ever Will

The people I've met and things I've seen have impacted me for the better.

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In the summer between fifth and sixth grade, I went on my first mission trip with my youth group. We went to Philadelphia for a week to serve in various places and spread God's love to those in the city (shoutout to all my M-Fuge peeps).

NO, we did not "force" our religion on those we talked to. But we did bring up God and church if they asked and through various activities we may have done. I don't quite remember the feelings I had during that initial week, but I remember leaving extremely happy and ready to tell more people about God.

Since that trip, I have gone to multiple other cities with my youth group every year and established so many relationships with those I met. In fact, there are still a few people I met from other churches during my trips with whom I still am friends on Facebook and Instagram.

Besides meeting people who also helped those in the community, I also met a handful of people who completely changed my outlook on life. There were some years I would go into the week not wanting to be there or upset about a tiny situation at home. Then during the week, God would work His magic and place the right person in my life to help me realize that those issues are small in comparison to what someone else is dealing with.

Not only would God help me with that issue of mine, but He would allow our group to work and establish faith in those we encountered.

We have had the opportunities to work in food banks, homeless shelters, adult daycares, and parks in what some people may consider the "sketchy" sides of town. No matter where we were, we all were able to experience how others live their lives.

There are some days when we get so caught up in our own drama, we forget how little these problems seem in comparison to others. A minor inconvenience to you may seem like a miracle for others. Simple little acts, like playing bingo with seniors, can turn someone's whole day around.

The older people we worked with played bingo with a passion!

In the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, my youth group returned to Philadelphia for another mission trip. I met these twin boys, about 11 years old, at a park we were working at. I learned on our first day there that these boys rarely were fed dinner, and lunch may have been the only time they would eat during the day. An adult who worked at the park later told me that the twins are always sent out of their house at late hours for reasons they did not know.

But despite the situation these boys were in, they came to hang out with us every day with the most infectious smiles on their faces.

I cannot confirm or deny this, but by the end of the week, the two of them may have been fighting with each other over who could "marry" me before I left. These boys established a sense of positivity in my life and impacted me on so many levels. I will never forget them.

It is so extremely important for someone to go out and do missions at least once in their life.

Not only do you spread love and happiness, but you also learn a lot about the world. There is so much you can learn in a span of one week that you can never learn in your 12 years of school. The people you interact with may spark something within to help you appreciate what you have. You may find out that you love doing mission work because of the change you can see in others throughout your time there.

When I have kids, I know I will send them on mission trips so they can learn about other parts of the country, other lifestyles, and how to spread love and happiness wherever they may go.

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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What A Blessing It Is To Have Been Loved By A Grandpa Like You

No one could ever replace your contagious giggle and radiating love.

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To my newest angel in heaven...

Grandpa Norb, I just wanted to write to you to let you know how great it is to be loved by a grandpa like you. With 4 children, 4 children in-law, 10 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren, we all know in our different ways your love for us. While you are no longer here, I am certain that you will always be watching over us and in our hearts.

Knowing you for 20 years, I can't imagine feeling more loved. Every holiday gathering started with you wishing a Merry Christmas, no matter the actual holiday. You always welcomed with a hug, and said goodbye with open arms, a kiss on the cheek and a whispered reminder that I am always in your prayers. Even with you no longer with us, I know you'll be watching over and praying for me as I carry on my steps in life.

Like a sunflower, you were always bright and smiling when I saw you. You showed your excitement when I walked in the room and made me feel lucky to be around you and overjoyed to know you just through your smile. You were the patriarch of our wonderful family standing tall and showering us with radiating love and goofiness.

Among us all, you loved Grandma with your whole heart and were married for 68 beautiful years. Watching her say goodbye has been one of the hardest things to see, but completely overpowering, the love you had for each other. As long as I knew you, I don't think I ever saw the two of you apart. The unconditional love that you had and always will feel for each other is one that I envy to have in my own relationships.

As almost two weeks have passed since God brought you to him, this is my goodbye to you. I will never forget the last good day I spent with you and Grandma together. I will think of you when I see yellow sunflowers standing tall and bright, and during thunderstorms as if it is you Grandpa Ray bowling together up in heaven.

I feel incredibly lucky to know you and have been loved by you for 20 of your 94 years, and I will always miss you.

Love,

Blondie.

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