What our youth say:
I went into this experience as a person whose humility wasn't gold, to say the least. I may be assuming, but I am sure there are those of you in our congregation who can relate.
People do bad things. Sometimes, these actions hurt us beyond what an apologetic, sincere "I'm sorry" can fix. At times, the anger and the bickering causes injuries in pride. Pride. The demon behind a world of hurt.
In Yakima, if pride of the people were as fragile as mine, people would live brewing in hate and grudge. This is a community, where for years these people have been mistreated, the farmers brutally misused and ripped off-where sometimes children come home to no parents, because their parents were taken away. Yes. That is a common reality and fear for those families. Interesting that I went there, expecting to find kids and parents completely and utterly deterred from hope, to come upon a community who would teach me in a manner of a few days how to let my pride go. You see, these people did not let their pride stop them from accepting help from those of us who have essentially everything we need. They did not look at us with scorn for the food we had three times a day, for the breaks we took during work that they couldn't afford to. Indeed, the children acted like a huge family-they didn't try to outshine or brag to anyone else about particular fortunes of their own, nor poke demeaning comments at those less fortunate than themselves. They shared with me as much or more than I did with them.
My personal experience with the Yakama Mission Trip was the most eye-opening experience I have ever had. Many times throughout the trip, I was faced with many challenges such as taking care of the kids, making sure I knew where everyone was at for all time we were helping out, and being pushed to the breaking point with my patience level. I did take many things away from this trip, and I am so happy I was a part of such an amazing service project. I am also very happy that I got to not only get to know god more, but also the awesome bunch of teenagers that came along with me.
The first hardest thing for me on the trip was taking care of the kids. I along with three other girls were in charge of getting the kids food, making sure they were having fun and playing safe, and getting enough exercise for the day. This was challenging for me because here, we usually have to worry about ourselves, our friends, and our families. There, I was keeping track of about 40 kids, so I really got to test myself with responsibility.
The second hardest thing on the trip for me was making sure I knew where everyone was for the whole day. Many kids enjoyed running off, playing tag, and going inside when they weren’t supposed to. I was in charge of making sure I knew where everyone was, and it was very hard. As hard as it was, it was also really fun! I enjoyed meeting and getting to know the kids, even though it was challenging keeping track of that many kids.
Finally, the last hardest thing for me on the trip was being pushed to the breaking point with my patience. The kids were always very stubborn and sometimes could not decide between two things. After this experience, I believe I have become more patient in life. It is a great skill to have, and I am so happy that I actually got a chance to improve on one of the eight servant leader qualities.
In conclusion, this trip was exciting, fun, and a learning experience for us all. I am so blessed to have such an amazing group of teenagers as friends, and a great congregation to support us through everything. Though challenging at times, there is nothing better than serving god and his people through times when they need help.