Over the last five years I have been blessed with my family, friends, and the support you all give to me. Without your help I would have never been able to go on four mission trips to help the needy, support the poor, and nurture the old. I have seen broken cities, broken homes, and many broken hearts. In San Francisco I sorted black beans, pinto beans, and grape fruit for five hours a day-and boy was it boring! Little did I know that over 107,000 meals were going out from the San Francisco food bank each day. The next year boarding the plane to New Orleans was a nerve racking experience. The idea of flying crossed the country without my parents was something I was excited for, yet hesitant. By the time I stepped out the air port, I knew I would die on this trip; the humidity was my worst enemy. Well I was wrong about the heat; I nearly died from a broken heart. I saw the 9th ward where the levy broke, during Katrina. I saw the homes that were no longer vacant, for the people either died during the hurricane or the house was no longer livable. I helped rebuild and paint a high school that not only the hurricane destroyed, but even before Katrina, the school was an unsafe place. Only forty percent of the students made it to their senior year, either from dropping out, or by being killed in gang related activity. With the Brad Pitt Foundation, the school was giving enough money to start from the bottom again. I’m so honored and proud to know that I was a part of such an amazing transformation and a new home for students to learn and grow. Down in the hollers of West Virginia, I was assigned to the repainting of an older widows home, named Connie. Putting myself in her shoes I would have felt a little embarrassed to have a youth group come and paint my house for me, but after I met her, I wanted nothing more than to help her with every single task of the day. I instantly connected with Connie. She showed me a photo album of her family from 1942 and the pictures were taken in the same yard I had been sitting in earlier that day. Connie would travel with her father around the United States on a train to all his sell meeting and she would take pictures of all the trees in Minnesota, all the birds in Texas, and all the fish in Seattle. Connie opened up to me in so many ways in just one week, that she gave me her number. Tell this day I will get a quick catch up phone call from West Virginia, and I will send her my homecoming pictures, and keep her posted on school. This last summer I drove down to Reno Nevada, and spent a week with the same amazing group that I have been with for years, but this one was different. The streets of Reno screamed with pain, the walls of the building seemed to frown as you drove by. The people I severed at the Reno Gospel Mission opened my eyes to a whole other world I had tried so hard to pretend wasn’t there. I served food to a very young lady with two toddlers, and no home. She would leave the table with her children onto the street. The Reno Gospel Mission was a rehab for those who choose to seek God, and find their way to a better life. While admitted to the rehab they feed the homeless, and bed them at night. Reno’s homeless population is a sky rocketing number that some warehouses in the desert open their doors to homeless at night to stay with a bed. I was touched by the grace all the works had, as well as patients. Theses mission trips have made me who I am today. I see brokenness all around us, and there is always work to be done. This summer of 2015 I am going to Nicaragua on a medical trip, to help those suffering with health, dental, and broken hearts.
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