Lauren, 20 years old

The three mission trips I had with Val and her group made a profound impact on my life. I realized for the first time, this big world doesn’t revolve around me and my friends, but around service and helping others. The poverty we saw was overwhelming, but the joy in the hearts of the families we served was so inspirational. One day while working on replacing the mold-infested walls of a child's room, we were surprised by the family who made us lunch using their last dollars just to please us and thank us for our work. We were grateful, though we wished they hadn’t spent their sparse money on a feast for us. Yet, they were happy. Another moment came when we surprised a mother with new dish towels. You would have thought we gave her gold! My faith in the Lord was reinforced by the many moments of grace and mercy during these trips and I felt we really walked in Jesus' footsteps. Also, the prayer and journaling that we did throughout each trip helped me to realize I wanted a career in health care so that I can continue to help and serve other in need as I was called to do