Mission trips are a way we come to an understanding of the true world around us.
Going across the country to the Appalachian Mountains in Eastern Kentucky shows the disconnect between life here in California and the life there. Small patches of flat land nestled in between endless hills makes this region so different from the nation around it.
While this lifestyle is far different form what we have here at home, there is a true sense of appreciation and gratitude amongst the people.
In two years, I have been fortunate enough to help with construction jobs, working in a local coffee shop, and volunteering in the local school system. In each aspect of work, the locals all offered up their homes for food and sacrificed their norm to help us out-of-towners.
This kind of sacrifice really hit home for me personally as we were there to serve them, not for the other way around.
While this was not my first mission trip, I had never experienced the kind of gratitude and kindness in return as the people of Eastern Kentucky showed me. This compassion they showed toward each other reveals the separation we have with our own communities.
When you serve others, you don’t expect to receive something in return. But when you do, the best thing you can do is to share that with others. Compassion can create a cycle of giving and can show people the true love Jesus has for them.
I want to thank you for supporting me on going to Kentucky and for helping me experience the differences among us Americans. Thanks to your compassion, I was able to spread the love of Salem in a place often forgotten.
Senior at Orange Lutheran High School