To the Ends of the Earth

As many of you know, I am about to enter the world of committing to a college and getting ready to go off to school. In the midst of that I have been filling out college applications and more recently hearing a yes from every school I have applied to. This is so very exciting to me because I believe it puts me one step closer to where God has been leading me for the last several years which is the international mission field. All that to say here is my college essay from the prompt:

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Landing at night-time, I see the lights of cities that no one has ever heard of. Cities that you may never hear of. Walking through an airport that I’ve never visited. An airport that you may never visit. A place I never thought I would visit. But I will go back there. Children will run up to the bus as we pull up. They will greet us as we drive down the dusty dirt road. They won’t speak our language, but they will speak through their love. Their eyes will shine with excitement of “gringos” coming to their small village that is so far away from the nearest town.

All my life I have loved children and serving people, but during spring break 2016 I realized how much I love serving penurious children. Going to Guatemala changed my perspective on love, life, and global health. For four whole days I had the privilege to play with hundreds of children who came from the mountains of Villa Hortencia I. Most every other day of the year, these children have to work by carrying water for their family or taking care of their siblings. But not today. Today, they get to have fun and be kids and know that people care about them.

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Every morning, my mission team opened a clinic where two doctors saw families to treat them for medical concerns. One of the days, I spent the morning with Dr. Parker treating children and their families. Watching the young mothers and their love for their families is incredible. Many of the mothers were sick, but they were mostly concerned about treatment for their young, sick children. Dr. Parker would examine each child carefully, asking questions for their mother to understand, being certain to diagnose each patient accurately. You could see the pain of every child who came through the office just by looking in their eyes. These children inspire me to grow up and out of the complacent mindset of the world, and to go beyond my comfort zone, and to create a better place for everyone to exist.

Each child who walked through the office took a piece of my heart with them. I could see in their eyes and their sweet smiles the pain of living day-to-day in poverty, being expected as young as five or six years old to take care of their younger siblings. This single experience made me realize that I can change the world. I can influence the life of a child by lovingly caring for them and showing them they are worthy to be loved. It has made me want to serve children and families all over the world through health care and service to their communities.

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A year ago, I never would have imagined myself getting on an airplane, traveling over 2,500 miles without my parents, serving poor, hungry children, falling in love with them, and deciding to devote the rest of my life to this work. Not only did this adventure show me what my true passion is, but it also acted as a catalyst for me to explore global health and why I want to make a difference in this world. I learned many valuable lessons during my time in Guatemala with my team and I most definitely learned more about myself in those four days than any other time in my life. A friend once told me, “if leaving makes you want to cry, that means we have made our way into your heart”. These children, families, and this country will be in my heart forever, inspiring me to pursue and to discover what I love more and more every day.  

This is my story. This is one of the most important experiences I have had in my whole life. And I want to spend the rest of my life helping families and children who don’t have access to medical help. And I am thrilled to be traveling back to Guatemala during spring break with Corinth to see the children of Villa Hortencia I one last time.

By: Sarah Jeanne

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