There is music and everyone is dancing. I look around at the faces of those around me. My new friend Courtney from Camp Acorn comes over to hug me and says, “I love you so much, Hannah!”. My heart instantly melts and at this moment I feel the presence of God and His love. Engaging with Courtney taught me the value of celebrating human dignity and being the call to someone else’s prayer.
The IHA Mission Trip was a life-changing experience that changed my perspective on many things. Participating in new activities with 50 of my IHA sisters afforded me the opportunity to find my voice and realize my value. Whether it was dancing with children with Down syndrome at Camp Acorn or going on the Morning/Midnight run to distribute food and clothing to impoverished families, the IHA Mission Trip was like no other retreat. We were given the opportunity to connect with different individuals and be the call to their prayers. During each act of service, I learned something new about myself and about God. While dancing with individuals with Down syndrome, I realized I have the ability to put a smile on someone’s face and enjoy time with others. During the Senior Citizen Thanksgiving dinner, I learned the value of human connection and the importance of building relationships with different age groups. During the Morning/Midnight run, I felt the presence of God as a man talked to me about wanting to open his own restaurant and how our efforts had given him hope. In my service at each event, I was reminded of the importance of acknowledging human dignity. While service makes a difference in life, it also strengthens your faith by bringing you closer to God and all of His people. Giving back to the community allows you to embody Jesus Christ and spread hope and faith. It is a reminder of the importance of answering the call of prayers of those in need and to be in the image and likeness of God.
Beyond serving others, the Mission Trip also involved team bonding activities that brought me closer to my fellow IHA sisters. By the end of the weekend, I had established strong and valuable connections with the 50 girls on the trip. Mrs. Shutroup talked to us about the value we bring to others and recognizing that we are loved. This trip meant so much more to me than just carrying out service activities to log on to Mobileserve. It was a chance to realize the importance of being the light in other people’s dark moments and how to experience God in everyday life. When we were given the letters that our loved ones had written to us, it was proof of the value we bring to those around us and how much we are loved. I understood the importance of spreading that love to all of God’s people, especially those who need it most.
By: Hannah Hart’24, Staff Writer
Categories: News@the Heart, Slider