By Jesse Adkins, Senior at St. Patrick's
Coming off of two straight weeks at Camp Mikell and only 12 hours at home, I found myself barely awake in the St. Columba's parking lot watching the sunrise as I prepared to embark on the Diocesan mission trip last week. I had been looking forward to this mission trip for months because I would get to spend a week with many of my best friends doing what I love most, spreading the love of God. After the 12 hour bus ride, when we arrived in Harrisburg, all I wanted to do was go to sleep! I was exhausted from camp, and feeling sick from all of the Mikell Mold contaminating my systems.
The next day, as each group went off to do their own projects, I was a part of the group helping at the camp in Allison Hill that Cole talked about in his post. Since I have counseled a number of times and specifically counseled Emmaus House for the past two years, I thought it wouldn't be too bad to work with these kids all week. However, this was assuming that I would feel better than I had, but I felt even worse and had no energy to be fun with the kids. If you know me, you know I'm usually a very happy and energetic kid, but not so much this week. It was at this point where I had a decision to make. I was on this trip to specifically show these kids how much they are loved even in the terrible conditions that they live in. I had to decide whether I was going to be miserable and grumpy all week or if I was going to let go of my personal issues and dedicate the week to serving these children to give them an experience that they don't normally have in their daily lives.
This was where God took over for me. No matter how hard it was to get up each morning and go play with the kids who seemed to have endless energy, God helped me push through by working through me. God loves each and every person so much, no matter what their background is, and I believe that for some of these kids, it may be hard to see that because of the conditions they live. I relized that God put me there with those kids for a reason, so that he could work through me to show the kids how special each one of them was and to put pure joy in their lives by playing with them for hours each day. God also put me there to learn something about myself. He showed me that no matter how hard life can be sometimes, he is always there to help you push through to accomplish your goals.
The mission trip was not at all what I went into it expecting it to be. It was an amazing experience that was not easy, but so rewarding. It is in those unexpected ways that God often reveals himself the most and will teach you about your own life and those around you. I am back at Camp Mikell counseling right now while I write this blog post, and the experices from last week's mission trip are allowing me to be a better counselor for the kids here this week. I know that no matter how stressed out or tired I may be at times, God is with me and working through me to give these kids the best week possible.
Peace and Love