Service is more than a hour, a day, a week, a month, or a year. Service is a lifetime and what we must all comprehend is that the steps we take for the betterment of the world needs the full input of those we are coming into contact with and those who will be effected. We, the one person or church group on a mission trip, are not going to be their Savior or be the one to make a community a better place. We also do not need to force God and the Christian view on to them. They’ve lived in their community for many years and know more than we could ever know about the land and what it has to offer. We need to come in as someone who wants to learn more about the world, see God in the little things in this community, and walk alongside these people. We do not have all the answers and do not know everything. We are people coming into a place that had been inhabited for generations so do not think that you are the Savior. We will provide tools for that community, but make sure they are tools that they actually need and will be able to use. Do your research, ask questions. Do not assume that they have not thought of events or tried to apply different tactics. They have made it this far without you.
It makes me sad but grateful to think that I have only 1 week left in my YAV year. I am so happy to have had this experience in seeing Texas and the world through a different lens and in the way that people, whether they be Christian or not, interact and live in community with one another. I will cherish this experience and the growth I have had. I am also happy to see that there is hope in the world. This is through the little strides that we are all making to make the world a safer and more unified place to live. Yes, these changes will not occur in our lifetime, but it is the small changes and steppingstones that we are all making together and building into what the world and human race can become. I think that what the PCUSA church stands for and the work that is being done with our brothers and sisters around the world, whether they are similar to us or not, speaks volumes about what they think is important in the togetherness and community of the whole world. The changes, even though they may seem very slow, that are being made are in our own personal, day to day community. The changes are that more and more people are being more responsive and respectful of those in their community, those who look different, sound different, and believe in different things. These individuals are someone’s child and could be someone’s parent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, cousin, friend. We must walk alongside them so that we can show each other the possibilities and opportunities that we both have and what we all could do to strive to make a world where we are all equal.