There is no price to be put on experience, nor any adequate words to describe its importance to your life. All the money and things in the world come nowhere near the value of having your view of the world expanded.
In one word, St.Thomas was “unexpected.”
It had been a last minute decision for me. I had heard about the trip from Liberty University but casted it aside as I didn’t have the money. The thought crossed my mind, but I supposed what God wanted to be would be.
A woman from Humbly I Serve came and spoke to my church The Kirk in Lynchburg, asking for supplies and for counselors. I felt a tug on my heart, but I knew being a college student, balancing so much financially as it was, I couldn’t do it. I remember sitting in the congregation telling God simply that if He wanted me to go, He would have to provide the money.
Ironically the day after I got back home, I went to visit someone I hadn’t seen in a while, and out of nowhere I was telling her of the St.Thomas Camp, and needing 2,000 dollars. I had no idea where it came from, but what happened next surprised me even more.
“I can give you that.”
And with those five words I saw God’s provision and was on my way to getting ready for St.Thomas.
We often hear of God providing incredible things to people in the Bible, and in devotionals, so to see Him work in my everyday challenges and needs was awe-inducing.
Of the whole trip, the memory that sticks out most is the last night when the pastor in charge of the whole program on the island came up and spoke to us counselors. At this point, we were all worn down to exhaustion, and sick, and to be entirely honest, discouraged, but what he told us made it all worth it. I had spent the whole time wondering if we had made any difference at all, and as he went on to tell of of all that had happened, how it had truly impacted the kids even though we may not have seen it, I knew it was worth it. His enthusiasm and energy about the turnout, and the overall excitement as he spoke brought it into perspective that none of our efforts were in vain. It was a physical, emotional, and spiritual struggle, but God used that for something good and to touch the lives of children that may otherwise not be noticed, and appreciated for the worth they hold. It reminded me that serving isn’t always about feeling good, but using everything God has given you, as imperfect as you are, to make an incredible difference.
It taught me how present emotions don’t impact God’s power and ability to do incredible things in any the situation. And unlike other mission trips where you leave and are done, as soon as I stepped off the island, my Facebook account was flooded with friend requests from campers, which ultimately made me knew it was worth it.
My joy was not in that I had increased the number of people I knew, but that despite my shortcomings, these children still wanted to be my friend and keep in contact, and that means more than anything in the world to me.
In St. Thomas, God allowed me to meet some incredible people, and I am so blessed to have been able to volunteer with the other counselors there. I have so much respect for every single person that worked there, and I know each one of them are the reason the camp made the impact it did.