Mission Waco has educated me on my hometown, showing me the reality of poverty as well as giving a message of hope. Through my youth group I volunteered at My Brother’s Keeper and King’s Club. We brought food, music, and a brief message to those attending. I would arrive nervous, but soon realize that we are all the same with the same struggles. Most have more severe struggles than me and I have such respect for those who have real problems and still turn to God.
I had the privilege of taking the Poverty in Waco course at Baylor taught by Janet Dorrell. I left each class either extremely excited or on the verge of tears because of what I learned. It was a heavy class because the content was based on real life and it changed mine. She discussed actual scenarios and people that endure such hardship and still praise and thank God.
Through this class I participated in the Poverty Simulation. This experience impacted me differently than the mission trips I’ve been on because I realized I was temporarily living someone else’s life. I knew that within a matter of hours I would have warm food given to me, a warm bed, clean clothes, a house, and go on about my life. I realized that was not the case for most people in this world and it broke my heart after I felt the cold of the ground, have churches refuse to give me food, have no money, and no shower. One evening, Janet shared with us stories and hurt from her own life. She opened up to us in such a way that was unforgettable. I am incredibly thankful for her heart. She told us that the most generous people are those with the least. I experienced this while my group was trying to find a free lunch during the simulator. We were unsuccessful except for when we came to the salvation army. The employees were very nice but could not provide us with lunch. One of the temporary residents saw us ask for food. He went back to his bunk (I think) and brought out carefully packed cookies. He said his girlfriend made them for him. They were delicious! This was a tender moment because he was homeless and we obviously didn’t look like we were starving but he was still generous.
Mission Waco has furthered my relationship with God and given me more compassion. Mission Waco has shown me the reality of poverty as well as shown me such love and strength in Christ.