While just sending money may seem like the easiest way to make a difference for those in poverty or compromising situations, I believe that donating time and service is the most important part about helping those in need. On the mission trip I went on this past summer to Guatemala through BSM, I felt like my actions made the biggest difference for those receiving our help, rather than our donations.
On my mission trip, I worked alongside many other students from BSM building houses for the homeless in Guatemala. We didn’t send money in hopes that other people would build them, we built them ourselves.
Along with using our time and effort to help these people, we were able to establish real connections with the people we were helping. This allowed a much more personal feel to the whole project as we were working side by side with those we were building the house for, including the kids of the families.
Personally, I think the best part of the entire trip was the children at my work site and their hilarious energy and spunk. They thought it was the best thing ever to paint a house bright blue––the signature of the organization we worked with, The God’s Child Project ––but it was when they started painting us that the real fun began. By the end of the day our whole group was covered in blue paint and sweat, but grinning from ear to ear because of the joy those children brought our group.
If we had just sent money to the family to help their situation, neither the kids nor us would have gotten that experience with each other, which I found very inspirational. If these kids could be in such poverty and go through awful conditions every day, but be able to maintain their spirits, hopes, and dreams, then I felt like I should be doing more with the gifts I’ve been given.
Overall I found the service to be an integral part of the trip for both myself and the family receiving our help because simply put, if we weren’t there, they wouldn’t have a house right now. But even further, just sending donations of money or supplies would have deprived all of those involved of a truly inspiring experience and a more substantial effect for the family.