Tijuana, Mexico is less than an hours drive away from where I attend school, but being there seems like I’m in a different part of the universe. Houses are underdeveloped, stray dogs roam every corner, and many are in need of help. Once a month I have the great privilege to join fellow classmates to volunteer in an orphanage down in Tijuana. This orphanage houses children affected by HIV/ AIDS directly or whose parents suffer from this disease and in turn are incapable to care for them. I’ve taken part in this international ministry a few times now, but every time I go, I learn more and more.
Crossing the border, I was struck with gratitude looking back on how easily Americans can roam in and out of other countries. I was lucky enough to have been born in a free country, but for those that came before me it wasn’t quite that simple. Since I was born into this blessing, I forget that there are so many people around the world fighting to be a part of a country that I just happened to be born in. Some die or sacrifice all that they have just for the slightest opportunity to be able to enter the United States. It saddens my heart, but it is a reality.
From my experiences volunteering with kids I’ve developed a thought that the kids with little to nothing have the most to offer. They give you hugs and smiles, and will love you unconditionally after just a short amount of time. The kids of this orphanage stole my heart from day one, and not even the language barrier could stop me from loving them. To them there is no such thing as poverty, because they make the best out of the littlest things. Because of them, I’m taught to appreciate the little things and big things and all things. Seeing them content with nothing reminds me to be happy when I have everything.
When I told my friend about my day spent volunteering she called me a saint, but I refuse to call myself that. I volunteer, because I love children and I love bettering the world. God has put it in my heart to empathize with those who suffer and crave to improve their lives. But with all the volunteering that I do, I know I learn more from those I spend time with than the benefits people receive through my help. At the end of the day, I don’t volunteer for people to praise me, but so that through my actions I am glorifying the name of God and spreading His light to those living in darkness.