I’m truly sorry it has taken me so long to write. I have been waiting until the very end because I feel like I could not express how amazing this trip was even if I tried! My time in Italy was one of the most memorable trips of my life. I will forever remember the people and places. My favorite part of the trip was being able to play with the kids, and seeing how happy that they were when we were with them really made me so happy! We were at the same school every day, and we went to the same park every night. This gave us the opportunity to really get to know the kids. The time we spent at the park gave us the best opportunity to reach out and not only spend more time with the kids, but it also allowed us to see their parents and talk to them. The park really opened the doors for us to do our work. My role was playing with the kids, and I LOVED every minute of it! Being able to put smiles on the kids’ faces warmed my heart and I will never forget them!! It’s funny how such small smiles and laughs can make me feel so amazing, but it did. I hope that I have had some impact on their life because they definitely changed mine!!
The children of Naples were my favorite part of this trip, but my team definitely ranked as number two!! Wednesday night we had a reflection meeting where we all looked back on the week. This week has really had an impact on my life, and a major reason this has happened is because of my team. During the reflection time we all went around the room and told each other encouraging things about everyone. I wish that I could have said something to everybody but I knew that I would have never made it through because I would have been crying the whole time!! So I thought that I would make my blog about the team and let each of you know how important you are to me, and the impact you had on this trip.
JJ – Before this week, I can honestly say I had probably never spoken a word to you. Over the past week I have been able to get to know you, and I just want to say that you are a truly amazing person. The kids absolutely loved you, and I could tell that you loved spending time with them too. I feel like you have such a big heart, and over the week you have been able to touch the lives of kids that will never forget you! A great example of this is Charlie’s kids! They loved you, and I am sure that they will never forget you. Watching you play with them every night, I could see that you will never forget them either. You are a great person, and your smile is contagious! I don’t know how you do it, but every time that I am around you I smile. I know that God has a wonderful plan for your life, and I look forward to getting to know you even more!!
Alyssa – I just want to start out by saying that you are such a great person! I truly love you girl! I was able to see you in a different light this week, and I can see how your big personality has helped you in more ways than imaginable! The people that you were able to talk to this week will probably always remember you, and I know that you were able to have an impact on their life. You were so great talking to the people at the park, and you could not tell that this was your first trip. I looked up to you this week because of your fearlessness to tell people your love for God. You are such an amazing friend, and I feel so much closer to you now!!
Haley – I feel so much closer to you now even though we have been in school together the past three years and went on the mission trip to Malta last year. I am so glad that came this year, and I know it would not have been the same without you! The kids absolutely love you, and I know that you care about them too! You are going to be such a great teacher, and I wish that my kids could be in your class one day. The kids are drawn to you, and I feel like they will never forget you. You are such a strong person!! I want you to know that I am always going to be here for you, and I will always be here for you! You are one of my best friends, and I love you!
Bake – You have an amazing personality, and like Haley, you will definitely be a great teacher. You can make anyone laugh, and the kids really loved you. You were able to interact with the kids and make them smile. Watching them smile and laugh around you was such a great thing to see. You are one of the funniest people I know, and this allowed you to do your work this week. You did such an amazing job with the kids, and I know that you had an impact on them.
Trevor – You really opened up this week. Before this week, we talked every now and then, but this week allowed all of us to see a different side of you. It is such a great thing to see the whole person, and I feel like I now know more about you. You were great with the kids, and every day I feel like you opened up more and more. I feel like we became better friends this week. I hope that you continue to open up and continue to let God lead your life.
Cacy – I looked up to you this entire week. I considered you a leader, and you proved this to be true every day. The way that you were able to talk to the people at the parks really inspired me, and I wish that I was able to talk to people as easily as you do! You are so open about talking with people about God, and I want to be able to do that as easily as you do. I feel like we have gotten closer this week, and I hope that we continue to stay close. You are such a great friend, and I love you girl!
Adam – Ever since last year’s mission trip to Malta, I feel like we have gotten closer. I feel even closer to you now. You are such a great person, and you are fun to watch with the kids. They laughed at your crazy dances, and they would copy your moves when it was their turn to dance. You made an impact on their lives, and I know that they impacted yours as well.
Drew – We all look to you for leadership when it comes to the drills, but that is not the only thing that you are great at. You are such a great speaker, and when you speak, people listen to you. You are a true leader, and I know that they kids were able to see this. I am sure that they looked up to you because of your skills, and I encourage you to use this more often. I know that your job gives you many doors and opportunities to share with people, and I hope that you can let God lead you to do so.
Nash – I am so very thankful that you decided to come on this trip. You are such a great person, and you are fun to be around. We were good friends before, but I feel so much closer to you now! The kids were so happy to be around you, and you made an impact on your life. I know that you were able to talk to a few people at the park with Cacy, and I hope that you were able to open their hearts to the Lord. I just want you to know that I will always be here for you, and I will always consider you one of my good friends! I am going to miss you girl, but I know that God has a great plan for you! You better come visit me in Nashville, and I love you!
Mick – I think I can speak for everyone when I say that you were our leader. We all looked up to you this week, and you were able to prove to us all week why this was true. You are so open about talking to people about God, and people listen to you. You are able to answer the hard questions that people have, and I hope that I will be able to do this one day. God has given you this gift, and I know that you are definitely using it very well.I had an amazing time this year and I just want to thank you all for making this possible. However, none of this would have been possible without the work of B-dub, Mrs. Debbie, and Wes. They have been our leaders throughout this week, and I know I can speak for everybody when I say THANK YOU for everything that you all did! Without you three, this week would have never happened. I feel like it has changed all of our lives, and I thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to change mine! God Bless you all!!