Team Member Update: Emily Smith 2011, 2012
"I remember walking down dirt paths, holding hands with girls my age, younger and older, singing out hymns of praise and skipping and laughing."
At age 14, Emily Smith flew to Jamaica with the first project team to serve in the highly impoverished areas of Belair and Beverly Hills. Now 22, Emily graduated from the University of Iowa this spring. She shares the impact of her two trips to Jamaica. In one word - GRATITUDE
It’s been close to a decade since I last went to Jamaica with the team, but even that long a time can’t touch the memories I have of the people’s joy and thanksgiving.
I went to the real Jamaica and saw how the country’s people really lived – and they have so much less than I grew up with. Less stuff, that is. Yet with what little they have their hearts are full of a happiness that far outreaches the confines of this life.
I remember walking down dirt paths, holding hands with girls my age, and younger, and older, singing out hymns of praise and skipping and laughing. All this, and yet many of these girls lived in homes that were falling apart. Still they rejoiced. Still they sang.
To this day, when I’m feeling frustrated with my circumstances, I think back to those days in Jamaica and I remember that everything I have was given to me and I’ve no right to it. Just like those girls, I want to be able to laugh and sing even in the darkest of circumstances. Truly, I learned more from them than they did from me.