Meet Kelsie Anderson
School: Miami University
"She constantly reminded me that joy does not come from our circumstances. No matter what we may be going through, we can and should always find our joy in Jesus."
This J-term, I decided to do something different, something purposeful and something that impacted the world in more ways than I could imagine. I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Caraballo, Dominican Republic with the Justification of Youth over J-Term. We spent most of our time at a Kids Alive International school doing manual labor and playing with the kids at recess. The children in Caraballo, DR are filled with joy up to their ears. As soon as the recess bell rings, they run up to you and yell, Caballito! Caballito! Caballito! From then on, we would give the kids piggy back rides all over the playground. Some kids would play soccer while others played baseball. Several of the girls wanted to play with and braid our hair, while others wanted to play on the playground or climb on the slide. There was never a shortage of activities at recess, that's for sure!
One of the kids' favorite things to do was take pictures. As soon as they saw me or my camera, they would strike a pose (or seven) begging for a picture. Even if I didn't have my phone or my camera, they would still ask to take photos or videos. The kiddos would just flock to me! There were 3 girls, though, that consistently ran up to give me a hug every time they saw me.
Each time that I saw these little girls, their faces lit up. Thankfully, my high school Spanish paid off (thank you Miss Hayes!!) and I was able to have fun conversations with them and learn all about their families. One of the little girls really tugged on my heart. She has the most adorable smile (even though I had to tickle her to bring it out!), the cutest little giggle and is constantly full of joy. She constantly reminded me that joy does not come from our circumstances. No matter what we may be going through, we can and should always find our joy in Jesus.
After meeting so many amazing people and playing with hundreds of kids for 2 weeks, my heart is filled with so much joy and purpose. I'm inspired to love others intentionally, be more disciplined in both personal and professional areas of my life, and dig deeper in Jesus to find pure JOY.
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