Meet Cory Pisano
Majors: International Studies and Latin American Studies
School: Miami University
"...experiencing true joy isn't about what you have, but about who you're with."
This past winter, I found myself on a plane flying to the Dominican Republic with a group of girls I had never met before. None of us were really sure what we were getting ourselves into considering we didn't even know who was picking us up from the airport, where we were staying, or what kind of activities we would be doing. As far as we knew, the only thing that any of us had in common was that we had simply said "yes" to JOY.
Prior to the trip, I don't think I had ever experienced true joy. Throughout my whole life, I was always a happy person. I grew up with incredible friends and a very close and loving family. Within the first couple days of being in the Dominican, I noticed that this wasn't going to be an average experience. For a whole semester, I lived in a foreign country, so I was used to adapting to a new culture full of people who I still couldn't fully communicate with. However, once our group got to the school where we were serving and met some of the kids and staff there, I knew that this experience was going to be different. Now some people are afraid of different things, but after this experience, I can assure you that things that are different are nothing to be afraid of.
I remember the first time that I had to take a step back and say "wow". I was given the task of mowing the lawn at the site where the school was located. What sounded like a simple task at first turned into a two day process that took four people to complete. Manipulating the metal beast of a mower and tackling the knee high grass turned into a much harder task than I had originally thought. However, after two days of mowing, a couple of the girls I was working with and I were finished, and as a result, I first experienced true joy.
Once the recess bell rang, the kids came running out of their classrooms to find an open field where they continued to run around and play with their friends. Through the constant laughter and endless smiles on the faces of these kids, I could truly see joy...it was a feeling that was different than any other.
Overall, I learned a lot not only about myself, but about God and the mysterious ways that He brings people together. For several different reasons, it didn't make sense for me to go on this trip, but for whatever reason, it was in God's plan for me to be there. He put me in a place where, for many people, it would be difficult to experience joy. He put me in a small village where you can't drink the water, there is no wifi, and where some people don't ever see past the hill that they walk up and down everyday to go to school. In that very same place, He also showed me that the power of God to bring people together has no boundaries or language barriers. He showed me that experiencing true joy isn't about what you have, but about who you're with. And most importantly, He showed me that something that is different and may not make sense at first has the ability to turn into something that can have an incredible effect on your life forever.
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