I met Dawson at ISLC '08, it was both our first time at the conference. I actually didn't meet Daws until the last day of our conference (actually at the time I thought he was slightly weird and didn't know his name so had him as "Riverton Kid" in my phone) :) Anyways, since then I have seen the "Transformation of Life" that is stated in the Operation Smile mission statement in both of us as we have both journeyed in different adventures yet on the same path. It has been an absolute blessing to witness such a phenomenon in another humans life.
Many times this week I've been asked if I feel jealousy or if I wish I was there. To be honest, (thanks to another friend's help), I realized that I really wasn't jealous of Daws and I don't wish I was in India this week... [Actually I am definitely thinking a lot more of my own mission as there is the first International Mission in Jordan (!!:)) this upcoming week since mine.. I am feeling pangs of homesickness and longing to be able to see those children and volunteers I fell so deeply in love with last February.. yet so much happiness because I know they are in good hands:)..
But, I am actually feeling so much gratitude and happiness as I've been stalking his blog and seeing his Facebook posts. It is a different feeling to be able to watch from the outside someone you know and care about receive such an outstanding gift and blessing. It has been an honor to be able to watch Dawson (and others!) prepare and experience the same life-changing missions we are on. It is so rewarding to know that I have played a part, no matter how small or menial, in this part of life for many that will continue to bless and lead in the future.
I feel that this is probably one of the most incredible parts of my involvement in Operation Smile. I've been able to firstly, experience for myself the joy and passion I feel for this cause, then be a first-hand witness in it's effects in helping change people's lives, forever- and in doing so see mine change as well. Then, I've been able to meet so many driven individuals who have similar goals as I do and watch them go through the same things I've been through.. the same trials, successes and that 'moment' where you know that your passion lies in something so strongly that you want to do all you can to further that work and let others feel the same enthusiasm and love you do. It's just a continuous cycle.. and for that I will forever be in debt to Student Programs and the Magees for allowing such a little kid like me to have these experiences.
Did you know, that this blog has a mission statement?
B-town to A-town's mission is:
To inspire, motivate, and drive others to do their best in creating smiles worldwide by becoming a resource to students, the community, and the world. B-town to A-town hopes to raise awareness about the global organization Operation Smile, promote Operation Smile Student Programs, and help further others involvement and passion for the cause by serving as support and a resourceful guide to their success.
That is my goal through my blogs and involvement- to be able to help and serve as a resource to others to help build their skills, knowledge and love so that they they too, may be able to find in this or anything else, the things in life that mean the most to them. I feel that if I've been able to help even one student, it makes all the countless hours of posting, editing, linking, researching and formatting that I've invested in blogging-- completely and absolutely worth it, because it means that it has helped me in reaching and fulfilling my vision. That, in and of itself brings me the same rewards as if I were there-- in India, in Jordan, in the Philippines.. anywhere!
So, with that being said. I am so thankful for all the students who have been on mission, going on missions, and especially for this batch of upcoming kids attending WMTW in Virgina. Unfortunately, I won't be leading this training, but will still be there in spirit hoping that I can help them reach their potentials and be a service unto them. I am not jealous (to a certain degree;) about these missions, but I am grateful that I get to help others just like those inspirational individuals who have helped me on my journey before me. I am SO grateful to be in leading in the capacity of a member of the Executive Leadership Council and having so many more opportunities to help me reach my goals and ambitions.
Ahh. I just love OpSmile.. What more is there to say? :)