Outreach to Allied Drive Changes Teen’s Perspective

by “Angel”, from an Illinois youth group who joined us for a week-long mission trip to Madison called “Mad*Reach”

Our youth group’s van pulled into the parking lot and kids swarmed around us.

“Are you famous?” they asked. “Where are you from?”

Little girls I had never met before came up to me and gave me big hugs.

We were at Allied Drive in Madison, working with little kids from the neighborhood who came to a weekly Bible class after school. They learned more about God and played games together.

I was there to help teach the little kids, but I learned much more myself.  That Tuesday, my heart changed–and it all started with a TV.

We started our lesson with a movie about miracles of Jesus on their “new” TV. The kids and the staff had prayed for a TV that was bigger than the 9-inch one they had. As I looked at their bigger, new TV, I was amazed at how happy and grateful they were. It was chunky, old, still pretty small, and could definitely use an upgrade. I remembered our 50-inch flat screen HDTVs at home. We wanted it so desperately but it still didn’t seem like enough once we had it.

Later in the afternoon, we played games with the kids. They were laughing and jumping and happy, but I felt sad and disappointed. I realized that these kids — who I would have overlooked because they were in such a different neighborhood and culture than mine — each had their own story to tell.

And I saw that I was never happy with what I had, yet these children had so little and were still happy. I realized I need to thank God so much more for what He’s given me.

After that afternoon with the kids, I felt God tell me to reach out to others and help those who are less fortunate than I am.  Now I want to do more volunteering and I’m so excited.