A Summer of God’s Presence
As move in week came and as I started catching up with friends that I had not seen all summer, I started to really think about and process my summer. Of course when you see someone for the first time in four months, the first questions asked are ‘how was your summer?’ and ‘what did you do this summer?’ As I got asked these question time and time again, I really did not know how to start and where to start. I was speechless. I got thinking about my summer and two major events came to mind. My study abroad trip to Tanzania, Africa, and my day camp counselor job at my home church on the East side. I could not stop thinking about all the stories I wanted to share from these two experiences, but I also had this overwhelming feeling of how great is our God for presenting me with these two life changing opportunities.
Over the month of May, I got to travel to a continent that I have dreamed about traveling to for a long time. I was given the opportunity to travel to Tanzania, Africa through a Faculty-Led program here at GVSU. I heard a presentation on this trip in one of my classes and knew instantly I needed to go. You might be asking why I NEEDED to go on this trip. I was being presented the opportunity to not only teach in a school in Tanzania, I was presented the opportunity to teach in a Special Education school. Now this might not seem like a big thing, but unfortunately, Special Education schools in other countries are not common and often do not exist. I ran out of class that day telling my parents, roommates, and everyone I knew that I was going to Tanzania. They looked at me like I was crazy, but once I explained it to them, they knew too I had to go. This was the most amazing and rewarding experience that I have ever had. I thought going into it that I was going to be teaching the teachers new ideas for their classrooms and teaching little hearts activities that would help them succeed in life, but I left there as a student. I was taught more than I ever imagined.
After I returned home from Tanzania, I started the rest of my summer off by starting my first year as a day camp counselor. I was nervous going into this new position because I was unsure of what to expect. This job absolutely blew me away. I enjoyed getting to know all of the campers and how each and every one of them is different in their own way and comes from a different background. God had an even greater plan than me getting to hangout with day campers every day and teaching them about Him. One day at day camp, I walked in and was told that a camper with a disability was going to be attending. That day changed my summer for the better. I woke up that morning not sure how I was going to make it through that day with exhaustion setting in, but I prayed that morning for patience and God granted me it. Her first day at day camp was tough on her. She cried wanting her mom and to go home. I eventually primarily worked one on one with her for the rest of the summer where she started asking for me and greeting me with a hug every day. Her big heart and precious smile made me love my job and my major even more. I couldn’t think of a more God providing thing.
Remember when I said in the beginning that these were life changing experiences? You might be asking yourself how and why. Well like many other college students, I often doubt my major of Special Education. I am often told ‘oh that takes such a special person to do that job.’ It makes me question myself and if I am the right person to teach these students and to love on them. These two experiences this summer have shown me that I picked the right major and that when I am doubting myself, I will think of these students and know my heart is in the right place. I couldn’t be more thankful that God gave me these opportunities this summer to show me that my heart is in the right place, and that I have chosen the right major.