I knew that this would be possible, because my sister had gone to Joplin last summer after their tornado. I wasn't sure when it would work, but I wanted it to happen.
I talked to my mom about it and she said that maybe we could go over spring break (which at this point was like 3 weeks away). That seemed like too long of a time to wait, but I agreed with her. One day, though, I was sitting in the car listening to the radio, and the news section came on. They said that the tornado stricken areas were almost receiving too many volunteers that didn't know where they were supposed to be or what they were supposed to be doing.
That actually discouraged me quite a bit, because I definitely thought we would be in that category of people. I told my mom what I heard, and she replied with, "Well, that's why we need to find a place that has a volunteering program set up."
As time passed on, I was pretty convinced that we weren't going to be able to go. The more I thought about it though, the more I was okay with it. I would now be able to do the typical things a teenager does with their last high school spring break... whatever those things may be.
About the Wednesday before my Spring Break, my mom said that she had been looking, but couldn't find any place we could volunteer in an organized manner. As I already said, I was okay with that. I think the next day, I got a text from my mom that said something like, "Do you want to go to Missouri?".
Anyways, to make an already long story a little bit shorter, we ended up going to Branson, Missouri. I wasn't really looking forward to it anymore, but once we got there, I was excited to help. Branson was actually one of the less damaged areas from the tornadoes, and no one died there! YAY! :)
I'll get to my point of this now. It's amazing how used to your own life you can get. Talking to the same people every week. Living a life of normalcy. Going to Missouri made me realize that there are people outside of Colorado! Loving people. Lost people. Different people.
I LOVE learning about new people. Understanding where they are coming from and why they are the way that they are is so interesting to me. Wanna hear about several people? Well, too bad, because you're going to.
Frida: Pretty much the organizer of the whole thing. A busy, talkative, hilarious, busy lady. I'm pretty sure every single time I was in the building with her, she had at least one phone conversation with someone. One day, we had just finished working at a house and were waiting for her to send us out again. I took about a 15 minute nap while waiting for her to get done on the phone. Her son used to work at the wax museum, and she got us in for free.
Patrick: A semi-elderly man who is just living the life. He recently sold his house in the Hollywood hills, bought a motor home, and travels the country just waiting for his next adventure. He saw a sign that volunteers were needed and decided to help out for a week. If he wasn't there, my mom and I would not have been able to do much, as he ran the chainsaw the whole time.
Dorothy and Susan: Much like us, a mother and daughter team. They got along really well and actually reminded me of my mom and I. They're from St. Louis and Dorothy is a preschool teacher. Also, she said, "Bless you." almost every time I sneezed, which, for some reason, I really appreciated.
Kelly: Kelly was probably in her late 20s to early 30s and came out the last day we were there. It was her day off, and she wanted to spend it helping with tornado clean-up which I admire. She had an 11 year old step daughter and 4(?) year old daughter. I liked working with her, because she could handle just about as much as I could. We one of us was done, so was the other. Plus, she gave us the scoop on ticks. I HATE TICKS.
Brandon: Probably in his 20s, Brandon also came out to help on our last day. This guy really made me think about life. At first, he came into the volunteer center, used the bathroom, and started eating a bunch of the the food that they provided for us (like granola bars and such). I thought that was a bit strange. We worked in the morning with him, and then he had to leave. Patrick found out that he was going around to churches asking for money to help him get into a drug rehab program. He had also been at Steak and Shake that morning to meet who he thought would be his employer. The employer wasn't there, though, and everyone told him to come back the next day. My mom wanted to find out more about him, because she wanted to give him some money for the rehab program. He was back at the center that afternoon, so my mom started talking to him. He doesn't know where his dad is (I believe he said he met him once), his sister lives in Texas, his mom has some mental problems I think, and he doesn't get a long with his brother who lives in Springfield and is "conceited". He came to Branson looking for a job, but nothing was working out for him. My mom asked him what his goal was (meaning monetarily), and he said, "I just want to be as helpful as I can." When my mom gave him some money he was extremely thankful saying, "Thanks so much. This will help out a lot." He also gave us some more advice about ticks. :)
Well, we found out today that he got the job at Steak and Shake! He also got into the rehab program! I sit here with a smile on my face in awe of God's power. Ever since we left, I have been praying and praying for Brandon. He was such a down to earth person, who (in my opinion) just needs Jesus in his life. Today, he was going to the Salvation Army to buy work clothes. Bless that guy's heart.
This blabbering post was probably more for my benefit than anyone else's. Needless to say, this Spring Break was really good. If I didn't go to Missouri, I would have just been sitting around the house watching old Biggest Losers and checking facebook about ever 10 minutes. Instead, I got A.) A workout, B.) A cool experience to tell people about, C.) A perspective that I've never really had before, D.) A good bonding time with my mom and God, E.) A couple of boring audiobooks, F.) and some really great memories.
GOD IS GOOD PEOPLE!
P.S. I am NOT re-reading this. If there are over-used words, misspellings, or grammatical errors, my sincere apologies. But it's late.