This post is going to be two posts long because it turns out this is way longer than I expected it to be.
Weird title, I know, but it holds more meaning to it than you would think. But, we’ll get to that later. First, let’s start off with what this blog post is really about. It’s about how this person:
A self-centered teenage girl primarily concerned with taking selfies, looking pretty, and being popular
Turned into this person:
A playful young missionary primarily concerned with hugging and loving on every Honduran kid alive
Yeah, honestly I don’t get how it’s possible either. I don’t understand how I went from caring so much about how many likes I got on Facebook that I’d sit outside for hours taking pictures of myself and then spend even more hours editing those pictures, to someone who can’t stop trying to share her cute little Honduran peanuts with the world. It wasn’t only my selfishness and pride that changed but my attitude towards kids as well. Before Honduras when my cousins would show up with their babies I literally would refuse to hold them. They were boring, icky, and smelled bad. I mean they’re cute but so are puppies and I liked puppies better. The only time I really played or liked kids was when I helped out at Vacation Bible School at my church – but even then I really wasn’t a huge fan of kids after spending three days with them. I was probably the worst babysitter in the history of mankind. I wasn’t even a good friend. I never kept close friends or really was concerned about anyone else’s feelings but my own. I was popular, I was pretty, I knew it, and I acted like it. I was obsessed with being absolutely perfect. I mean, just look at how many “I’s” are in this paragraph, you’ve got to get my point by now, right?
So, how did little Miss Perfect become a missionary? Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
It all started when I was in a Student Council meeting one morning at the end of my Junior year at Chicago Christian High School. Stakes were big for me at this time, I was the Junior class leader and I was up for a position in the Big Three (President, Vice President, Officer at Large). I wanted in and I wanted it bad. I would do nearly anything to impress my principle and the Big Three at the time. So, on this fateful morning, in came my principle, Mr. Payne. He looked at all of us and said there was a problem. There weren’t enough people signed up for the summer missions trip to Honduras. They needed to find more people fast or there wasn’t going to be a summer missions trip. Little Miss Perfect sat in her seat the whole time not having a care in the world. Yawn, boring, next topic pleaseeeee. But then something unexpected happened.
Mr. Payne looked at all of his Student Council members and asked,
Which of you is available for the dates June 7-14?
Oh no. Oh no. Crap. What’s my excuse? He knows my Cheerleading schedule, he knows my Student Council schedule. What excuse do I have? VBS? Family vacation? C’mon Kaylie think of something.
As I was making up the perfect excuse, I saw one of the cute boys I was crushing on raise his hand. Welp, I mean I guess there really isn’t huge harm in going. My hand shot up. Mr. Payne took down our names, one by one, and headed out the classroom to deliver the list to Mr. Hills, who was in charge of the missions trip. Little did I know what I had just done.
A week or so later I had to send in my down payment and permission forms which made it all concrete and happening. I did as I was asked and turned them in slightly late but still on time enough. I went to go talk to my crush, and see if he had all his stuff in too. Surely this couldn’t go wrong, right? “Yeah, sorry, I don’t have the money to go.” WHAT! No. You do. You’re going. You do not have a choice, mister. I literally pushed the kid down two hallways to Mr. Hills’ room and made him talk to Mr. Hills, trying to convince him to go on the trip. After about a half hour of arguments, he finally left the classroom, no permission forms or down payment handed in. What am I supposed do now.
I put the whole mission’s trip thing to the back of my mind for a few weeks. Me and the loser who wouldn’t go on the trip stopped talking. I started talking to someone new, and made myself a new boyfriend. I became so concerned with my new boyfriend that I didn’t really remember that I had to leave in June to go to some stupid third world country. I was too distracted by prom and cheerleading nationals to even remember it existed. Next thing I know, we’re a week away from leaving and I’m in a meeting at someone’s house.
“Kaylie, did you remember to plan out the games?”
Oh right, I was supposed to actually do something before we left. Quick, brain, think of something.
“Uh, yeah. We’re gonna do that game with the buckets and the water and hoola-hoops. And the other game where you play and stuff.”
Ok, so maybe it wasn’t that bad, but it was still pretty bad. I hadn’t even given it a second of my thoughts.
As I looked at the people sitting around me one thought crossed my mind: crap, I’m stuck with a bunch of Christian Crazies and some freshman I don’t even know the name of. They probably all hate me.
This whole trip was going to be a disaster. Like, code-freakin’-red-I-need-an-excuse-to-get-out-of-it-right-this-instance bad. I tried everything in the book. Mom, I can’t go on this trip, I’m gonna miss home too much, and I don’t know anybody. Mom, I can’t go on this trip, I’m too busy with all my other stuff like cheerleading, student council, etc. Mom, I can’t go on this trip, I’m too afraid of leaving my boyfriend. Mom, I can’t go on this trip….is that a fever I feel?
That’s right, I even tried to fake my own sickness all the way up until I was dropped off at the airport. When I got through security it finally hit me, I’m going to Honduras.
So, I boarded the plane and sat next to two freshman that I’d seen around school but never really talked to. We immediately started bonding over a mutual like of cartoons and other nerdy things. What? They aren’t annoying? I actually like them? Once again my judgment proved me wrong. They were some of the most fun people to be around. And they weren’t the only fun people on my trip, I ended up bonding with every single one of them – even Mr. Hills! That following week consisted of living in the mountains in Honduras and either leading VBS or building houses during the day, playing soccer with local Hondurans at night. One day, we visited an orphanage/rehab center called Pan-American. Not only did I play with kids, but I became super attached to one of them who we called “bucket-boy” because he liked to sit in buckets and no one really knew his name. We even got to visit a huge 200 ft waterfall called Pulaphanzek. Not only did we get to zip line over it, but also got to take a very dangerous tour under it that would never, ever be legal in the United States. It was an extremely fun week, but I still didn’t feel as if I was called to go back or live there or anything.
But it’s not what happened that first trip to Honduras that changed my life forever, it’s what happened after.