In early spring at IBC on a Sunday afternoon I met a group of strangers that were there for one reason and one reason only – to step out and make a difference in this world. Each one of them had their own reason to be there that day but as each one opened their mind and heart I left that meeting knowing this was the group that would be going on the Hope For the Silent Voices’ Impact Trip the winter of 2010-2011. Even when we added three others to group; one from Tennessee, one from Singapore and one from Vietnam, they welcomed them as if they were there that Sunday afternoon. Amazing to witness! As we got closer to the time of departure they pulled their resources together to raise funds for projects. Each one used their talents and used them well. As we have encountered many things on this journey so far they still pull together to help, support and comfort each another as if they have been best friends for years. It is the most blessed thing to see the love they have for each other and then the love that they give to the children at the Lighthouse and the people at Sambodhi.
On a personal note for me this has been a hard trip. I have always been the one to stay in the background and make sure that things go as planned and for sure stay away from the cameras. I have always studied people and watched them interact with each other. I am not one to be vulnerable in front of others and always lose my voice in a crowd. My eyes were opened more in Cambodia this time than last time. I saw more pain in the eyes of these people and wanted so bad to take it away from each one of them. From the baby that looked like it had bruises on it; the children selling books without their parents around at all to watch them; and the teenage girls that should be in school and dreaming about what they want to be then they grow up.
We are two days into our Sri Lanka part of the trip and this is a real tough one for me. One reason is I know it will be over soon and I don’t want to leave. So if I don’t sleep will time stop here for a month or so? I wish I could make that happen. There is so much to do here at Sambodhi. I have to say that the blind women have my heart for sure. They just lie in their bed all day and wait for someone to talk to them, touch them, feed them and love on them. I know that they don’t understand what I say to them and that is okay. I just pray that they feel the love that I give them for the time that I am here. I find myself asking hundreds of times each day “why am I here?” The only thing that comes back to me is this is my place in life giving a voice back to those that have lost it during their journey.
I want to thank each one of you for stepping out and making a difference in the lives of those you have seen this far. I hope to see you again soon on a journey with Hope For the Silent Voices.