November 25, 2009
Passing trailers and small houses, I see how children in West Virginia were raised in a different environment. We pulled up to a white house with a fence surrounding the perimeter. A boy walked out holding his two sisters' hands. He looked no older than five, wearing a blue and white striped polo tucked into his athletic shorts. His smile made my heart sink, and I was immediately attached. He was cross-eyed, his clothes didn't fit, and he looked like he hadn't showered in days, but he was the most adorable boy I had ever seen.
"Hi! My name is Lindsey. I am here to take you to the playground. Would you like to sit in back with me?" I looked at the three children, smiling, wondering what their lives were like. Just by looking at them and their home, I could tell it was different from my own.
"Oh, hi Lindsey. My name is Hunter and these are my sisters Amilia and Savannah." He helped his sisters into the van and buckled them in. "We love going to the playground!"
"Really? Me too. What's your favorite thing to do there?" Hunter sat next to me and rested his head on my shoulder. My goal on that Mission Trip became clear: make an impact on Hunter's life.
"The swings! Will you push me when we get there?"
"Of course I will, Hunter!" We looked out the window and saw a green play set with everything a kid could enjoy included. Hunter ran straight for the swings and I followed after him. For at least a half an hour, I pushed him. He never got tired of it, and loved me afterwards. For snack, he sat on my lap and ate his popcorn. He threw his arms around my neck and gave me hugs until he had to leave at 3:00. All the kids, especially Hunter, were appreciative for every little thing we did for them.
Feeling heartbroken that he had to leave, I asked my Mission Trip leader about him later that evening. I found out that he is seven-years-old and lives in a foster family of three children. His real mom broke his arm when he was only three-years-old, and she couldn't afford to take care of him. He had a terrible childhood and still made my problems go away every time he smiled. I fell in love with him.
Every time I go to church, my prayers reflect Hunter's life. I pray I can become appreciative for the love I receive from others. I pray his life turns out good and that he can become successful someday. I pray he can have a family when he grows up that he treats with love and respect. My goal was to impact Hunter's life, yet the truth is that Hunter impacted mine. Not only will I do this for Hunter, but for other people that I meet as well.

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