By Kailee Bass
Wow. I don’t even know where to start with what this trip meant to me. Going into it, I have been waiting to go on a mission trip since my freshman year and I knew God had saved this trip for me. From the beginning meeting and learning about how much the people there love making relationships, I knew my gifts were going to be used on this trip.
Before I left I got to listen to a sermon about purpose and how our purpose is more than ourselves. I needed to hear that before going on this trip to remember that we are there to serve and to be served. From the beginning we had some mis faults on the trip but it taught me the simplicity of life and how we don’t “need” everything we think we do. The kids in Unalakleet were so joyful with what they have and they are so proud of who they are. Their culture was steadfast and their generosity was beyond what I imagined. I remember having quiet time the first couple days and thinking “wow God could have made earth ugly and dark but instead He made our earth beautiful to reflect His beauty” and goodness did Alaska show me His beauty. Through the landscape, people, and generosity I have never felt so much joy and peace all at once. I got to see people grow in their faith and have GMOs (God Moments) at every turn.
One kid I will never forget on the trip is Paul. He was at our elementary school camp and decided to sit and watch our high school camp. Alex and I met him on the first night and he showed us all of the candy he was eating. Alex and I were a little alarmed at first thinking “omg this kid is going to get sick”. But we didn’t know Paul yet and the love he had for candy. The next day he ran in the gym looking for Alex and my heart just jumped with joy seeing the excitement Paul had. Then the couple days after that Alex and I spent more time with Paul and experienced the joy he had. This is when I am reminded of childlike faith and the beauty of it. Then the last day Paul asked Alex and I to go to the candy store with him. Paul told us that he could buy 9 Lolly Pops with $2. So I looked at Alex and told him I have an extra dollar for Paul. When I gave Paul my dollar, I have never seen a little kid’s eyes so wide and a face full of excitement and gratitude. Next thing I knew he excitedly screamed “9 more Lolly Pops please”. I will never forget the joy that radiated out of Paul. This is just one of many kids and experiences that is permanently tattooed on my heart. I had a hard time leaving Unalakleet and the joy and simplicity of life. I got to truly breath and experience God’s presence there. While I’m headed into the next chapter I want to bring more of that joy and simplicity into my own life and invite more of God and less of me. The more simple my life becomes the more room God has to work.